News & Updates

Chamber Announces Support for Chargers Initiative


Chargers Board Chairman, Dean Spanos, Presenting at Chamber Board Meeting

The Chamber Board of Directors voted to support the Chargers’ plan to build a multi-use sports complex and convention facility in downtown San Diego.

Following the Board’s vote, Chamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders – along with Dean Spanos (Chargers Board Chairman), Margie Newman (Chargers Initiative Ad Hoc Committee member and small business owner), and Nick Hardwick (retired Chargers center) – held a press conference to formally announce the Chamber’s decision.

“We take pride in being an action-oriented business organization that works to continually move our region forward.

After a thorough review of the plan we believe the Chargers Initiative is the best step forward in meeting the challenge before us: keeping our NFL team in San Diego and enhancing our convention industry.”

– Jerry Sanders, San Diego Regional Chamber President & CEO


Chamber President & CEO, Jerry Sanders, at Chargers Press Conference

While the Chamber team understands there are some risks to the Initiative, we believe the benefits far outweigh them.

A few key advantages of a downtown stadium:

  • The opportunity to host future Super Bowls, continued revitalization of East Village, additional capacity for convention business
  • An estimated 7,000 permanent jobs and 15,000 construction and construction-related jobs
  • An estimated 1.85 million additional hotel room nights in the first ten years of operation
  • An estimated $60 million per year increase in hotel room revenue

Furthermore, by keeping our NFL team, it will continue to increase San Diego’s perception as a “major league” city – this will be an important retention and attraction tool for companies, employees, and recruiters wishing to hire outside talent.

Special appearance by Chargers Coach Mike McCoy

Special appearance by Chargers Coach Mike McCoy

A letter of support from Chamber Board Chair Ernesto Arredondo and Sanders was delivered to Spanos, which outlined several considerations the Chamber requested be addressed by the Chargers. Among them:

  • The Tourism Marketing District be made whole at 2 percent
  • Scheduling of games to best accommodate large events in the city
  • Replacement parking identified for removal of Tailgate Park
  • Appropriate community outreach to address infrastructure needs
  • Absolute protection of the City of San Diego’s General Fund
Ad Hoc Committee Member & Small Business Owner, Margie Newman

Ad Hoc Committee Member & Small Business Owner, Margie Newman

The Chamber team plans to continue its conversations with the Chargers as necessary to address the outlined considerations and help facilitate the community dialogue related to the plan. For the full news release and letter to Dean Spanos, click here.

For more photos of the press conference event, click here.

Chamber Celebrates CANACO’s 90th Anniversary

Gilberto Leyva Jerry SandersChamber President & CEO Jerry Sanders – along with IBA Project Manager, Mayra Vazquez, and Member Relations Manager, Courtney Gant – spent the day in Tijuana to participate in the 90th Anniversary Celebration parade for CANACO (Camara de Comercio, Servicios y Turismo de Tijuana), an organization that promotes the growth of pioneering entrepreneurs in trade and tourism.

As a longstanding partner of CANACO, the Chamber was pleased to participate as the only business organization representing San Diego.

Desfile Canaco 5

Desfile Canaco 3

Desfile Canaco 1

For more photos, visit the Chamber’s photo album on Facebook.

San Ysidro Port of Entry Opens its New PedWest Facility

Ambassador Roberta Jacobson speaking at PedWest Opening Ceremony

Ambassador Roberta Jacobson speaking at PedWest Opening Ceremony

The new pedestrian processing facility at the San Ysidro Port of Entry officially opened its doors on July 15. Dubbed PedWest, the facility is part of an overall effort between Mexico and the United States to expand and modernize the entire San Ysidro facility.

Currently, with over 70,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians crossing its border every day, the San Ysidro Port of Entry represents the largest border crossing on the Western Hemisphere. Most of the trade between Mexico and the United States – which surpasses $1 billion every day – depends on the efficient movement of people and goods across this border. By overhauling the facility and cutting down border congestion and wait times, trade between businesses in the border region will improve, thus boosting the entire region’s economy.

While the Mexican side of the PedWest entrance has raised controversy due to its doubted safety, the Mexican federal government announced on July 27 its commitment to placing a permanent structure in September, which is earlier than their previous December completion date.

Related links:

Over 50 Business Leaders At Chamber’s First Cross-Border Business Forum

Cross-Border Business ForumOur inaugural Cross-Border Business Forum was a success with over 50 industry professionals and business leaders in attendance. As business owners in San Diego continue to expand their operations across the border – and vice versa – this meeting was an excellent opportunity for businesses to learn new trends in foreign investment and business development, make new connections, and lend their own business expertise with respect to cross-border commerce.

The event began with a panel moderated by Monica Montano (Director of Community Relations, Scripps Health) and featuring cross-border experts:

DSC_1364After our panelists reviewed the different projects and measures that their own teams are working on to improve cross-border commerce, our attendees participated in a lively Q&A discussion about investment trends and strategies for expansion.

A few takeaways from the discussion:

  • 85-90 percent of manufacturing business in Tijuana are U.S. companies (but most of those are not based in San Diego).
  • While the cost of housing in San Diego (and California) continues to skyrocket, there are plans to build affordable housing for San Diegans in Tijuana.
  • Tijuana has received 1.4 billion dollars in foreign direct investment, most of this has been directed to the manufacturing industry.
  • The City of Tijuana is working on digitizing business operations including allowing businesses to process permits online, and encouraging small businesses to allow debit/credit card use (instead of cash-only) to accommodate foreign travelers.
  • Although Mexican labor is more expensive than typical outsource countries (Vietnam, for example), its proximity to the United States gives it a competitive advantage for investment.

DSC_1367Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to making this a successful event! Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 26, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. at the Club de Empresarios Tijuana.

Details to follow soon.

Click here to view the event’s photo album on Facebook.

Business Leader Spotlight: Ryan Sisson, CEO of Moniker Group

Ryan Sisson, CEO of Moniker Group

This week, we’re presenting a Business Leader Spotlight with Ryan Sisson, co-founder and CEO of Moniker Group, an uber-local firm that specializes in real estate, design and maker incubation. Moniker Group’s projects range anywhere from the popular Priority Public House in Leucadia to the new Moniker General retail space at Point Loma’s Liberty Station.

A native of San Diego’s Imperial Beach neighborhood, Ryan enjoys volleyball, snowboarding, and – of course – surfing. Read what he had to say below:

So, Ryan – what things are you most excited about for Moniker Group this year?

I think I’m most excited about two things – first, we just opened our first retail/third space concept. We call it Moniker General and it’s a retail store featuring Southern California inspired lifestyle goods including some really talented brands from here in San Diego.

moniker generalWe’re also able to share our new furniture line, Moniker Made and have a full coffee shop and a tap from  a local brewery. So, technically it’s our first tap room, coffee shop and retail space.

The other thing I’m excited about is setting the company up for scale. Right now we are six different brands all focused in different areas although complimentary to each other. Moniker has been around for seven years but this year we get to put the final pieces in the foundation of the company and start really building something special.

ryansissonWow, that sounds really cool! So, being a business owner yourself, what do you see for the future of San Diego’s business community?

I see a lot of collaboration. Actually, this is my favorite part about being in the business environment in our city. I feel like we use competition to fuel us, not separate us. I also feel like we have a lot of cheerleaders pushing each other to be best at what we’ve created. The reality is that there are 7 billion people in this world therefore plenty of space for all our ideas to exist. I see San Diego as not just being a place to build a successful business but do so as you are supported, helped and cheered on by your peers. Maybe we change the city slogan to “a rising tide lifts all ships.”

Rising tide – I like that! Well, since San Diego is such a supportive space for business leaders, do you have any advice for young professionals that want to be in your shoes one day?

I think the most important thing I can think of is patience. Just be patient. Give your vision time to run its course, be tested, work through a process. Even the most successful businesses didn’t happen overnight.

moniker 2Like I said before, I’ve been working on Moniker for seven years. Last December, I got my first paycheck! In that process we built a company that had a small full-time staff, but that is because it was more valuable to have people working for the company than me. I did it on the side as a passion project while the company took time to learn, mature and gain ground financially. Only then did I step out and do it full-time.

Things get better with age and so let your company get there before you let it go, pass judgement or move on to something else. Patience is everything and those that are willing to wait for the reward are likely to actually get it.

moniker 3Seven years without a paycheck?! That’s some determination! Now, tell us – what book is currently sitting on your night stand?

Well, I tend to be one of those people that reads half of a lot of books. Because of that I have Launch by Jeff Walker, It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin, Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Onward by Howard Schulz.

Every once in a while I find a book that I can’t put down which is the case with Shoe Dog by Phil Knight the Founder of Nike. Just finished that one and it was amazing.

And, in an alternate universe – what would your profession be?

That’s a great question. I started off school doing Mechanical Engineering so I would probably be doing that in the automotive space designing cars.

Nice! And, finally – name one famous person you’d take out to dinner, past or present.

I’d really like to take out Richard Branson. His business model with Virgin Group inspired our most recent direction in how we’ve structured Moniker Group.

Special thanks to Ryan for taking the time to speak with us! Be sure to check out Moniker Group’s amazing photos on Instagram or reach out to their team via Facebook.


San Diego Young Leaders Explore City’s Housing Crisis

San Diego Young Leaders Housing MeetingThe Chamber’s San Diego Young Leaders (SDYL) held a joint meeting with the Building Industry Association’s y|Gen group to discuss San Diego’s housing crisis and its impact on the city’s economy and workforce. While y|Gen specifically focuses on fostering professional growth in the home building industry, SDYL takes a general approach, allowing its members to learn various aspects of San Diego’s largest industries and how challenges within one affect business overall.

The meeting was an excellent opportunity for participants to form new relationships while learning about the housing crisis from a panel of experts:

  • Randy Goodson, CEO of Accretive Investments, Inc. and Lilac Hills representative,
  • Phil Rath, Principal at Rath Miller, LLC,
  • Russ Vallone of MarketPointe Realty Advisors, and
  • Marcela Escobar-Eck, Principal at Atlantis Group.

SDYL’s next meeting and mixer will be Wednesday, August 31 at the San Diego Zoo. San Diego Zoo Global’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Tim Mulligan, will deliver a special presentation on leadership and workplace resiliency.

For more information on SDYL’s next event, click here.

Chamber Members Talk Renewable Energy

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 6.09.28 PMThe Chamber hosted a successful Renewable Energy Integration Summit with approximately 50 business owners and industry professionals.

As the State of California continues to lead the nation in its aggressive advancement of clean energy, the Summit was an excellent moment for solar business owners, energy consultants and energy service providers – including San Diego’s largest energy utility, SDG&E –  to discuss strategies for achieving the required reduction of greenhouse gases as set by AB 32.

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James Newcomb, Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute

The summit began with a panel featuring renewable energy experts:

Following the panel presentations, summit attendees dove into the different energy opportunities and challenges faced at the regional, state, national and global level.

Get Involved

The Chamber’s Energy & Water Committee meets regularly to discuss how San Diego’s business community can effectively advocate for essential, cost-effective energy infrastructure. For more information or to get involved, please contact us by using the form below.

Member Spotlight: FASTSIGNS® of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd.

Fastsigns 1Looking for more ways to get your message out? FASTSIGNS® of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd. is your go-to marketing and visual communications partner.

Whether you need to get your location noticed, increase the sale of your product or service, get more people to your events, increase enrollment, help people find their way around your facility, explain a program or policy, brand your environment, protect your employees and visitors – or tell your story in any other way – FASTSIGNS of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd. can help. Our sign and visual graphics experts listen to your goals and then determine the most effective solution.

FASTSIGNS of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd. helps you standout in your competitive market and get your message across using comprehensive visual communications solutions including wall, window and floor graphics, architectural signs, banners, trade show displays, promotional products, ADA-compliant signs, wayfinding solutions, digital signage and content, vehicle wraps, interior décor graphics and more.

Shane Beard, FASTSIGNS® Owner

Shane Beard, FASTSIGNS® Owner

After owning and operating multiple successful FASTSIGNS centers in the Chicago area for over 20 years, franchisee Shane Beard relocated to San Diego and purchased the FASTSIGNS location on Mesa Mira Blvd. The center is located near the I-15 at 9829 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92131, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

As a San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce member, FASTSIGNS of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd. is offering an exclusive members-only discount. Members can receive a 15% discount on orders up to $1,500. This discount is only valid on orders produced in-house. Must mention coupon at time of ordering. Not valid with other offers.

The next time you are seeking a sign, graphics and visual communications provider, contact FASTSIGNS of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd. For more information, call 858-693-7446 or email Shane Beard at

FASTSIGNS® of San Diego – Mira Mesa Blvd.
9829 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 693-7446

County Business Outlook Sinks to Lowest Point Yet

The following content is from the July edition of the Business Forecast newsletter, sponsored by Silvergate Bank. To get these updates directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Annual Measure of Business Climate and Those Considering a Move from the County Remains Stable

Confidence among San Diego County businesses in this month’s Silvergate Bank-sponsored Business Forecast has fallen to a new low. Inconsistent since the beginning of the year, San Diego County’s Business Outlook Index (BOI) is now at 15.7, down from 21.3 last month. While this is the lowest point the Index has hit since it began nearly three years ago, the business community’s outlook is still in somewhat positive territory because the BOI ranges from -100 to +100, with zero being neutral.


BOI Index Chart

The downturn revolves around deteriorating confidence in the number of hours employers will be offering their workers, as well as business conditions within each industry. Only one-quarter of businesses say they’ll need employees to work more during the next three months — that’s down from 32 percent in the prior quarter. Additionally, only 39 percent report business conditions in their industry are improving — that figure averaged 51 percent in the previous three months.

(click for larger image)

(click for larger image)

There is a geographic component to the trend. Businesses outside the City of San Diego went from a BOI in the previous quarter of 22 to 14 in June. East County’s outlook has worsened in the past month, dropping into negative territory, from 24 to -29. When it comes to employment, 42 percent in the East County see their firms letting workers go and none in our survey are likely to add employees. Also contributing to East County’s poor outlook is the fact that businesses located there are more likely to sense a loss of revenue approaching, predict they’ll need fewer hours from current employees, and that revenue will decline.

The minimum wage increase remains the top challenge for businesses, with 10 percent saying it is their major hurdle – up from 9 percent last month. Other government-related issues make up a majority of the challenges as a total of 24 percent say their main new challenge is coming from government. These concerns weigh on business confidence; those with government-related issues tend to be much less optimistic than those with more “normal” challenges.

Each year in June the Forecast measures the business friendliness of local government and also whether firms are considering moving out of the county. The survey found that not much has changed since last year. Most businesses see their local government as being overall friendly to commerce, and the percentage of businesses considering a move out stands at 13 percent.


Business Forecast: Government Friendliness and Business Relocation

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The key predictors of whether a firm is looking elsewhere relate to the business environment. Those who feel conditions in their industry are deteriorating are far more likely to be looking to move. But we also find that if businesses see their local government as less than friendly – regardless of what they think of industry conditions – the exit door is more inviting.

While most businesses throughout the county see their local government as being overall friendly to commerce, that answer depends on whether their particular business faces challenges and the nature of those challenges. Most of those who say minimum wage increases are a big issue see government as unfriendly and 32 percent characterize government’s disposition as very unfriendly. On the other side are those who report no challenges and, as one might suspect, an overwhelming percentage of them feel government gives the business community a fair shake.

Size of business also plays a role in perceived friendliness of local government. Surprisingly, larger firms are more likely to sense government’s cold shoulder. Fewer than one-in-five micro firms (those with a single employee) see local government as unfriendly, but more than one-third of companies with over ten employees get that impression.

When asked about moving operations out of San Diego, this year’s survey finds that 87 percent of San Diego County business people are not considering moving out of the area. While that percentage is less than last year’s 93 percent, it is not enough to conclude that more firms now want to leave. However, it is clear that business retention has not moved in the right direction.

Business size also plays a role here with smaller companies more apt to be looking to leave. Firms not considering leaving the county employ 88 workers, on average. On the other hand, those contemplating the idea average only 32 employees and those seriously considering relocation tend to be much smaller than that. Therefore, the net effect of firm movement on employment would be limited.

Region’s Housing Crisis Becomes Economic Crisis

For several years our region’s leaders have researched, discussed and debated the shortage of available housing for the growing population. A new study released by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and authored by Gary London of The London Group finds that the shortage has become an impending economic crisis as well.

The housing crisis has already caused decreased housing affordability, longer commutes, greater congestion, and increasing employee and employer dissatisfaction. In this new study it is noted that the apparent inability to reconcile housing supply and demand is likely to fuel an unprecedented economic challenge for the region, as employers are weighed down by the plight of their employees who are unable to find or afford their preferred housing type.

The study finds that the region’s planners have effectively embarked on a 38-year experiment. They are essentially “betting” that the growth in our workforce and their families will be overwhelmingly willing to be accommodated with a new supply of multifamily housing, while there is a virtual elimination of new single-family housing projects. Losing this bet would mean irreversible consequences. In fact, the report details compelling reasons that suggest this supposition regarding housing preferences and willingness to live in multifamily housing is incorrect.

Without substantial action to correct the region’s housing crisis, the shortage will worsen well into the foreseeable future. The result will be a continuation of higher housing costs, both for-sale and rental, fostered by an inability to bring to market new housing units of any type. A lack of action will lead to demand perpetually outpacing supply. The housing shortage is a regional problem that impacts everyone.

For the full study, click here.