News & Updates

A Meeting with the Tijuana Conventions and Tourism Committee

COTUCOLast week, Chamber Staff – including President & CEO, Jerry Sanders – met with Francisco Villegas, President of the Tijuana Conventions and Tourism Committee (COTUCO) and the organization’s Binational Liaison, Juan Saldana. In addition to promoting Tijuana as a destination spot for tourists, COTUCO advocates for city improvements in order to support the city’s thriving businesses. The meeting was an excellent opportunity for the Chamber and COTUCO to establish open and frequent communication, plus discuss binational tourism opportunities and mutual participation at each other’s events.

UETA Duty Free Americas Hosts Meeting with U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce


Louis Escareno, General Counsel at UETA Duty Free; Denice Garcia, Director of Binational Affairs at the Office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer; Mayra Vazquez IBA at Chamber; Al Zapanta, US-MX Chamber Pres & CEO; Paola Avila, Chamber VP; Vivian Salazar, Binational Liaison for the City of Tijuana; Former Senator Denise Ducheny

Last week, Chamber staff participated in a meeting hosted by Chamber member, UETA Duty Free Americas, with Al Zapanta, President of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, which has offices throughout Mexico and the United States, works to promote business between the two countries through mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships. The meeting was an excellent opportunity to establish a strong alliance between both chambers, as we both continue efforts to enhance our binational region as a unique economic zone.

The U.S.-Mexico Chamber has pledged its commitment to supporting the Chamber’s efforts during our upcoming Mexico City Trip.

Chamber Transitions Through Board Leadership Change

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce announced a transition to its Board Chairman position following the promotion and relocation of John Reilly, SeaWorld San Diego Park President. Assuming the role of Board Chairman will be current Board Vice Chair, Ernesto Arredondo, Jr., San Diego Area President of Wells Fargo Bank.

Vice Chair, Sam Attisha

Vice Chair, Sam Attisha

Chair, Ernesto Arredondo

Chair, Ernesto Arredondo

“Despite just beginning his role as Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, John has long been a trusted advisor and supporter of the Chamber,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber. “We wish John well in his new role and thank him for the thoughtful and fresh approach he brought to the Chamber.”

In his new role as Chief Parks Operations Officer in Orland, Fla., Reilly will oversee all of SeaWorld Entertainment’s theme parks. Reilly has led SeaWorld San Diego’s park operations since 2010. The Chamber’s Board of Directors today voted in unanimous support of the Chairman transition, effective in April.

“Ernesto has been a strong supporter of the Chamber and our mission, and I appreciate him stepping into the Chairman role,” Sanders said.  “Under Ernesto’s leadership, the Chamber will continue our progress toward making San Diego the best place in California to do business and bringing more jobs to the region.”

Assuming the role of Vice Chair will be Sam Attisha, Vice President of Business Development and Public Affairs for Cox Communications. Attisha currently serves on the Chamber Board as Chair of the Public Policy Committee and will maintain that role as Vice Chair.

Chamber VP Paola Avila Meets with Baja California’s Maritime Industry

BlueTechChamber VP Paola Avila attended a meeting hosted by The Maritime Alliance which detailed effective strategies for promoting blue tech in the CaliBaja mega region. As the Chamber continues to advocate and support efforts to grow the region’s blue tech economy, the meeting was an excellent opportunity to foster relationships with Baja’s maritime industry.

Notable attendees included: Michael Jones, President of The Maritime Alliance & TMA Foundation; Andres Campos, Director of Ensenada EDC; Dr. Edgar Pavía, Director of the Oceanography Research Institute; Dr. Guido Marinone & María Mendoza, representatives from CICESE; Dr. Asdrubal Martinez, Director of UABC Oceanology Research Institute; Efrain Kantel, Director of International Affairs for the City of Ensenada; Carlos Loyola, President of the Economic Development Council of Ensenada; Denice Garcia, Director of Binational Affairs for the City of San Diego, and Adriana Eguia, Director of the CaliBaja Mega Region.

For more information, view the presentation slides here.

Member Spotlight: California Council of the Blind

Council for BlindSince 1934, the California Council of the Blind, with approximately 1,500 members, including two chapters in San Diego, has worked to improve the lives of persons who are vision impaired. College scholarships, no-interest loans for employment, assistance to parents of blind children, peer support to seniors suffering vision loss, and public education are just some of the services the Council provides.

The council’s 2016 Conference and Convention will be held from April 7-10 at the Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine. We encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity to make yourself known to the blindness community in San Diego and throughout the state by advertising or providing a convention sponsorship.


Full Page $150 8 1/2” x 11”
Half Page $75 8 1/2” x 5 ½”
Quarter Page $50 4 1/4 “ x 5 ½”
$10 2 Lines


Program advertising deadline, March 4th, 2016. Send to

Sponsorship Information

Platinum Sponsor: $5000
1. Full page Convention Program add.
2. Company Logo and URL in web version of program.
3. Sponsorship acknowledgement over world wide internet radio.
4. 3 pieces of company marketing materials in attendee registration bags.

Gold Sponsor: $3000
All of the above but limited to 2 pieces marketing materials.

Silver Sponsor: $1000
Items 2 and 3 above limited to 1 piece marketing material.

Bronze : $500
Item 3 above.

Deadline for submitting advertising and sponsorship for the program is midnight March 4th, 2016. For details call Ed Branch at 800-221-6359 or email

Congratulations to Our 2016 Get Fit 30-Day Challenge Winners!

getfitsd_hashtagMore than 700 individuals took part in the San Diego Regional Chamber’s 4th Annual Get Fit San Diego 30-Day Challenge, logging a total of 12,651 hours of activity. The Challenge, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, ran from January 11 to February 9 to encourage employees and businesses in San Diego to commit to a healthy lifestyle for 30 days and beyond.

At the start of the Challenge, participants selected one of three divisions to compete in based on fitness level: “Back on the Wagon,” “Average Joes,” and “Fitness Buffs.” Throughout the Challenge participants joined weekly activity challenges and photo contests while tracking their daily exercise, nutrition and wellness to earn Thrive points. The individuals and teams with the most Thrive points at the end of the 30 days were awarded a prize.

team9Here are a few fun facts from the Challenge:

  • Over 700 individuals participated, representing more than 155 businesses and organizations
  • Total minutes of exercise: 759,051
  • Total pounds lost: 569
  • Top five activities: Walking, running, hiking, weight lifting (power), and biking


2016 Get Fit Winners

“Back on the Wagon” division:

  • Individual: Jennifer Carney
  • Team: Psomas, a sustainable engineering firm

“Average Joes” division:

  • Individual: Berni Meyer
  • Team: Kineticom, a telecommunications and IT staffing agency

“Fitness Buffs” division:

  • Individual: Jessica Deree
  • Team: Kineticom (again, wow!)

Thank you to everyone who participated, in particular to our Challenge spnonsor, Kaiser Permanente. For more photos from the Challenge, visit our album on Facebook or check out the #GetFitSD hashtag on Twitter.

Member Spotlight: Omnia Nightclub

Terrace 1OMNIA Nightclub is a multi-leveled nightclub in the heart of the downtown Gaslamp Quarter offering corporate event space with distinctive indoor and outdoor experiences that are completely customizable for any function. Your guests will discover an opulent main room, including balcony level as well as an outdoor terrace overlooking the energetic streets of downtown San Diego.

OMNIA is a bold new presence in the city’s dining and entertainment nightlife scene offering a full-service kitchen. Our professional team is dedicated to designing a memorable culinary affair for you and your guests.

OMNIA Main Club Dancefloor“OMNIA” means “everything” – and true to that name, it is all you want it to be. OMNIA’s State-of-the-Art technology allows for unprecedented opportunities and complete customization throughout the venue so your brand is always the focal point, never an afterthought. Each room can deliver a custom mix of sight and sound, making for nearly endless possibilities.

View our 360 degree Virtual Video of our interior at:

For private or corporate event buyout opportunities for groups of 100 – 1,900 guests, please contact Jennifer Guevarra, Director of Corporate Sales at 619.704.1721 or



OMNIA Nightclub
454 Sixth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Jennifer Guevarra, Director of Corporate Sales
Hakkasan Group – OMNIA Nightclub

New Entry Requirements for Travelers Flying to Canada

Beginning in March 2016, Canada will enforce a new eTA entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals that are flying to the country. (United States citizens and travelers with a valid visa are exempt from the new policy.)

An eTA is electronically linked to a traveler’s passport, similar to the United States Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA). The eTA is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and allows Canada to screen visa-exempt travelers before boarding their flight.

How to Get an eTA

Applying for an eTA is an easy, inexpensive process that only takes a few minutes to complete. To apply, travelers only need their passport, a credit card, an email address, and $7 Canadian. Applications can be made on any device with an internet connection (including mobile) to accommodate last-minute applications. Most eTA applicants will be approved within minutes.

For more information about the new eTA requirement, visit and/or view the instruction video below:

Northrop Grumman Leads Mission to Further Understanding of El Niño

IMG_0691Chamber Policy staff were recently on-site at Edward Air Force Base to view Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk, which will be leading several missions to collect detailed data over the Pacific Ocean to help further understanding and expectations of the coming El Niño. The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built NASA Global Hawk missions will take place from February to March, and represents cutting-edge technology and mission capabilities.

The Global Hawk program, stationed in Northrop Grumman’s Rancho Bernardo offices, contributes to over 4,000 local jobs in the San Diego region.

Chamber Celebrates 145th Anniversary

(click for larger image

(click for larger image)

On January 28, nearly 1,000 local businesses, community leaders and elected officials gathered to celebrate the San Diego Chamber’s 145 years of business advocacy. To report the past year’s accomplishments, the Chamber enlisted the help of local journalists, including ABC 10News’s Itica Milanes, who served as the evening’s co-host.

Included among the event’s distinguished attendees was Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who delivered a keynote address and led the induction of the Chamber’s 2016 Board of Directors. A moment was also reserved for Jerry Rebel, Past Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer for Jack in the Box, Inc. to pass the torch the Chamber’s 2016 Chairman, John Reilly, Park President of SeaWorld San Diego.

(click for larger image)

(click for larger image)

The event was not only an opportunity to celebrate past advocacy wins, but also look forward to new goals for 2016. Some of the Chamber’s goals for the year include a comprehensive Regional Jobs Strategy for all chambers, the preclearance/joint inspection facility at Otay Mesa, affordable housing for veterans, and, of course, supporting business-friendly policies and candidates.

The Chamber also presented awards to five local leaders and businesses who have made a difference in the community and represent what makes San Diego truly unique.

  • (click for larger image)

    (click for larger image)

    The Cravory received the “Small Business of the Year” award for showing that a great idea, plus passion and determination, can yield a world-wide business success.

  • Ballast Point received the “Business of the Year” award for helping to put the San Diego craft brewing industry on the map and the company’s overall success that recently resulted in the sale of the company for $1 billion.
  • Kyocera International received the “Binational Business of the Year” award for pioneering the “borderless” business and creating innovative products and services in the technology sector.
  • (click for larger image)

    (click for larger image)

    Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, received the “Moving San Diego Forward” award for transforming San Diego’s community colleges with a $1.6 billion construction project and driving increased levels of student success.

  • Nikki Clay, founder of The Clay Company and Carpi and Clay, received the “Herb Klein Spirit of San Diego” award for her tireless leadership and commitment to San Diego’s civic organizations and community causes.

A special thank you goes to everyone who contributed in making this event a huge success, in particular our title sponsors: Jack in the Box, Kaiser Permanente, SDG&E, and SeaWorld.

For more photos of the event, visit our album on Facebook.