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Military

September 12, 2018

Today, Propel San Diego partners – San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) and San Diego Regional EDC – unveiled 15 companies selected to participate in the Defense Innovation Voucher program (DIVx). DIVx is a comprehensive business initiative designed to build resiliency in small, local defense companies and help them find pathways to diversify their revenue. 

San Diego is home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country. When considering the overall ripple effects of the defense cluster in San Diego, about 22 percent of San Diego’s gross regional product (GRP) is the result of defense-related spending. But the breadth and depth of defense activity stretches far beyond military bases and naval ships; from telecomm to robotics, aerospace to cybersecurity, San Diego’s defense cluster is the driving force behind the region’s innovation economy.

According to EDC’s recently released report, Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem, 40 percent of the companies registered in San Diego County as defense contractors employ five people or less. Propel San Diego’s DIVx program serves to help those small defense companies build resiliency and sustainability through times of fluctuation in defense spending.

“Like many local industries, San Diego’s defense supply chain is mostly made up of small businesses, with 89 percent of firms employing less than 50 people. As federal funds continue to fluctuate in defense spending, small business that often rely on one to two large contracts, are at risk,” said Nikia Clarke, VP of economic development, San Diego Regional EDC. “The newly launched DIVx program is designed to help these companies diversify their revenue and become more resilient, thus increasing their ability to withstand fluctuations in DoD spending and downturns in our economy.”

This pilot program will offer complimentary consulting services and curriculum to improve the competitiveness of small defense companies, selected through a competitive needs-based selection process. The program will help companies compete for government or defense contracts and/or explore pivoting products and services to commercial markets.

The DIVx program will provide services in these three specific areas:

1. Direct Assistance: EDC has identified qualified consultants who will provide $15,000 in complimentary consulting services in one of the following categories: marketing, accounting compliance, certifications (SDVOSB, AS9100, AS5553, ISO 9001, etc.), lean supply chain and additive manufacturing tools, and strategic planning.

2. Boot Camp: Enrollment in a six-month long course designed to provide best practices to company leadership on strategies to improve company competitiveness.

3. DIVx Grand Prize Competition: This competition will award a company based off their level of engagement in these activities and progress towards their goals with an additional $25,000 to work with one of the pre-approved contractors to perform new work with the company.

Partnering in the DIVx program as the key underwriter is Booz Allen Hamilton, a leader in the defense consulting industry.

Propel San Diego is a partnership of six key organizations: East County Economic Development Council, South County Economic Development Council, San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego Military Advisory Council, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, and the City of San Diego. Each of these organizations are also working on specific business support programs to create a more robust defense ecosystem here in San Diego.

For more information about the DIVx program please visit SDMAC.org/propelsandiego.

The 2018 DIVx companies are as follows:

  1. Accel-RF Instruments Corporation
  2. Amaratek
  3. American Lithium Energy Corporation
  4. Coast Precision Enterprises, Inc.
  5. EpiSys Science, Inc.
  6. Fuse Integration, Inc.
  7. GET Engineering Corporation
  8. intelliSolutions, inc.
  9. Marine Group Boat Works, LLC
  10. Ocean Aero
  11. Planck Aerosystems
  12. Sidus Solutions
  13. Trabus Technologies
  14. VetPowered, LLC
  15. Vortex Engineering

This project is funded in whole or in part with Community Economic Adjustment Assistance for Reductions in Defense Industry Employment funds provided by the U.S. Department of Defense - Office of Economic Adjustment to the City of San Diego.

 

June 24, 2016

San Diego’s large and complex concentration of Navy and Marine Corp personnel and assets face a wide variety of challenges ranging from budget pressures under sequestration to consequences of changing geopolitical strategies like the rebalance to the Pacific.  With more than 22 percent of San Diego’s GDP tied to our military and defense industrial base, this sector is a critical driver of the region’s economy.

This connectivity is why EDC works in close partnership with the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) to develop strategies to support the region’s military through a coordinated DC strategy. SDMAC, with its extensive group of retired flag officers, has the network and understanding necessary to advocate for the defense industry in San Diego as they face budget and geopolitical pressures. 

