News & Updates

Member Spotlight: Next Level Sailing

What’s NEXT for Next Level Sailing?

Since its inception in 2003, Next Level Sailing has significantly raised the authenticity and excitement of on-the-water leisure activities in San Diego. NLS introduced the first US Coast Guard inspected carbon fiber racing vessels that allowed guests for the first time in history to experience modern yachts that actually competed for the oldest international trophy in sports, The America’s Cup. Tens of thousands of locals and visitors have since sailed and raced on the famous America’s Cup racing vessels, USA Stars & Stripes and Abracadabra.

In 2005 we purchased the most “Iconic” sailing yacht in the World, Yacht America, 139 ft. long with 100 ft. masts, the world’s only authentic reproduction, captivating the sailing world by her mere presence. We brought her to San Diego from Florida. We continued to sail outside the San Diego Bay and pushed our commitment to authenticity with “whale watching” on board America, creating expanded special events, movies, weddings and charters, from all over the Globe. Since America’s arrival here, she has been experienced by over 125,000 visitors.


From racing to marine education and conservation, NLS embodies life on our beautiful Pacific Coast. We are famous for whale watching, including a whale watching guarantee! For over ten years, we have been sharing this special experience with guests.

Did you know that San Diego is the best place in the world to see whales?

The winter and spring months bring gray whales as they make one of the longest mammal migrations as they travel from Alaska to Baja and back. Summer and fall are equally vibrant as we have blue whales that come to San Diego to feed on krill. These magnificent creatures are the largest animals ever on our planet! Although difficult to see in other places in the world, the blue whales are here in our backyard. Also, gray whales and blue whales, we also see fin, minke, humpback, pilot, sperm, orcas, and dolphins!

We love San Diego, so we created exciting programming to reflect its life style.

Our America Tour is the only naval architecture tour that discusses the new technology right here in our San Diego Bay. As we sail around our 13-mile bay, guests can get the best views of our nation’s naval installations. An estimated 40% of the nation’s naval assets are here in San Diego, and the best way to see it is from the water.

Did you ever watch a movie on a 100 ft. sail? We offer movie nights on the water. Paired with a sunset cruise, you can snuggle up with your date and watch, sailing the bay. The San Diego skyline is a gorgeous backdrop for evening.

We look forward to seeing you out on the water very soon!

Troy Sears (CEO/Captain)
Fathom Neft (Sales Rep/First Mate)
Next Level Sailing ; Phone: 858-922-3522


UNICON: Creative Industry Trade Mission to Nigeria

An exhibition of the African creative industry demonstrating the power, reach and profitability of African content will kick off in Nigeria on November 17 in partnership with the U.S. embassy of Nigeria. Dubbed “UNICON,” the exhibit will provide content creators with access to global consumers and stakeholders over two days of immersive engagements in animation, comics, African stories, video games, AR/VR, and graphic arts.

With 50 exhibitors, over 3,000 festival attendees, and local and international guests, delegates include Vault Comics, IDW Publishing, Lionheart Comics, 2CPR Group (education systems consultant) and author Tomi Adeyemi. Hosted by IBM Nigeria, the program comprises industry business case presentations, creative industry legal framework overview, and an international stakeholder panel discussion.

An industry fact sheet is available here. For event details, please visit UNICON’s website.

San Diego Padres Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Weekend

San Diego Padres celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and the anniversary of various Latin American countries from September 14 to 16. The three-day celebration included Fiesta in the Park, Hispanic Heritage Night, and Mexican Independence Day featuring different experiences and activities each day. Chamber Vice President of International Business Affairs, Paola Avila, was selected to throw the Ceremonial First Pitch as part of the pregame ceremonies for the Padres game that Friday.

The following day, Ambassador Marcela Celorio led the traditional “grito” (a traditional Mexican interjection of joy or excitement) to celebrate the 208th anniversary of the Mexican Independence for the first time from Petco Park, and welcomed the Honor Guard from Escuela Preparatoria Federal Lazaro Cardenas from Tijuana. Ambassador Celorio threw the Ceremonial First Pitch prior to Saturday’s game.

Mexican Independence Celebration at UCSD

On September 18th, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego celebrated the 208th anniversary of the Mexican Independence at the Institute of the Americas, University of California San Diego. The Chamber joined as a sponsor of this event, and is proud to work with Ambassador Marcela Celorio to strengthen the U.S.-Mexico relationship and advance cross border policy and items.

During the celebration, Ambassador Celorio presented Andy Carey, Executive Director from the Border Philanthropy Partnership with the Ohtli Award, which recognizes Mexican citizens working in the United States and other countries who provide assistance to fellow Mexican citizens and/or promote their culture.

Border Mayors Association Summit in San Antonio, TX

The U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association was founded in 2011 to generate a strong advocacy voice for the binational metropolitan areas along the U.S.-Mexico border and their residents. Chamber President Jerry Sanders, then Mayor of San Diego, was one of the founders.

On September 21, over 25 Mayors from border cities along the U.S. – Mexico border gathered for the Border Mayors Association Binational Summit 2018 hosted in San Antonio, Texas. During the summit, the coalition of border mayors, including co-chairs Mayor Faulconer from the City of San Diego, and Mayor Gastelum from the City of Tijuana, signed two resolutions reaffirming their commitment to support international trade and funding for border infrastructure projects. With this resolution, the Border Mayors Association urged federal leaders to restore funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program in next fiscal year’s budget.

“Together we can strengthen social and economic development for our region, especially on issues of border security and infrastructure as this benefits citizens on both sides of the border” stated Mayor Gastelum.

“By working together, this group of mayors plays a critical role in building bridges between our two countries and showing how collaboration can lead to economic prosperity for the border region,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Jerry Sanders Receives International Tourism Merit Award

Chamber President Jerry Sanders was honored with the International Tourism Merit Award from Tijuana’s Tourism and Convention Council (COTUCO). The award was presented by the Secretary of Economic Development of the City of Tijuana, Bernabe Esquer, who commended Jerry on his continued commitment to cross-border collaboration for the benefit of communities on both sides of the border. In his acceptance remarks, Jerry looked back at his strong relationship with the City of Tijuana during his time as Mayor of San Diego and currently as President of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He expressed his gratitude to the different agencies across the region that have worked together to promote the Cali-Baja region.

The event took place on the evening of International Tourism Day at Tijuana’s Art and Culture House, one of Tijuana’s most emblematic buildings. COTUCO’s President, Francisco Villegas, highlighted that the Tourism Merit Awards recognize individuals who have played key roles in promoting our region’s tourism and significantly contributed to the development of our binational economy.

Policy Committee Members Tour Homeless Tent “Sprung Structure”

Members of the Chamber’s Policy Committees toured the East Village “Sprung Structure” on October 9th. The facility is operated by Father Joe’s Village and serves 140 individuals including single women and families. The Father Joe’s East Village Campus is only a temporary location for the structure. A permanent housing project will break ground on that very site next year. The industrial tent is one of three in the City intending to offer temporary accommodations to homeless people who would otherwise be on the streets as they work to transition to permanent housing.

Chamber Meets with Tijuana’s Economic Development Council (CDT)

Jerry and staff met with Tijuana’s Economic Development Council’s new leadership, to discuss our organizations’ continue collaboration and strong partnership. CDT is a nonprofit organization that combines the voices of the State Government, City of Tijuana and business community in an effort to plan and implement long-term projects in Tijuana to increase economic and social development in the region. The City of Tijuana’s Strategic Plan includes nearly 300 infrastructure, economic development, and socio-cultural projects.

A second meeting will take place to discuss projects and partnership opportunities for CDT and the Chamber to work together on in the future.

Chamber Welcomes the REAL Coalition for Annual CEO Meeting

A proud member of the REAL Coalition, the Chamber was glad to host the annual CEO Meeting for the coalition in our offices, where we heard from Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, and Assemblymember Todd Gloria. The REAL Coalition, made up of large economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, has prioritized housing, economic competitiveness and infrastructure funding in the coming year, and met to brainstorm the best ways to advocate effectively on these issues.


A new trade agreement for North America has been reached. The Chamber has worked to emphasize the importance of reaching an agreement that preserves the trilateral nature of the North American trading block, a fundamental component of NAFTA.

Announced September 30, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) modernizes and improves several chapters from the original NAFTA while integrating new chapters to reflect industry needs and the changing economy. New chapters address small and medium sized businesses, energy, intellectual property, digital trade, and financial services, amongst others. USMCA contains stronger labor and environmental regulations than previous and existing agreements and a customs and trade facilitation chapter which reduces inefficiencies in customs processing, moves toward automation and electronic submissions by codifying enhancements made in recent years such as Unified Cargo Processing. This further reduces barriers to trade, a burden which San Diego bares as the host of the busiest land border crossing in the western hemisphere. Reducing these barriers are as effective as eliminating tariffs.

Another chapter of importance to the San Diego region is Chapter 16 which maintains the TN Visa. This is an important tool for regions like ours to attract and retain entrepreneurs and a growing workforce.

It is worth noting that consensus was reached on some of the more controversial issues including the sunset clause which calls for a review of the agreement in six years. In addition, the dispute resolution chapter remains intact. Unfortunately, steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Mexico and Canada continue to be in effect. It is critically important to end these tariffs on imports from our top trading partners and fully restore our cross border partnerships and collaboration.

During the Chamber’s delegation trip to Washington D.C., USMCA was described across agencies as a model for future trade agreements and an “anchor” for the trilateral relationship. The signing of the agreement is expected to take place on November 30th after which formal analysis, reports and draft legislation are issued. The legislative branches of the three countries will then consider approval of the agreement which is needed prior to official ratification and implementation.

The Chamber and partner organizations will be hosting informational forums. Please contact Kenia Zamarripa for more information.