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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


City of San Diego

May 10, 2018

With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista and San Diego Regional EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy and create jobs.

“From wireless technology to human genomes, San Diego is renowned for its innovative spirit and talent that can’t be matched anywhere else,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This designation brings together some of our brightest minds in local government and private industry to develop cutting-edge technologies that are going to take robotic and aerial innovations to the next level.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program” is an opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to partner with private sector innovators, operators and manufacturers to accelerate the development of drone technology. 

“The City of Chula Vista is proud to be a regional partner with the City of San Diego and the industry leaders that support the innovation around Unmanned Aircraft Systems deployment,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “This unique opportunity will help the City design, develop and test drones to support police officers and fire fighters during emergencies.”  

The program will inform the Department of Transportation about the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in our skies. Key objectives of the program include:

  • Working closely with private sector partners to advance commercial unmanned aircraft system operations and applications for technology
  • Obtaining expedited Federal Aviation Administration approval for airspace authorizations
  • Demonstrating operational solutions that reduce the need for waivers
  • Incorporating community participation for meaningful dialogue for unmanned aircraft systems operations

San Diego’s local program will include projects like flying medical specimens from UC San Diego for expedited results and cost savings, testing food delivery from restaurants to consumers using Uber, enhancing public safety by deploying drones to incident scenes in advance of first responders and testing the integration and communication between driverless cars and unmanned aircraft systems.

“This announcement proves San Diego companies, organizations, academics, government and non-profits are exceptionally well-positioned to advance the adoption into the national airspace,” said Lauree Sahba, Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “Not only does this program elevate San Diego as a research and development hub, but it also brings enormous potential to our economically diverse region.”

The City of San Diego’s Homeland Security Department was the lead program applicant, with more than 20 regional organizations signing on to support the submission, including EDC. The full list of partners:

  • San Diego Regional EDC
  • Qualcomm
  • City of Chula Vista
  • AT&T
  • Palomar College
  • California Governor’s Military Council
  • California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • Uber
  • Intel
  • Coleman University
  • GE Ventures
  • UC San Diego Health
  • Port of San Diego
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center
  • Verdego Aero – Provides urban transportation market with safe, clean and quiet hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can fly piloted or autonomously.
  • Airmap – Connects airspace authorities with drones to provide safe and efficient drone operations
  • Cape – Offers a cloud-based system for drone telepresence and data management
  • Matternet - Provides drone technology and ground infrastructure to help healthcare systems transport blood and pathology samples between hospital facilities
  • Avitas Systems – A GE Ventures-affiliated company that offers robotic-based autonomous inspections and data analytics focused increasing safety and efficiency
  • Infragard San Diego – FBI-affiliated nonprofit focused on mitigating criminal and terrorist threats to protect regional infrastructure

This collaboration led to San Diego being among only 10 agencies nationwide chosen to participate, including the states of Kansas, Virginia, Alaska and North Dakota and the cities of Reno and Memphis.

“We are eager to work with our partners and the U.S. Department of Transportation to promote nationwide Unmanned Aircraft Systems innovation and integration,” said John Valencia, the City’s Homeland Security Director. “This pioneering program will foster capabilities that will greatly enhance the safety and security of San Diego residents, particularly in the areas of effective Unmanned Aircraft System operations by public safety organizations, and resilient communications during emergencies and in times of crisis.”

This announcement follows a similar designation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which selected the San Diego region as one of 10 autonomous vehicle testing sites in the nation in 2017. The designated testing sites form a national community that share information and collaborate with the private sector to advance the safe development of unmanned vehicles.

“We are looking forward to helping today’s winners unlock the enormous potential of drone operations, which will create new services and jobs in their local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

 

February 14, 2018

Last week, President Trump signed a two-year budget deal that included a hike in the debt ceiling and agreements to raise spending caps for domestic and defense programs.

For San Diego, a community where 20 percent of our GRP is tied to the military, this bill provides some stability and relief from the constant threat of continuing resolutions and sequester.

In order to better understand how fluctuations in defense spending impact our regional economy, EDC has released “Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem,” as well as a data visualization tool at SanDiego.DoDspend.com. This is the first of its kind regional analysis that focuses on the industrial composition of the defense supply chain and quantifies the number of firms and jobs that are impacted by defense spending. This project was executed as part of phase one of Propel San Diego, a Department of Defense funded grant initiative awarded to the City of San Diego.  