This year, EDC joined SDMAC for its annual DC trip, where Executive Director Randy Bogle and President Ward Wilson met with senior Navy and Marine Corp commanders and our local congressional delegation to discuss how best we can continue to support the military in San Diego.

Meetings in DC ranged from conversations with Navy Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Forest Faison on how best to continue to build partnerships in our medical community to ensure the long-term wellbeing of our veteran population, to conversations with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley about the importance of our shipbuilders in San Diego and how future ship deployments will impact the region. Conversations at the Pentagon were followed by a series of meetings with San Diego’s congressional delegation, whose leadership positions on the HASC and other key committees continue to prove valuable to San Diego. Maintaining a presence in DC with trips such as this are critical to our being effective allies for the region’s military. 

September 25, 2015

 

As one of the foundations of San Diego’s economy, the military plays an integral role in San Diego’s economic vitality. Between the release of San Diego Military Advisory Council’s (SDMAC) 7th annual Military Economic Impact Report, the Governors Military Council (GMC) quarterly board meeting and the upcoming  airshow at MCAS Miramar, the military has been on the radar for many San Diegans this month.  

At the release of the SDMAC economic impact study this past Wednesday, updated data confirmed just how important the military is to San Diego’s economy:

·         The military sector is responsible for about 328,000 -  22 percent - of the region’s total jobs in 2015 after accounting for all of the ripple effects of defense spending – an increase from last year’s 317,000 jobs. 

·         An estimated total of $24.8 billion in direct spending related to defense was sent to San Diego County during fiscal year 2015, an amount equal to about $7,700 for each of the county’s residents.

·         In fiscal year 2015, the 49 U.S. Navy ships home-ported in San Diego will see direct spending of about $2.6 billion, which will equate to a total economic impact of $5.7 billion in GRP.

·         The two aircraft carriers based here will bring a combined $1.5 billion to the economy based on updated inputs, multipliers, and models.  San Diego’s home-ported ship count is projected to climb to a total of 84 by calendar year 2023.

Although these are impressive numbers in themselves, they do not capture the depth of the defense sector. Case in point: in the early ‘70s, two engineers – Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi -- received a SPAWAR contract to  advance communications technologies (CMDA). Years later, Jacobs would go on to form Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest private-sector employer, and the home of the modern day cell phone.  That is just one example - San Diego’s military drives billions of dollars of research to the region, attracts talent from around the country, and has proven to be instrumental in inspiring major technological innovations impacting both the defense and commercial markets.

 In addition to the numerous elected officials on hand for the study release, the Governor’s Military Council (GMC) simultaneously held its quarterly board meeting in San Diego. Started as an advisory council to protect California’s assets, the GMC became a standing committee with the passage of AB 442, which was signed into law on September 21. While in town, the GMC toured several military staples, including NASSCO, SPAWAR and Naval Base Point Loma. Building on the announcement and the momentum of the GMC’s statewide strategy release, EDC is working in close partnership with SDMAC to ensure San Diego’s key military interests are represented in the GMC's actions. We are pleased to confirm that RADM (ret.) Ken Slaght, a former commander of SPAWAR and the co-chair of the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE), will join the GMC as its newest member.    
               
 Our military drives innovation, attracts a diverse set of talent and remains the single most critical industry in terms of impact on our GRP.  The looming threat of sequestration coupled with leadership uncertainties in D.C. confirm that we need to stay diligent and focused as a region to provide the concerted effort required to adequately support our key military installations and our defense industrial base. Our economy depends on it.

 

November 25, 2014

Lighthouse for the Blind

There are approximately 1.3 million people who are blind living in the United States. Like any other individuals, they need and want jobs. This is where Lighthouse for the Blind comes in.

As a privately-funded non-profit, they provide employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. Their military roots run deep, which makes San Diego an ideal location for Lighthouse. Not only do they serve many veterans with disabilities, but the military is also one of its largest customers.

This week, we spoke with Kirk Adams, president and CEO, to learn more about why this social enterprise operates in San Diego.

1) Tell us about Lighthouse for the Blind
We provide jobs to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. In San Diego, we operate a Servmart, which is a store where military, civilians, and contractors can purchase the supplies from paperclips to tactical equipment and clothing.  We specialize in offering a high volume of AbilityOne (blind-made) products and expert knowledge of military requirements. We also operate two Contract Management Support (CMS) services in San Diego and are currently closing out contracts for NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Command in downtown San Diego, and DCMA (Defense Contracting Management Agency) in Kearny Mesa. CMS services help mitigate the critical government shortage of contract specialists by providing post-contract award administration support services. The Lighthouse employs 14 employees who are legally blind in San Diego. On the West Coast, we employ more than 240 people who are blind in 11 different locations. 

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

Why Lighthouse chose San Diego

San Diego makes sense for us because of the strong military economy; it is where our customers and contracts are located, such as the Navy base. Additionally, there is a large population of capable blind adults looking for employment in the San Diego area. Growing our business means jobs for San Diegans who are frequently overlooked in traditional employment settings. Our mission – “to create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities” – stems from veterans who are blind returning from WWII with no hope for employment. Today, our mission is more critical than ever with the numbers of service men and women returning blinded from IED’s (improvised explosive devises) used in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
Qualcomm is committed to an environment of inclusion in which all people, including those with disabilities, have equal access and opportunities. Qualcomm connects students with disabilities of all ages to help prepare them for their careers and partners with local universities for Disability Mentoring Day. They also participate in the annual San Diego career fair for people with disabilities.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?  
In five years we hope to have more than 25 employees who are legally blind employed in the San Diego area and a much larger community presence. 

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October 28, 2014

Uber logo

Uber, the ubiquitous transportation platform, has revolutionized the way San Diegans get around. But it’s more than just a logistics platform. Although Uber is available in more than 100 cities around the world, they have found a way to leverage San Diego’s unique assets, tapping into both the concentration of military personnel and cross-border economy.  They are a high-tech company that has mastered the cross-over between innovation and quality of life – something San Diego knows well.

Christopher Ballard, general manager of Uber San Diego, explains why the company thrives in San Diego:

1) Tell us about Uber
Uber is a technology company that is changing the way the world moves, works and lives. By seamlessly connecting riders to the safest, most reliable ride on the road, we’re making all of San Diego more accessible to locals and visitors alike at prices anyone can afford.  And our growth in the city has been tremendous. When we launched in San Diego in early 2012, we partnered with a handful of drivers covering the Gaslamp. Today, we have thousands of drivers partnering with the Uber platform, with average pickup times of less than five minutes across San Diego.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?
Why Uber Chose SD We like to say Uber is a technology company at the intersection of lifestyle and logistics, and that’s definitely the case in San Diego.  San Diego’s quality of life attracts ambitious, dynamic and tech-savvy people from across the country and the world who regularly ride and drive with the Uber platform.  We’ve also tapped into the tremendous talent, commitment and dedication of our city’s vast military community as part of our national UberMILITARY initiative, which started in San Diego.  We are committing to onboarding 50,000 service members, veterans and military spouses over the next 18 months as driver-partners with the Uber platform.  

Also, San Diego has the unique distinction of being a border region.  Having recently launched Uber Tijuana, we see a major opportunity in providing riders more choice in transportation options throughout the Cali-Baja Region.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.
HouseCall is revolutionizing the home services space.  Founded by ex-Qualcomm employees, the app allows people to book home services jobs directly with the service provider.  As someone who doesn’t have a lot of time left in the day for household chores like cleaning the house or fixing a sink, having the option to press a button and receive immediate service from a vetted professional is a major way to stay productive.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
I see Uber weaving itself further into the fabric of city life in San Diego and cities across the globe.  Right now, we’re connecting riders to drivers in less than five minutes.  Once you get that right, the possibilities for on-demand delivery are endless, and the need to own a vehicle is diminished. Ultimately, we’re trying to make it so that car ownership isn’t necessary in San Diego.  It’s an ambitious goal, but one we think is achievable.  If we can make it so that it’s cheaper to take an Uber than own a car, we can boost productivity, reduce congestion, and help make San Diego an even better place to live.  We also hope to facilitate stronger economic and social ties between Tijuana and San Diego by making seamless cross-border transportation a reality.

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September 27, 2013

The Fifth Annual SDMAC Military Impact Study was released this week, quantifying the impact of the military's boot print on the San Diego region. Although sequestration has authorized military cutbacks, the region still has a strong defense cluster, with $25 billion flowing into our economy and more than one in five jobs (22 percent) linked to military spending.  The study also illustrated how the defense sector is linked to other sector of the region's economy.

Military Impact Infographic

Media Coverage:

 

Coverage:

ABC 10 , San Diego Military Advisory Council releases Military Economic Impact Study

NBC 7, Local Economic Impact from Military Budget Cuts

KPBS, More military cutbacks will be felt in San Diego’s pocketbook

 

April 15, 2013

Photo Credit: Tony Manolatos

On the plane ride from Coronado to the U.S. Navy’s secluded San Clemente Island, more than one person made a reference to the hit dramatic series “Lost” and the eerie remoteness the TV show shared with our destination. From the plane you could see there wasn’t much to look at on this rugged and narrow stretch of land about 70 miles northwest of San Diego.

San Clemente Island is a place few civilians know about and even fewer see, but it plays a critical role in preparing the Navy to protect and serve. Every Navy SEAL, including the ones who took out Osama bin Laden, trains here at some point. Two “towns” have been built to resemble communities in the Middle East. It’s here where the SEALs, who train for two years before their first combat mission, practice missions at night. Snipers firing at moving targets inside buildings is just one of numerous clandestine training operations carried out routinely on the island.

At the far south end, Navy ships fire ashore while helicopters zero in on targets below. The U.S. Marines also use the island to conduct amphibious assault training and the FBI works there with Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams.  

The 21-mile island is just part of the story; to the west, an ocean area the size of California is where Naval ships and aircraft practice maneuvers.

No one lives on the island year-round and on off days you’ll find less than 100 people. The convenience store is stocked with chewing tobacco and is next door to the lone bar - the Salty Crab. All of the common areas, including the mess hall and the gym, are spotless. The Navy acquired San Clemente Island in 1934. Before that, it was home to goats and farmers.

Today, it is the Navy’s only remaining ship-to-shore live firing range, but it’s facing potential cutbacks due to sequestration. The Navy recently invited a Photo Credit: Tony Manolatoshandful of San Diegans to the island so we have a better understanding of the role it plays in military preparations.

During our visit, we heard just as much about the environment and wildlife as we heard about training exercises. On one part of the island, SEAL hopefuls were on Day 2 of “Hell Week” - which wasn’t even an afterthought among the biologists and botanists working to protect native plants and wildlife.

If the Navy encounters endangered species it stops training until the animals are safely removed from the area - a process that can take months and cost millions of dollars.

From a recent U-T San Diego story:

“The Navy spent more than $7 million last fiscal year to protect the island’s endangered or threatened species, which include 10 federally listed animals and plants.

"Now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is considering delisting or downgrading the status of three protected species - the Island Night Lizard and two plants - because they are flourishing, said Sandy Vissman, the federal agency’s coordinator for the island.”

Adm. Dixon Smith and Capt. Gary Mayes led our visit of the 56-square-mile island on Tuesday (April 9), and we couldn’t have asked for better hosts.

These two men, and other men and women we met, care deeply about San Clemente Island, the training missions and the plants and animals who flourish there. They took the time to talk to each of us individually and answer all of our questions.

These are difficult times financially for the Navy and other military branches, but leaders like Adm. Smith and Capt. Mayes make it difficult for you to focus on the negative. We are fortunate to have such exceptional people committed to serving America.

As we said our goodbyes and left the island, we were again reminded of the TV series "Lost.”

The show frequently made viewers aware of one of life’s great lessons - it’s easier to succeed, and survive, with the help of others. Lost’s fascinating cast of characters constantly found themselves in need of support from others - in both obvious and unexpected ways.

On the plane ride home from San Clemente Island, we realized we now have a role in supporting the men and women on this remote patch of land. It was clear to us that it was our job to bring you their story, to write about our experiences, to do what we could to support the fascinating cast of characters we had just met. 

