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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Big Picture San Diego Blog

May 17, 2019

For the next installment in our Board Member Spotlight series, we are pleased to introduce Dennis Doucette, partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP. Read the Q&A below and get to know Dennis and how he effects San Diego’s economic development outside of his role as one of EDC’s board members.

What is your “day job”?

I assist in company forming, funding, and selling. As a corporate attorney, I help my clients realize their goals with efficient legal and business solutions. I have been fortunate to have worked on more than 400 transactions representing buyers, sellers, and investors.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?

I have served on many for-profit and non-profit boards and look forward to assisting EDC in its mission to make San Diego a better place for all companies and their employees.

Favorite quote?

“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than fear to do wrong.”

- Abraham Lincoln

We know San Diego is a life changing place, what was your life changing moment?

Meeting my wife Margot and enjoying every day together.

What is your favorite EDC program or initiative?

Direct economic support to companies.


May 17, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers April 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.0 percent in April, down from a revised 3.6 percent in March 2019, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.1 percent
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 3.9 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively
  • Between March 2019 and April 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,492,600 to 1,500,400, adding 7,800 jobs
  • Between April 2018 and April 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,480,000 to 1,500,400, adding 20,400 jobs
  • Between April 2018 and April 2019, education and health services led the year-over gain, adding 7,600 jobs

May 7, 2019

Small businesses + defense economy = our future.
It's simple math.

  • Small businesses represent 98% of San Diego companies
  • The defense economy supports 1 in 5 jobs in San Diego

That's why EDC is focused on helping small and mid-sized defense companies grow.

What is DIV?
In 2018, we launched the Defense Innovation Voucher Program(DIV). Thanks to funding provided from the Department of Defense, EDC worked directly with 15 companies to provide consulting services (think: marketing assistance, certifications, accounting compliance, and more) and a six-month long crash course designed to help these participants win high-value government contracts and find other revenue streams.

What's next?
Now, we need your help taking DIV to the next level. On May 23, we're inviting five companies to share their story and pitch for the grand prize - an additional $25k in funding. And YOU - the audience - gets to help pick the winner. 

Event details: 
Grand Prize Pitch
Thursday, May 23 | 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
San Diego Central Library – Shiley Special Events Suite

Who should attend?

  • Defense industry employees that want a better grasp of market trends
  • Startups interested in connecting with other high-growth companies
  • Services providers looking for their next client
  • Anyone that cares about the future of San Diego

The participating companies:

  • EpiSci (EpiSys Science, Inc.) was founded in 2012, with the vision that future disruptive innovations would be derived from the paradigm of systems science. Through its deep technical expertise in multiple emerging areas, EpiSci develops the most innovative systems solutions for defense, intelligence, and commercial applications.
  • Fuse Integration, Inc. was founded with a noble cause of bringing the benefits of commercial human-centered design processes to first responder and military systems engineering. Fuse is working hard to lead the charge with an agile approach to development and a rapid prototyping ethos for the way they build systems.
  • GET Engineering Corporation is a leading-edge, high technology engineering firm providing tactical data solutions to government and industrial clients. GET is a small business dedicated to providing the U.S. Department of Defense and its coalition forces the most cost effective tactical communication products and solutions available.
  • Planck Aerosystems combines artificial intelligence, advanced controls, computer vision, and rigorous testing to enable drones to operate from moving platforms and execute fully autonomous missions. Its customers include government agencies and commercial maritime operators.
  • Trabus Technologies is a high-tech IT and engineering corporation that continues to expand its impressive portfolio of capabilities, programs, and services. Trabus Technologies thrives on practical solutions to the toughest challenges in cyber, wireless, and unmanned systems.

This project is funded 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.

Join us on May 23 for the Defense Innovation Voucher Program Pitch event, beginning at 9 a.m. at San Diego Central Library – Shiley Special.