Specifically, the web tool provides deal flow information at the zip code level and by industry across the county. Why this matters: the 2019 budget includes two Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) priced at $1.1 billion. These ships will likely be built by General Dynamics NASSCO here in San Diego. While those contracts are awarded over a period time, by using this new tool, users can see that this funding will have a direct impact in creating more than 1,000 jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

Key study findings include:

  • San Diego is the second largest recipient of defense procurement dollars in the U.S. 
  • A strong network of suppliers and access to customers are key reasons that 71 percent of firms have a favorable view of San Diego as a place to do business.
  • Defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year.
  • Since 2012, the majority of contract dollars received by the region were awarded by the Department of the Navy, each year awarding between 44 and 55 percent of total awards.
  • The majority of contract dollars were awarded to companies in the manufacturing industry, each year receiving anywhere between 47 and 68 percent of total contract dollars.


These resources provide companies, city planners, workforce agencies and economic development organizations better insights into how legislation like the bill signed into law last week can impact the San Diego community. The data has the potential to help companies prepare for new market opportunities and help communities prepare for changes in workforce demands, as has helped inform how EDC can better prioritize our limited resources in support of the region’s defense industry.

Following the successful execution of Propel San Diego’s phase one, the City of San Diego has been awarded a phase two grant for an additional $1.7 million. For more information, visit sdmac.org/propel.

Read the full study here.

 

February 13, 2014

Congratulations to Kevin Faulconer on being elected the new mayor of the City of San Diego. Throughout the nation and the world, the role of an urban mayor has become an important and influential component in the resurgence and success of metropolitan economies.

EDC took a look at Faulconer’s jobs plan from the standpoint of EDC’s priorities:  

EDC Priority: Talent

Talented workers are the lifeblood of San Diego’s innovation economy. Attracting skilled workers and developing San Diegans for the careers of the future is important for our region’s business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. It is our opinion that a mayor can and should play a critical role in both the attraction and development of a talented workforce.

Kevin’s policies and statements regarding workers and talent focus on our universities, business incubators, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Kevin also sets a goal for youth employment, with a particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math programs (STEM): “…providing summer jobs for 2,500 students to prepare them for bright futures.” To accomplish this goal Kevin cites working with the Workforce Partnership (and its existing Connect 2 Careers program) and programs like Job Corps to; “…expand access to technology, engineering and job training programs.”

Kevin speaks of working with local universities and property owners and managers to help turn at least four sites in the city into new high-tech incubators. He has also described working with local university leaders to create business mentoring programs for students.

EDC Priority: International Opportunities

Maximizing San Diego’s global competitiveness is a central focus of EDC’s mission and important to driving San Diego’s tourism and innovation economies. Increasing the region’s exports through the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, expanding our international profile, attracting more foreign direct investment, and further engaging our neighbors in Mexico are all specific strategies we will work on throughout 2014.

Kevin talks about the importance of our binational economy and the unique strengths and opportunities we have when partnering with Mexico.  Kevin cites specific goals for increasing trade with Mexico and the Pacific Rim: “…increase trade with Mexico and the Pacific Rim by 100 percent within 5 years.” Kevin also speaks about working with the Port and Airport Authorities, as well as EDC, to increase our region’s exports and create better access to international markets.

Kevin talks extensively about the role a mayor can play in securing the funding and support to complete our border crossing and expand our border infrastructure.

Kevin also calls out the importance of international tourism to the local economy. He talks of supporting the Tourism Authority’s efforts to promote San Diego throughout the world and for securing San Diego’s spot as a top tourism destination.

EDC Priority: Business Growth and Expansion

Kevin’s plan is quite specific.   He calls out particular programs he would work to grow and expand: “The City’s business expansion, attraction and retention (BEAR) program will grow to help attract businesses by working with companies to provide permit assistance and fee reductions.”

He goes on to state specific milestones and deliverables:

 •“Within his first year as mayor, Faulconer will overhaul the City’s website to make it user-friendly so San Diegans and businesses can interact with the City quickly and easily.”

• “Within his first year as mayor, Faulconer will direct the City toward a modern permit-tracking program that expedites the permitting process.”

• “During his first term as Mayor, Faulconer will partner with commercial property owners and managers as well as local university leaders to create mentorship programs and at least four additional high-tech incubators strategically positioned throughout San Diego that will attract talented entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capital and good paying jobs.”

EDC Priority: Capital

An adequate flow of capital to companies at all stages of development is important to San Diego’s regional economy. Without the proper funds to grow or expand, San Diego companies will not be able to achieve their maximum job growth potential. EDC is focused on ensuring that companies have access to local, national and international capital resources and that growth opportunities are visible to potential funders.

In the dedicated investment portion of his plan, Kevin shares some specific goals and deliverables in this area. His website reads:  “In his first year as mayor, Faulconer will work with local universities and the innovation sector to develop a strategy to increase by 50 percent the federal grants the San Diego region receives by 2020 to fund technological breakthroughs and create good paying jobs.”  He frequently mentions his plans that involve: “…partnering with commercial property owners and managers as well as local university leaders to create…additional high-tech incubators strategically positioned throughout San Diego that will attract talented entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capital and good paying jobs.”

Kevin received the endorsement of BIOCOM, the biotechnology/life sciences association that works with public and private sector partners to promote the growth and competitiveness of the region’s biotechnology economy. BIOCOM is one of the few local trade associations within the innovation economy that endorses candidates.  Capital development is certainly one of BIOCOM’s top priorities and concerns.

EDC Priority: Land Use

Strong and informed urban planning efforts and protecting San Diego’s industrial land are important to our efforts to maintain a diverse and attractive economy for future investment and expansion.

Kevin’s policies and language regarding land use focus heavily on the protection of land for industrial use and economic purposes. His website states: “Faulconer will propose land-use policies that protect the thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs that rely on the vitality of the maritime industry.” He goes on to make the following commitment: “Faulconer will have the City conduct a comprehensive analysis and complete an economic development strategy that identifies – citywide – which industrial land needs to be preserved for jobs, and which areas can be used for residential and retail needs.”

Kevin also speaks about protecting the interests of neighborhoods and the environment as well. He commits to the following: “Faulconer will streamline regulations by strategically funding community plan updates that include Master EIRs (environmental impact reports)…Faulconer will prioritize San Diego’s low-to-moderate income communities to stimulate investment and revitalization efforts.”

Kevin has been outspoken about the challenges that the Barrio Logan Community Plan presents to industry and he has worked actively with the maritime industries to reverse the City Council’s action in approving the plan.

EDC Priority: Infrastructure

When EDC speaks of infrastructure needs, we focus more specifically on the larger, regional infrastructure projects that can move and grow an economy. Our members and investors see the airport, the Port of San Diego, our international border crossings, and our highways and public transportation systems as either strengths or impediments to economic growth. Increasing our international flights at the airport, improving wait times at the border and protecting our maritime economy will remain essential for job creation and economic prosperity. 

Kevin has specific sections of his website dedicated to the city’s neighborhoods, roads and deferred maintenance plans. When it comes to our region’s large infrastructure projects, Kevin’s plan also focuses heavily on our border, our relationships with Mexico and upgrading and modernizing our ports of entry. Kevin’s website states: “As mayor, Faulconer will work with leaders in Tijuana and Washington to modernize the border crossing and decrease wait times, transforming the San Diego-Tijuana border from lost economic opportunity into a competitive advantage that is the envy of the world.”

Kevin talks in detail about the need to increase our exports, create a regional export plan and ensure that our port-related infrastructure is aligned with these plans.

EDC Priority: Defense

San Diego’s military and defense economy impacts approximately 302,000 jobs—or one out of every five jobs in the region. The defense industry in San Diego generates approximately $32 billion for the region. Protecting our military assets and positioning our region to retain or grow its defense presence remains among EDC’s top priorities.

Kevin’s entire plan reflects a very strong understanding of – and commitment to – the local military and defense economy. Kevin’s website states: “Faulconer will initiate a comprehensive study of industrial land to protect middle-class jobs and provide greater certainty for the U.S. Navy and job creators to invest in confidence. Faulconer will use this analysis to create land-use policies that protect thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs that rely on the vitality of the maritime industry.”

Kevin outlines potential job training partnerships and employment programs for our region’s veterans. This includes: “…a plan to hire at least 130 additional police officers … and believes combat veterans have many of the skills necessary to succeed as San Diego Police Officers. Faulconer will collaborate with local veteran support programs, such as Reboot, to assist veterans returning to civilian life in finding good employment opportunities.”

Ultimately, Kevin’s plan speaks often about the need to protect and grow military and defense jobs within the region and showcases an understanding of the important role the military plays in San Diego’s economic landscape.

EDC looks forward to the opportunity to partner with Kevin and support his plans as we all strive to maximize the economic prosperity and global competitiveness of San Diego.

 

 

May 13, 2013

“It’s clear to us we are a global city,” said City of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as he kicked off a press conference and town hall on May 13. Its focus was the need for the San Diego region to increase export activity in order to grow jobs and economic prosperity. It may be clear to San Diego, but it might not be clear to the rest of the world. He's out to change that perception and at the same time create more of the middle class jobs that were once the backbone of the San Diego economy. "We have not fulfilled our potential," he said, adding that we have the political will to change.

Each speaker commented on the findings of a market assessment that was the catalyst for the gathering. The market assessment is the first key step in the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, a program focused on helping eight regions create collaborations from the ground up to design and implement customized metropolitan export plans.

City of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey pointed out that San Diego has lots of advantages other areas don’t have, such as our technology sectors.

Michael Masserman, from the U.S. International Trade Administration came to offer his agency’s support which includes opening markets for exports and entering into trade agreements to facilitate exports. “Jobs in export-oriented companies pay 15 – 20 percent higher wages that their non-exporting counterparts,” said Masserman.

Elliott Hirshman, president of San Diego State University, discussed the importance of international engagement in educating the workforce of the future citing a substantial increase in international programs at San Diego State.

Peter Cowhey, dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, presented highlights from the market assessment. Cowhey, along with two of his graduate students, was responsible for conducting the survey and collecting the data for the market assessment. “San Diego is punching well below our weight,” said Cowhey, pointing out that although San Diego is the country’s 17th largest metropolitan economy, we rank only 55th when examining exports as a share of our regional economic output.

The market assessment revealed that San Diego’s exporters see a need for infrastructure development in three major areas: port, airport and cyber infrastructure.

Bob Nelson, vice chair of the board of port commissioners, agreed that if the region is going to see growth in exports then we need to see growth in infrastructure. The Port has in the works infrastructure improvements worth close to $100 million.

Robert Gleason, board chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, said that San Diego International Airport has a critical role to play in increasing export activity. That includes additional international non-stop service and increasing cargo capacity. An added benefit of more international visitors (which are also considered exports) is that they typically spend almost double what a domestic visitor spends on a trip.

Steven Weathers, president and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego, an organization that provides direct services to exporting companies, said that many people ask him, “What’s the big goal?” His answer? “Job creation – sustainable, diverse, job creation.”

photo left to right: Mayor Bob Filner, City Councilman Mark Kersey, Michael Masserman, Peter Cowhey, Bob Nelson, Robert Gleason, Elliot Hirshman, Steven Weathers

Access the full report: San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative Market Assessment

Media coverage 

Region needs to boost exporting, report saysU-T San Diego
Local leaders push boosting trade, The Daily Transcript  
San Diego could be exporting more, Brookings Institution reports, KPBS

 

 
 

                                  

March 20, 2013

San Diego Regional EDC joined the City of San Diego and other organizations recently to officially introduce the new CONNECT2Careers program (formerly known as Hire-A-Youth). The City of San Diego made a $200,000 commitment last year so that the San Diego Workforce Partnership could rebuild the summer jobs program, which was threatened due to lack of funding. The redesigned program is focused on providing meaningful work experiences through paid summer internships to prepare San Diego’s young adults for the jobs of the future, while also addressing San Diego’s jobs skills gap.

One of the innovations in the new program is targeting specific industry clusters that have a significant need for young talent including:

Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Cleantech, Communication and Information Technologies, Tourism, Hotel/Motel, Defense, Maritime, Business, Government and Healthcare.

All of the organizations involved stressed the need for business community participation to make the program a success. San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner called on other council members to reach out to businesses in their respective districts to encourage them to participate in the program either through donations to support the program or by hiring at least one youth.

“CONNECT2Careers provides a way for businesses to give back while helping to train our emerging workforce, which is critical to growing our local economy,” Lightner said. “You simply can’t compete in the global economy if you don’t have a world-class workforce.”

The program, which is administered by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, will connect employers with pre-screened and motivated young adults ages 16 – 21 who have a strong career interest in one of the targeted industries. San Diego Workforce Partnership will provide pre-internship training and ongoing coordination and support throughout the selection, placement and work experience.

“As a region, our number one priority is job creation. By providing our emerging workforce with this opportunity, not only are we giving them the chance to hone their professional skills, but also feeding a talent pipeline that ensures San Diego remains competitive in the global economy,” said San Diego Regional EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. Cafferty has been involved in workforce issues for most of his career and was previously the President and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

San Diego Regional EDC has already agreed to host an intern for summer 2013.