February 3, 2013

Many people recognize the importance of the defense sector in protecting us internationally, but fail to recognize that it also protects the local economy. From Qualcomm to essential innovation research, the defense sector has been instrumental in jump-starting many economic facets that make us proud to call San Diego home.

Not only do recent DoD cuts mean thousands of jobs at stake in various industries in the local economy, but also mean that this ‘quality of life’ that we have worked so hard to build is in jeopardy.

Please read Mark’s column in the U-T  to learn about some of the steps EDC and regional partners are taking to defend this vital facet of our economy.

January 2, 2013

 

A message from our President & CEO:

With 2013 already under way, and some elements of the fiscal cliff addressed and/or postponed through last minute actions in Washington D.C., we wanted to take a moment to share what we still foresee as significant challenges for San Diego’s economy in the months ahead.

While both chambers of Congress did eventually approve a deal to fend off certain elements of the fiscal cliff, their plan postpones decisions about sequestration; the $110 billion in spending cuts that would deeply affect the military and many other sectors of the economy that receive funding from the federal government. As we have been noting over the past year with our colleagues at the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), here in San Diego this could most notably impact our military/defense sectors as well as the research that is the backbone of our technology industries.

According to today’s Washington Post, “The legislation, which President Obama supports but had not signed as of Tuesday night, would delay across-the-board budget reductions known as sequestration for two months, setting up likely fights in Congress over the federal debt ceiling over the same period. The fiscal-cliff deal would offset half the cost of a delayed sequestration with cuts to discretionary spending split evenly across defense and non-defense programs. The other half would come by way of new revenue raised.” 

Even when a deal is reached regarding sequestration we will still see significant reductions in funding that will have big implications for our region. These reductions could have far reaching impacts to workforce, infrastructure, and research.  In the days ahead we will continue to provide you with the best and most up-to-date analysis we can on what all this will mean for our economy. In the meantime, we wanted to remind you all of the layoff support and aversion services that EDC, Manpower, San Diego Workforce Partnership and all of the sub-regional EDCs (North, South and East) can provide to companies that are faced with staffing reductions.  All of these services are free to the business community and are available year-round.

For any companies you may know of that are currently filing WARN notices, informing staff of possible layoffs and/or in the midst of downsizing, please forward them to our website to learn more about the Rapid Response services available to them.

In all ways we look forward to a strong and productive 2013 for our region. Together, by being informed and prepared, we can stand strong in minimizing the impact of sequestration to our economy and in developing new plans for job creation, industry growth and economic prosperity.

November 30, 2012

Dr. Lynn Reaser recently delivered the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute Economic Outlook for 2013. With the election behind us but the fiscal cliff still looming, Reaser sided with many observers to predict that the fiscal cliff will either be avoided or – if it is allowed to happen – would not last longer than a few weeks. However, she pointed out that “if there is no political solution, there will be a market solution.” The government has been running annual deficits of more than a trillion dollars for the last four years and that is not sustainable.

Some highlights from the report:

California is currently outperforming the nation in job growth.
California’s economy continues to see job gains in construction, finance, professional and business services, trade, health care, and leisure and hospitality. The state should add about 275,000 new jobs in 2013, following the estimated 260,000 new jobs created in 2012.

In San Diego, job growth should yield a gain of about 29,000 jobs.
The growth will be driven by San Diego’s key economic drivers – the military, technology and tourism – and a revival in the housing market.

The military continues to be the most important economic driver in San Diego’s economy.
Although the region will not totally escape the impact of budget cuts – even under the best case scenario – the most likely outcome for 2013 is for defense dollars coming into the region to hold relatively steady. San Diego’s strengths fit very well with a defense strategy that is 60 percent focused on Asia and the Pacific with an emphasis on cyber security and unmanned aerial systems.

California State Controller John Chiang joined Reaser at the event. Chiang spoke about the challenges he has faced since coming into office in early 2007, including dealing with a cash deficit within seven months of taking over as State Controller. His focus is on determining a competitive tax structure to create a high standard of living while keeping California competitive as a location for business.