May 3, 2019

Thank you to everyone who attended San Diego Regional EDC's 53rd Annual Dinner, underwritten by Point Loma Nazarene University

At the event on May 2, 2019, we honored Dr. Karen Haynes, president of CSU San Marcos, with the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award presented by Sony Electronics and ResMed with the Duane Roth Renaissance Award, presented by UC San Diego. Plus, we welcomed 10 new directors and two newly appointed trustees to our board. 

And the annual celebration was finished off with some inspiring remarks from our chair Janice Brown. She talked about how we're creating a more inclusive economy and climbing the second mountain. But this requires collaboration.

As we launch Advancing San Diego, - an effort to strengthen our local workforce by connecting all San Diegans with jobs - we will need your help. Fill out the form below, and we'll be in touch once the program is underway.

*Join us in Advancing San Diego.*

Also, check out the video of drone startup Planck Aerosystems that premiered last night. Whether you are a longstanding EDC investor, board member, partner, or a new friend, each and every one of you has helped us create a stronger San Diego, one company at a time. 

Building a stronger San Diego with Planck Aerospace from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

May 3, 2019

EDC welcomed 10 new directors to its board, with Janice Brown, founder of Brown Law Group, continuing to serve as chair through May 2020. The board will help guide the programs and initiatives for the privately-funded, nonprofit organization with more than 180 investors.

“I’m thrilled to continue serving as board chair of EDC,” said Janice Brown, founder of Brown Law Group and chair of EDC. “EDC’s board is now stronger than ever. With our pool of dedicated board members, we will be able to set an impactful agenda for all of San Diego’s economy, lifting every community in our region. I truly believe there’s no mountain high enough for us to overcome, San Diego!”

EDC’s board is comprised of elected directors and trustees representing partner organizations in the business community. Directors are vetted by EDC’s governance committee and elected annually by its membership to serve two-year terms. For 2019, 25 directors were re-elected alongside 10 new directors. Two new trustees were also appointed by the organization’s executive committee. The board represents executives from companies, organizations, institutions and the military along with elected officials, who are all working cohesively to advance San Diego’s economy.

“Thanks to the support from our investors, board and the entire San Diego business community, EDC is working to positively shape the region’s future.” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “Together, we can make San Diego a better place to live and work for all residents and businesses.”

2019 Officers:

Chair –  Janice Brown, Founder at The Brown Law Group

Vice Chair – Rob Douglas, President and COO at ResMed, Inc.

Vice Chair – Julian Parra, Business Banking Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Treasurer – June Komar, Executive Vice President at Scripps Health

Secretary – Phil Blair, President and CEO at Manpower San Diego

Mark Cafferty, President and CEO at San Diego Regional EDC


Newly elected Directors:

Dennis Doucette, Partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications at Sony Electronics  

Dan Harrington, EVP and Chief Services Officer at Teradata

Don Kearns, President Emeritus at Rady Children’s Hospital 

Mark Navarra, Managing Partner at Jerome’s Furniture

Mike Neal, President and CEO at HG Fenton 

Tom Pellette, President at Solar Turbines

Greg Richardson, Lead Advisor at Dowling & Yahnke  

Manuel Rodriguez, Market President at US Bank

Matt Thoene, CEO at AIS

Newly appointed Trustees:

Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director at San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

Jim Madaffer, Board Chair at San Diego County Water Authority

On the horizon for 2019

With and through its investors, EDC will remain focused on sustaining and growing existing initiatives and programs including San Diego: Life. Changing, the Defense Innovation Voucher Program, regional research and Innovate78World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of EDC, will continue to drive an international agenda for San Diego through programs including MetroConnect as well as an upcoming trade mission to Germany in late 2019.

Additionally, EDC will continue to support companies of all sizes with their growth efforts by assisting with regulatory/permitting support, economic incentive consulting, strategic partnerships and more. EDC services are underwritten by its investors that believe in creating a more prosperous San Diego, and are free-of-charge to companies looking to expand, stay or locate in the San Diego region. In 2018 alone, EDC directly assisted more than 170 companies, which represented approximately 7,000 jobs in San Diego.

