News & Updates

Chamber Attends Tijuana Economic Development Committee Transition Meeting

Chamber Staff attended the final meeting of the City of Tijuana’s Economic Development Committee, chaired by Councilmember Hector Riveros with participation by incoming councilmembers. The closer ties and collaborative work with San Diego – including its business organizations – were among his highlighted achievements.

Councilmember Riveros, together with San Diego Councilmember Kersey and Council President Lightner, led the first-ever San Diego-Tijuana joint committee meeting.

Business Leader Spotlight: Marvin J. Malecha

NewSchool President & Chief Academic Officer, Marvin Malecha

NewSchool President & Chief Academic Officer, Marvin Malecha

This week, we’re excited to present a business leaders spotlight from Marvin J. Malecha, the President and Chief Academic Officer of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, which is a globally-recognized and awarded architecture and design school in the heart of San Diego’s East Village neighborhood.

Throughout his career, President Malecha has received numerous accolades and awards, including the James Haecker Distinguished Leadership Award for Architectural Research (2007), William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban Planning (2008), the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education (2003), and was one of seven recognized Architectural Educators of the Year Award (2006) from Design Intelligence Magazine.

President Malecha believes that education and practice lie along the same continuum in life and has encouraged others to find the connections between them.

Read what President Malecha had to say below:

What are you most excited about for NewSchool this year?

newschool-5NewSchool is embarking on the path of a more diverse definition of design and design thinking. It is an exciting moment as we organize ourselves to more clearly establish design thinking as the most important strategy for the future of the San Diego region.

Toward this end we are diversifying our programs, recruiting an even more diverse student and faculty community and considering the reshaping of curricular options to include hybrid models of learning.

From your experience, what do you see for the future of San Diego business?

newschool-1San Diego is evolving into one of the important creative business communities in the United States. The combination of universities, a large military presence, and a growing corporate research culture makes this evolution unstoppable.

How this culture is served will be entirely dependent on the embrace of design thought strategies. This is why the location of NewSchool at the center of the development of this culture is so very pertinent to the future of design education.

Any advice for young professionals who want to be in your shoes one day?

newschool-2My advice for young professionals is to first, go from a professional education to practice. Those who go from being a student to being a teacher without an intervening experience have not truly tested themselves. Only after three to five years of practice should the individual pursue an advanced degree.

The combination of practice and advanced academic work provide a base from which to proceed. This will allow the individual to determine their strengths in the areas of advance research or advanced application. Either is important to a life in academics.

Once on the faculty, an individual must be assured that every stage of a career is being addressed. This includes serving on committees and meeting the rigors of tenure demanding publication and creative achievement. It is impossible to properly administer promotion and tenure decisions without having been though the experience personally.

newschool-4To rise to a senior administrative opportunity, it is once again important to build a career in stages, meaning that the individual should have served as a program chair, dean or associate dean. It is critical that during this time the individual become familiar with budget and personnel leadership. The perspective of these positions provides the maturity to lead on a greater scale.

Great advice! Now, name at least one book that is currently on your night stand:

  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, Charles C. Mann
  • A New Look at Humanism in Architecture and Urban Design, Robert Lamb Hart
  • The Innovators, Walter Isaacson
  • Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull

In a parallel universe, what career would you be in?

I am certain that the inclination to be on a continual learning path would guide my choice. I am also certain that design would have something to do with this parallel path. As much as I care for architecture, I assume that would also emerge. However, I can also see myself in a startup investigating entirely new products and services.

As much as I care for architecture, I assume that would also emerge. However, I can also see myself in a startup investigating entirely new products and services.

Which famous person would you like to take out for coffee, past or present?

Thomas Jefferson. His curiosity seems boundless. His willing spirit led him on a path of exploration that reached from the design of roof structures for a storage shed on the prairie, to the design of Montecello, to the design of a nation. He was the great champion of the rights of man, yet, he is complexity and contradiction.

A special thank you goes to Marvin Malecha for taking the time to sit with the Chamber team and answer our questions! Do you know a Chamber member with a great story to tell? Nominate them for a business leader spotlight by emailing

Member Spotlight: Avanti Workplace

avanti3Avanti Workspace is a boutique workspace company that is changing the way small companies do business by building a connected community that offers flexibility, a collaborative environment, and a host of luxurious amenities that will make it hard to leave.

They are opening a new location, conveniently located in Carlsbad along Palomar Airport Road with quick access to I-5 and El Camino Real. The new Carlsbad space opened October 3rd, 2016.

avanti1We are building a community of collaboration and support for entrepreneurs and other independent professionals. Avanti provides not only premium work space that make it easier to achieve work/life balance without leaving the site, but also opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals and businesses.”

Avanti provides an all-inclusive workspace with comprehensive amenities including on-site gym and shower facilities, dry cleaning delivery, on-site market, Xbox/PS4 game room, acupuncture/massage, receptionist, kitchen access, 24/7 access, mailboxes, state-of-the-art furniture, secure storage, mobile car wash services, complimentary coffee and tea, a café where members can purchase healthy food items for breakfast, lunch and snacks, a lounge and event spaces.

Convenient access to a wide range of amenities allows our members to experience boutique concierge-like service in a business setting. We also provide opportunities for members to interact in a variety of situations, creating a positive environment for collaboration.

avanti2The 22,000-square-foot state-of-the-art custom-designed facilities will offer a mix of virtual offices, co-working space, meeting rooms, dedicated desks, private offices, and ready rent offices, in addition to event space. The Avanti co-working model offers a flexibility and scalability for co-working along with reasonable pricing that adapts as business needs change. When a company needs to add employees, Avanti makes it easy to do by offering configurations for 5 – 50 employees.

Avanti Workspace offers a number of tools and resources to help entrepreneurs connect with the right people to grow their business. Offering a deluxe workspace environment designed to meet the varying needs of small businesses, Avanti is changing the way people live, work and play.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit our website at

Denice Garcia Receives “Bridge Builder” Award

15138570_1590117394347971_5804323040344150710_oThe Chamber hosted its fourth Legislative Lounge to honor San Diego’s elected officials and their staff. For the first time, we awarded the “Bridge Builder” award for strengthening the relationship between San Diego and Baja California and solving issues critical to our region.

This year’s first recipient was Denice Garcia, Director of Binational Affairs for Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

For the full event recap, read the Chamber’s Legislative Lounge press release.

North American Competitiveness Group Presents New Findings and Recommendations

Chamber VP Paola Avila attended a meeting for the North American Competitiveness Working Group, an initiative of the George W. Bush Institute which seeks to integrate the economies of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

The group presented four recommendations to President Bush:

  1. Creation of a Border Infrastructure Bank,
  2. Modifications to the presidential permitting process,
  3. Expanding work in Mexico’s Energy sector, and
  4. Enhancing binational workforce development efforts with dual certification and international recognition.

The group’s presentation of new findings included a scorecard ranking North America’s performance in key areas including innovation, openness to trade and good governance with respect to other major countries and trade groupings.

View the interactive scorecard here.

Business Forecast: County Business Outlook Drops to New Low

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

Business Forecast Highlights:
  • Long-term decline extends into 2017
  • Recent loss of confidence is due to less optimistic outlook for hiring
  • Hospitality/restaurants, along with transportation/automotive are now pessimistic
  • Mixed results on how effective corporate social responsibility efforts are at employee retention
  • Most see businesses in their industry frequently engaged in CSR

Business community frequently engaged in corporate social responsibility, but mixed on employee retention effectiveness

Continuing a trend that extends back over a year to mid-2015, San Diego County’s Business Outlook Index (BOI), which reflects how the business community assesses the coming three months, took a big 7.5 point drop to 9.3. This is the lowest point since the survey began in August 2013 and the first time the Index has dipped into single digits.

While optimism has been sliding in all of the BOI’s components since the middle of last year, the main factor driving the current downturn is a less optimistic outlook for hiring. Only 16 percent now say they will add employees; that metric has never been below 25 percent before. The good news is that while hiring forecasts are low, not many firms are predicting they’ll shed jobs. Only 7 percent are looking to cut back their workforce, and that’s not a high. The outlook for workforce hours is also down, slipping to the point where only 14 percent believe they will increase hours versus 11 percent who will be cutting them.

Revenue projections have also taken a dip. There’s still more optimism than pessimism, but now just 35 percent think revenue will increase (a new low) while 14 percent anticipate a decrease (a new high). The business community also doesn’t like the looks of general conditions on the horizon. Just 32 percent say they’ll improve; 39 percent was the previous low set two months ago. This doesn’t register as pessimism, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the future out there.

The hospitality and transportation industries are once again in negative territory this month. The transportation sector mostly sees problems with revenue ahead, with half predicting theirs will fall. For the hospitality industry, the problems are a bleak hiring outlook, a tightening of work hours, and constrained revenue.

By company size, medium-sized businesses have taken a big hit this month, posting a 23-point drop in their outlook. More medium-sized businesses also anticipate cutting back on workers rather than adding them. On the flip side, large employers have held strong and are immune to the hiring freeze and small firms are also holding steady.

This month, we asked respondents their thoughts on corporate social responsibility efforts. This refers to business practices that benefit society, such as environmental efforts, philanthropy, youth and community programs and volunteering, rather than business practices that directly benefit the company. Overall, respondents were split on whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts are effective in increasing employee retention. While 45 percent of the business community gave this a thumbs up, 44 percent were skeptical, including 22 percent who flatly denied CSR efforts lead to more retention.

Interestingly, a large amount of what business owners think about CSR programs and their effectiveness as a way to retain workers comes down to where the businesses are located. Those along the coast are enthusiastic about CSR, while business people in the county’s north inland suburbs take the opposite viewpoint. The rest of the county expresses mixed views.

Company size also plays a role in perceived effectiveness of CSR efforts, however, the relationship is not as strong as one might expect. Larger firms (those with more than 50 employees) tend to see CSR efforts as effective with 27 percent saying they are a great way to retain employees, and another 30 percent saying they are at least somewhat effective. As to be expected, micro firms with only one employee are more often unsure or very skeptical of CSR efforts, but even firms with 2 to 49 employees are split on them.

Despite the mixed results on how effective CSR efforts are at retaining employees, most say companies in their industry engage in them frequently. Only about one in six rarely or never engage in these sorts of efforts.

The main factor here is how large the company is. Not surprisingly, those with larger companies say businesses in their industry engage in CSR more often than those with small companies, and 35 percent of those with more than 100 employees say it happens “all the time.” Those with 50 to 100 employees are also quite active, with more than three-quarters saying CSR activities are at least frequent. Mid- and small-sized companies take it down a notch from the larger companies, and among micro firms with only one person nearly 40 percent say the businesses in their industries rarely or never engaging in CSR efforts.

Whether or not a business person believes CSR efforts are good for employee retention factors in to whether they see those efforts actually being used. Slightly more than half those who think they are great for retaining employees see CSR efforts in their industry all the time whereas fewer than 10 percent rarely experience them.

About the Business Forecast
The San Diego County Business Forecast, sponsored by Silvergate Bank, is a scientific look at where our region’s economy is headed. The survey for this month’s installment was fielded October 16-31, 2016 by Competitive Edge Research & Communication using responses from 203 randomly selected members of the San Diego, East County, Alpine, Escondido, Lakeside, Vista, Santee, Encinitas and National City Chambers of Commerce. One-third of the members were invited to complete the survey online. Those members who initially did not respond were invited to complete the survey over the phone.

The Business Outlook IndexTM (BOI) is comprised of four self-reported assessments regarding the next three months: Will a respondent’s business increase or decrease its number of employees, experience an increase or a decrease in revenue, increase or decrease the number of hours its employees work, and experience an improvement or a worsening of business conditions.

For each assessment, definite and positive responses are scored 100, probable and positive responses are scored 50, neutral responses are scored 0, probable and negative responses are scored -50 and definite and negative responses are scored -100. The scores are summed and divided by 4 to get a range for the BOI of -100 to +100, with zero being a neutral outlook. Visit to see past Business Forecasts.

Port Commissioners Approve Waterfront Redevelopment Project

On Tuesday, November 8 the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners received an update and unanimously approved to move forward with Protea Development’s Seaport San Diego and officially end the Central Embarcadero RFP process. Negotiations with Port staff will continue to proceed. The Chamber officially supported the proposal at the September Board of Directors meeting.

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Now Hiring: Customs and Border Protection Officers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is hiring CBP Officers to work for one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest agencies. CBP’s priority mission is protecting our nation’s borders by keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States.

CBP Officers work in a fast-paced environment at more than 300 ports of entry located at international airports, seaports and land borders throughout the United States. Using state-of-the-art technology and training, these frontline officers deter illegal entry to our country, intercept contraband, and interdict agricultural pests and potential diseases.

Key requirements:

  • Candidates must be referred for selection prior to their 37th birthday (waiver for qualified veterans)
  • Be a U.S. citizen and a resident for the past three years
  • Have a valid state driver’s license
  • Pass a written exam, medical exam, physical fitness tests, video-based test and drug test — more than 600 testing locations offered nationwide

More information:

Member Spotlight: NewSchool of Architecture & Design

newschool-logoLocated in the heart of San Diego’s innovative design district, NewSchool of Architecture & Design is a globally recognized and awarded design university, well-known for its forward-thinking professors, an inspiring campus community, top industry connections and collaboration opportunities with institutions around the world.

newschool-1Our students are innovative designers who are passionate about pursuing careers in the fields of design, architecture and construction management. Those who attend NewSchool will be provided the foundation and tools necessary to grow and succeed as a designer, beginning on the very first day of class. At NewSchool, our faculty and students have the dedication and drive to achieve great things in their education, local communities and in their careers. Our students have won numerous local, regional and national competitions, including a recent National ADDY advertising Award, a Special Mention from Architizer and a first place award in the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Design/Build competition.

newschool-4At NewSchool, and in architecture and design, we believe that in order to be visionary about the way we live, move, and work, that we must provide access to a design culture that includes a complementary mix of local, international and global influences all at the same time. Providing our students and faculty with a diverse learning environment – both in student body and academically through real-life projects with a strong portfolio of partners – provides our students with the opportunity to observe the behaviors that encourage us, as architects and designers, to truly be innovative. In 2015, NewSchool welcomed more than 100 international students from 26 countries including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Kingdom. We also strive to provide students the ability to experience a truly global classroom environment with study abroad programs, cross-location collaborations, flexible online learning and renowned guest lecturers from around the world.

newschool-5NewSchool of Architecture & Design is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission and the Bachelor and Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). As a member of the Laureate International Universities network, a global network of more than 70 campus-based and online universities in 25 countries,  our students are prepared to work in a global and diverse work environment through the school’s collaborations with sister institutions, including Domus Academy, a globally awarded and recognized top design institution in Milan, Italy.

newschool-2To learn more about NewSchool’s cutting edge architecture and design education, and for opportunities to partner with NewSchool, our faculty, students and alumni, please contact: Rachael Lighty at

Retaurant Owners Speak Out Against Ban on Take-Out Containers

On behalf of local restaurants in Encinitas, the Chamber spoke in opposition of the proposed foam take-out containers ban at a press conference held by the California Restaurant Association San Diego Chapter (CRA).

After careful consideration of the proposed legislation’s impact on family-owned restaurants and small businesses, the Chamber instead supports a more comprehensive recycling program that will quantifiably reduce waste and bring San Diego County closer to achieving its zero waste goals.

We believe the best way to move forward is to unite stakeholders to develop a policy which does not penalize small local businesses but – instead – benefits everyone. The Chamber encourages the Council to postpone their hearing on November 9 and sit down with the coalition to support an alternative approach, such as Renew Encinitas.

Related information: