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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

April 10, 2019

World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego's flagship export assistance program, MetroConnect, helps local companies in the region with their efforts in accessing international markets and executing sales overseas. For the 2019 program, twenty companies are selected to participate, including five defense companies who received exclusive access to a consultant that advised on regulatory compliance issues in addition to the services available for supporting international expansion plans.

During Q1 2019, WTC, LRAD Corporation and JAS Forwarding were able to sit down and discuss specific ways to potentially update LRAD's internal and export compliance procedures for its long-range acoustic devices. To assist in furthering its global footprint, WTC was able to leverage the organization's extensive global network and put LRAD in touch with data privacy experts in the European Union.

Additionally, LRAD identified South and Central America as target areas for potential sales growth, and the WTCSD team connected the company with a vetted list of port operators in Latin America and the Caribbean. These relationships stemmed from a delegation held in fall 2018, in partnership with Port of San Diego and World Trade Center, DC. 

 

April 10, 2019

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) works to connect San Diego to global resources. Before a company sets up a location in San Diego, it needs customers. That's where WTCSD comes in.

 

Recognizing San Diego's role as a cleantech’s hub and the region's forward-thinking adoption of green policies, in January, a Japanese-maker of alternative paper and plastic products reached out to World Trade Center San Diego. Not only was the firm interested in potential customers that might need its product, but they were also looking to cultivate relationships with local manufacturers.

Through WTCSD's MetroConnect participants and other regional partners, WTCSD was able to compile a list of potential leads and provided curated introductions to hoteliers and retailers in San Diego with a track record of progressive climate action. On the manufacturing end, EDC also was able to connect the company with contract manufacturers in the San Diego region, which lays the foundation for the Japanese-based company to make a future investment in San Diego.

 

April 10, 2019

From surveying land after natural disasters to delivering packages, drones offer a world of possibilities to advance society and unlock economic potential. However, in order for this type of drone work to become a reality, they must be able to operate beyond a visual line of site(BVLOS). At the moment, no one is allowed to fly BVLOS in U.S. airspace without obtaining a special, hard-to-get waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Chula Vista Police Department is the exception. As part of the FAA's Integration Pilot Program (IPP), San Diego is one of only 10 agencies nationwide selected to partner with private sector entities to accelerate safe UAS integration and innovation both regionally and nationally. In October, the Chula Vista Police Department announced a new test program to deploy drones as first responders. Now, thanks to the support of CAPE, Airmap and, Skyfire, the Chula Vista PD has become the first public safety agency within the 10 IPP destinations to receive a beyond visual line of sight waiver. This waiver will help Chula Vista continue to expand its Drone as First Responders program across the city providing faster responses and better services to the community.

San Diego's IPP is comprised of the city of Chula Vista, the city of San Diego, and San Diego Regional EDC. Recognizing the potential of drone technology for the regional economy, EDC plays a key role in driving the IPP work and supporting the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego with successful integration.

 

April 10, 2019

With the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country, San Diego has the third highest population of veterans in the United States.

Each year, more than 20,000 Sailors and Marines stationed in San Diego leave military service. A third of these individuals, who are  often highly trained, team oriented, and hardworking,  are expected to stay in the San Diego community when transitioning to civilian life. However, adjusting to life outside the military structure and regime comes with its own challenges. According to the National Veterans Transition Service Inc. (NVTSI), 81 percent of transitioning military personnel do not feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market.

With such high volume of transitioning military personnel comes countless local support services for veterans. Navigating the programs and resources can be a daunting process that leaves many feeling discouraged. Now in its fourth year, the Military Transition Conference, hosted at USD in partnership with EDC, was created to provide a holistic, fresh perspective on the transition experience through the lens of education. Content focused on translating military experience into skills and knowledge applicable to a wide variety of industries, and addressed key questions military personnel and veterans have around educational benefits, job hunting, and more.

More than 40 veterans and their dependents received personalized coaching on how to continue meaningful work in San Diego. The day kicked off with a keynote address by Justin McAnear, former exec of J&J, Apple, and Tesla, Naval Academy grad, navy aviator, with an MBA from USD. Following the keynote were a series of breakout sessions where participants could get their resumes reviewed, speak one-on-one with industry representatives, or get coached on job search strategies. Finally, a panel of accomplished veterans from Petco, Intuit, Cubic, and Teradata wrapped up the conference by sharing their honest transition stories and how they ended up in successful careers across tech, law, and retail.

Supporting our veterans in San Diego means expanding access to education, training, and opportunities that catalyze a smooth transition. Representing nearly 10 percent of San Diego’s population, veterans are an important pool of talent helping drive San Diego’s economic success. EDC will continue to support the veteran ecosystem by elevating local opportunities for transitioning military. 

April 9, 2019

In February 2019, EDC supported The San Diego Foundation’s annual convening to recognize the accomplishments of its 2018 Science and Technology program grantees. The San Diego Foundation supports efforts that encourage more students to pursue STEM careers and academic research, with the goal of strengthening our regional economy. Grantees have a demonstrated track record of engaging students in STEM fields, particularly among underrepresented populations. Eduardo Velasquez, research manager at EDC, participated in a panel alongside City of San Diego’s Deputy Operating Officer Erik Caldwell and Qualcomm’s Inclusion and Diversity Manager Carrie Sawyer for a discussion on the importance of building a strong local talent pipeline. 

The San Diego region is recognized as a tech hub, with some of the most innovative companies and world-class research universities. Yet, not all students have the opportunity to explore and pursue STEM-related fields that lead to high-paying jobs in the innovation economy. San Diego’s Hispanic population is statistically the least prepared to enter or complete a degree or credential, yet represents nearly half of the future local talent pool.

This demographic gap in educational attainment, combined with rapidly changing skill requirements and a nationwide battle for talent, is likely to lead to an increased shortage of skilled workers in our region. As a member of EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, The San Diego Foundation’s convening directly supports the regional goal of producing 20,000 new skilled workers per year by 2030.

Learn more at talent.inclusivesd.org

April 9, 2019

From inclusive growth to San Diego: Life. Changing., many of EDC's most high profile initiatives have a similar origin story: they started with bringing the right people around the table. Looking to spur similar programs and initiatives on the 78 Corridor, Innovate78, a program funded by the five cities along the 78 Corridor (Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista) and managed by EDC, hosted its first Innovator Dinner in March 2019.

 The Innovators Dinner Series is designed to bring together a diversity of people, engaging in meaningful conversations about how we can all grow and build a more prosperous North County. Bringing together 25 individuals from every corner of the 78 corridor, the wide range of industries represented—from technology to manufacturing to brewing to life sciences—reflected the strength of the corridor.

As the event got underway, the conversation gravitated toward natural themes of mentorship, access to capital, the viability of the local talent pool and more. The idea around remote work came up as well. With North County's strong quality of life and abundance of coworking spaces, many have noted a rise in remote employees based in North County. However, one entrepreneur at the Innovators Dinner bucked that trend. Although his company is located on the 78 corridor, many of his employees are remote, and live as far away as the Midwest. 

April 9, 2019

Launched in September 2018, Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) is a comprehensive business initiative designed to build resiliency in small, local defense companies and help find pathways to diversify its revenues. Since the beginning of the program, Propel San Diego partners—guided by the San Diego Regional EDC—have provided hands-on services to assist 15 San Diego-based companies.

Continuing these efforts, in Q1 2019, EDC hosted three executive education boot camps for cohort companies. Collectively, these boot camps had more than50 people in attendance and covered topics including branding and marketing, small business contracting at SPAWAR, and cybersecurity standards.

Each session brought in regional experts and gave companies a chance to ask specific questions about their businesses. Presenters included Mark McLain the Director of Small Business Program at SPAWAR, James Sly the Vice President of the East County EDC, with organizations including California Manufacturing and Technology Consultants (CMTC), National Defense Industrial Association, Raindrop Marketing, and Seer Interactive also participating.  

On May 23, five DIV companies, chosen by an independent judging panel and EDC staff, will have the opportunity to compete for a $25,000 Grand Prize at the inaugural DIV Pitchfest. Be a judge at this first-ever event, where attendees will be voting on the innovative defense company that’s most deserving of additional funding! Learn more and reserve your ticket to DIV Pitchfest here

DIV is made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton along 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.

April 9, 2019

The Broken Token, a company that has permeated the board game market, creates custom gaming accessories and kits. While the manufacturer's products are distributed globally, its 8,000 sq. ft. headquarters is located in Escondido. Since The Broken Token's venture into tabletop gaming in 2013, the company has grown to 30 employees. And with more employees, comes a need for more space.

 

Now, the company has the potential to anchor the craft manufacturing sector in Escondido. The Broken Token is looking to expand into a larger building that would spark new life into the western edge of downtown Escondido. Additionally, the company is a key workforce development asset in North County. It provides opportunities for entry-level skill jobs where workers can develop new hands-on skills.

 

Through a referral from the City of Escondido, EDC guided the company through the process of applying for a $150,000 tax credit through the California Competes Tax Credit Program. Granted by the State of California, if approved, this credit will offset the company's tax liability for the hiring of 14 new employees and investment of $350,000 over the next five years. Additionally, with the potential lease of a larger city-owned building on the horizon, EDC provided an introduction to CDC Small Business Finance, so the firm can arrange financing to complete necessary renovation on its potential future Escondido home.

April 5, 2019

Welcome to our first Board Member Spotlight. Every week, we'll be introducing you to a new EDC board member, so you can learn about the people that are helping support and drive our organization forward. Meet Tom Turner, commercial real estate attorney turned vice president of CBRE. After a 35-year career in law, the last 25 with the firm of Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, Tom has joined CBRE as vice president and will fill the firm’s seat on our board. We caught up with Tom to learn more about this unique career transition, and here is what we learned: 

What is your “day job”?

As a member of the CBRE tenant representation team, I specialize in helping secure favorable real estate deals for law firms, technology companies, and other commercial real estate users throughout Southern California, with a focus on San Diego. I joined CBRE after a 35-year career in law, the last 25 with the firm of Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, where I was managing partner and a trusted commercial real estate advisor to countless local companies. I am excited to step into the brokerage world and combine my real estate law insight, deal-making skills, and business perspective to create successful outcomes for my clients.

Of all the boards in San Diego, why EDC?

EDC’s board is a cross-section of executives from every part of the region, and nearly every industry, as well as nonprofit leaders and elected officials, making it possible to hear from diverse stakeholders on a broad spectrum of economic development issues. I find direct value from EDC’s work helping businesses expand their presence in the region and raising the region’s profile to attract investment.  Our respective research teams partner on products like The Economic Pulse and studies such as a recent project about precision health. We’re also proud sponsors of the EDC’s Annual Dinner at SeaWorld every year –our signs are as big as billboards!

Favorite quote?

"Reject the tyranny of the 'or.' Embrace the genius of the 'and.'" - Jim Collins, Good to Great.

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

Summer Soltice of 1980, the day I married my beautiful and amazing wife Jennifer, the mother of our three wonderful kids and the best Nana our grandkids could ever hope for.

 

April 1, 2019
 
On March 7, WTC San Diego in partnership with Tendy LLC hosted a roundtable event which facilitated proactive conversations between business executives from San Diego’s innovation economy and representatives from the Consulates General of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zambia. Discussions centered around opportunities and innovations within the healthcare, energy, infrastructure, mobility, and tourism sectors, as well as ways in which each region could grow and improve upon their economic development strategies. This event, a first of its kind here in SD, is a follow-up to a similar event organized by Tendy LLC in New York City, during UN General Assembly Week, with the goal of demystifying what it means to do business in various African countries, educating businesses and organizations on the opportunities present and growing in these nations, and facilitating a venue through which partnerships and deal flow can be established. Takeda Research, the premiere biotech-like research center for the Japan-based pharmaceutical company, hosted this event which drew attendees from local companies and organizations such as Cleantech San Diego, the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, Kaiser Permanente, FoxFury Lighting Solutions, PKL Services, IPS Group Inc, and Viasat.
 
In the healthcare and medical roundtable Zambia’s Honorary Consul, Robert Sichinga, noted that countries are seeking committed, long-term international partnerships. In the past, large companies have come in, conducted their study, helped a limited number of individuals from the hosting country, and departed. The hope is that in the future, these companies look for more long-lasting, sustainable, relationships to truly increase the availability and efficiency of modern medicine on the continent, while also allowing for knowledge transfer, training, and education of local populations, as well as potential job increases. 
 
According to the Ethiopian investment agency, foreign direct investment is booming in the East African country. This is primarily a result of its increased focus on manufacturing and agriculture. As trade frameworks such as AGOA emerge and receive resounding support from African nations, countries are realizing a renewed energy and focus on inter-African trade as well as increasing their partnerships with other trading blocks to boost investments in agriculture, agri-processing, transportation infrastructure, and renewable energy.
 
Like anywhere else, life in Africa is not without challenges. In 2014, the World Bank estimated that nearly 600 million people were without electricity. Access to clean water and medical care also remains an issue. However, with challenges come great opportunities for innovation, change, and collaboration. The CEO of FoxFury Lighting Solutions, Mario Cugini, provided the delegates with a demonstration of how products such as its scene lights—high intensity, highly functioning LED lights which could greatly aid hospitals and operating rooms and other critical infrastructure whose efficacy is reduced by unreliable power supplies. The potential for such lighting applications is endless in sectors such as wildlife management, first responder/emergency operations, healthcare, infrastructure and construction. IPS Group, the leader in smart meter technology and implementation, was also on hand for a joint conversation with Viasat around how investments in solar energy, wireless infrastructure, and banking solutions are all imperative to taking their technology abroad.
 
For more information on how you can tap into business opportunities within the African continent, please contact Lucas Coleman at the World Trade Center San Diego. 
 
The image above is from the roundtable. Pictured Back L to R: John Reeves (Viasat), Robert Sichinga (HonConZambia), Oscar Adley (PKL), Berthran Ugeh (Tendy LLC), Cem Hacioglu (West African LNG Group), David Pasquini (UK Gov’t Office SD), Erik Caldwell (City of San Diego), Blake Erickson (unaffiliated); Middle: Hilda Mwangi (WTC San Diego at time of picture), Brian Webber (IPS Group Inc), Kimberly Robling (PKL Services), Valerie Achieng (UCSD MBA Student), Mario Cugini (FoxFury); Bottom: Shakira Motan (South African Consulate Chicago), Betelehem Abera Haile (Ethiopian Consulate Los Angeles), Muktar Mohammed Ware (Ethiopian Consulate Los Angeles), Patience Onyegbule (Kaiser), Runa Tarannum (self employed consultant)