Announced in April, EDC will be launching Advancing San Diego, which is made possible through a $3 million grant provided by the JPMorgan Chase AdvancingCities initiative. This grant will complement EDC’s ongoing inclusive growth strategy. In collaboration with City of San Diego, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA)San Diego Workforce Partnership and United Way of San Diego County, the program seeks to strengthen the region’s local workforce by enhancing relationships between employers and education systems. 


April 26, 2019









For our next Board Member Spotlight, we are pleased to introduce David Andrews, president of National University. Read the Q&A below and get to know David, the work he is doing with National University, and why serving on EDC’s board is important to him.

What is your “day job”?

I have the privilege of leading National University, the second largest private, nonprofit university in the state. Having spent all of my career in higher education, it is very rewarding to run an open-access, adult-serving institution that is changing student’s lives and transforming the higher education sector.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?

Economic conditions in San Diego are central to our ability to attract and retain talented faculty, staff, and students. As an open-access, adult-serving institution in California, we need to be at the table and doing our part to maximize opportunities for our students.

Favorite quote?

 “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” –Albert Einstein

We know San Diego is a life changing place, what was your life changing moment?

My life-changing moment was when I found my wife, Marti, nearly four decades ago. All who knew me before meeting her regularly attest to the positive transformation she made in my life.

What is your favorite EDC program or initiative?

San Diego: Life. Changing.


April 19, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers March 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in March, up from a revised 3.5 percent in February, and up from the year-ago estimate of 3.4 percent.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains below both the state rate of 4.6 percent and the national rate of 3.9 percent.
  • The labor force contracted by 8,000 workers over the month, but is currently up 15,100 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment is up 4,300 in March and up 20,100 over the year.
  • The largest employment gain over the year occurred in educational and healthcare services, which added 7,700 jobs.


April 19, 2019

For our next Board Member Spotlight, we are pleased to introduce Dan Broderick, who is Regional Managing Principal for the Southwest region at Cushman & Wakefield. Read the Q&A below and get to know Dan, the work he does for Cushman & Wakefield, and why he’s proud to serve on EDC’s board.

What is your “day job”?

At Cushman & Wakefield, I lead all of our commercial real estate services lines for the Southwest region - Brokerage (Occupier and Investor), Capital Markets, Asset Services, Construction Management, and Valuation & Advisory.  In San Diego, we are the market leader in the full spectrum of real estate services throughout the county, operating out of five offices with approximately 250 people in the region.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?

EDC exemplifies what is great about San Diego: our demographics, our talent, our resources, our community, and our culture. EDC is the intersection where information, politics, business, trade, and technology converge for the betterment of our region. It is the gold standard for collaboration and creating a cohesive vision for the future of our great home, San Diego.

Favorite quote?

“The choice isn’t between success and failure; it’s between choosing risk and striving for greatness, or risking nothing and being certain of mediocrity.” - Keith Ferrazi

We know San Diego is a life changing place, what was your life changing moment?

In 2010, I was asked to be the CEO of BRE Commercial, a 25 year-old San Diego firm. I will forever cherish the experiences and relationships I developed. Nine years later, we have achieved what we set out to do. We have become a premier global firm and a leader in the region.  We work with amazing people, who are talented, dedicated, driven, and leaders in the industry.  I am proud to work with all of them, and to be on this great journey together.

What is your favorite EDC program or initiative?

San Diego: Life. Changing.



April 18, 2019

Today, JPMorgan Chase has announced that San Diego is one of five cities to win a $3 million grant from the AdvancingCities Challenge. Launched in 2018, the inaugural competition is a $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the United States. This grant will be used to fund a new collaborative program—Advancing San Diego.

“The Advancing San Diego program is going to be a game-changer and will provide resources to underserved communities that need it most,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “It’s going to lift up our small businesses, prepare San Diegans for skilled jobs and make a real difference in people’s lives. It’s also going to level the playing field so that no matter where you grow up in San Diego, you have access to opportunity. I want to thank JPMorgan Chase for choosing San Diego, as well as the San Diego Regional EDC and all of the participating agencies who supported our proposal.”        

JPMorgan Chase received more than 250 applications from 143 communities. Among the four other winning cities in the U.S.—Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; and Syracuse, NY—San Diego was selected because its proposal successfully outlined local coalitions of elected, business, and nonprofit leaders who will work together to address major social and economic challenges such as employment barriers, financial insecurity, and neighborhood disinvestment.

Through Advancing San Diego, EDC and its partners will collectively work to double the production of skilled workers by 2030 and enhance relationships between local employers and the region’s education systems. The concept incorporates a demand-driven, employer-led strategy to both connect underrepresented residents with high-demand jobs, while also providing small business access to diverse talent applicants. More specifically, these efforts focus on elevating San Diego’s Hispanic population, who is projected to be San Diego’s largest demographic group by 2030. Currently, 84 percent of Hispanics do not hold a bachelor’s degree and are drastically underrepresented in the region’s innovation economy.

With unemployment rates at multiyear lows, companies need to compete for talent like never before. The good news is that our future talent poolthe engineers, scientists, data analystswill be homegrown,” said Janice Brown, Board Chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “EDC has embarked on Advancing San Diegoa collaborative effort between business, nonprofit, philanthropy and academia, aimed to increase degree and credential completions required for high demand jobs and support the small businesses that drive our economy forward.”

The San Diego of tomorrow is going to look very different than the San Diego of today. With the AdvancingCities Challenge, EDC is able to support its existing inclusive growth efforts, which aim to build a strong local talent pipeline, equip small businesses to compete, and address the affordability crisis. Together with San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA), United Way of San Diego County, and City of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC is leading a region wide approach to sustain growth throughout San Diego County.

To learn more about AdvancingCities and the other AdvancingCities Challenge Winners, visit

Join us in Advancing San Diego. For more information about EDC’s inclusive growth efforts, visit

*Read the full press release.*

April 12, 2019

Each year, San Diego Regional EDC honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership by addressing challenges and making significant contributions to improve our region. For 2019, we are thrilled to award Dr. Karen Haynes with the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award, presented by SONY. 

Karen Haynes has served as President of CSU San Marcos since 2004 and is the longest-tenured president in the university’s history. Under her leadership, the school’s population has grown from 7,000 students to 17,000, while also overseeing the addition of 15 new buildings, more than 100 academic programs, and a new satellite campus in Temecula. 

Aside from fulfilling the duties as university president, Dr. Haynes has gone above and beyond to address the needs of underrepresented students. She has a passion for helping every student achieve their academic potential by removing barriers to access. CSUSM serves the highest per-capita numbers of both military veterans and Native American students in the CSU system and more former foster youth per capita than any institution of higher education in the United States. 
In addition to the new award she'll be receiving, Dr. Haynes carries a long list of notable awards and accolades, including:

  • In 2016, Dr. Haynes became the senior president in the 23-campus CSU system—the first woman to ever serve in that role. 
  • 2017 Social Work Pioneer Award by the National Association of Social Workers, for contributions to the evolution and enrichment of the profession.
  • 2015 Woman of the Year Award from San Diego Magazine for her commitment to creating positive change in the region.
  • 2015 President of the Year Award from the California State Student Association, which represents all 460,000 CSU students, for outstanding commitment to CSU students.
  • Named a Power Broker of 2015 by the San Diego Business Journal for being a “catalyst for change and a champion for the underserved” in her leadership of Cal State San Marcos.

Please join us on May 2 at Sea World, where will be recognizing Dr. Haynes for great achievements. 
More information & tickets are available: