News & Updates

Chamber Board Member Spotlight: Rick Bregman

We are thrilled to announce the Chamber’s new Chair of the Board, Rick Bregman, San Diego Market President for Bank of America. A native of San Diego, Rick brings a wealth of experience and passion for the San Diego community to the Chamber.

As Market President, he is responsible for coordinating all lines of business for Bank of America across San Diego, as well as delivering the bank’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts that include philanthropic giving of over $1 million and more than 18,000 hours of employee volunteerism in the region.  Rick also oversees Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Healthcare Banking practice across North America, which he manages out of San Diego.  Across the country, his teams work with clients in all sectors of the healthcare industry. This includes Research Institutions, Life Sciences, Biotech, Medical Device, Technology and Pharmaceutical companies, Healthcare Insurance companies and some of the most comprehensive Hospital and Health Systems.

Raising his family in Point Loma, his own hometown, Rick’s ties to the community run deep. He currently serves on the board of directors of BIOCOM and the National Conflict Resolution Center. He was also a member of the San Diego Chairman’s Competitiveness Council, an organization focused on maximizing the competitiveness of San Diego as an economic region. He has previously served on the boards of CONNECT, the Zoological Society of San Diego (Foundation), the YMCA of San Diego County and the United Way of San Diego.

We look forward to working with Rick to continue serving the San Diego business community.

Rick Bregman
San Diego Market President, Bank of America
National Co-Head GCB Healthcare Banking, Healthcare & Institutions
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

2019 Leadership Delegation to Sacramento Recap

On February 26 and 27 the Chamber led a delegation of 85 business, community, and civic leaders to the state capital to advocate for legislation that will benefit regional business and job creation during the Chamber’s annual Leadership Delegation to Sacramento. “With a new administration in Sacramento, comes a new political landscape and legislative priorities and San Diego is at the center of many of the key issues state leaders are tackling such as housing and homelessness and the border,” said Jerry Sanders Chamber President & CEO. “This trip brought the diverse expertise and first-hand knowledge of San Diego’s business community directly to elected officials so they could understand how their decisions impact local business.”

With a two-day agenda there were several great takeaways from our meetings:

  • Chief Deputy Director of Finance Vivek Viswanathan informed the group about an effort to add a California tax incentive to supplement the “Opportunity Zone” program created by the Federal Tax Reform in 2017.
  • Delegates heard from Mike Madrid, a political strategist with GrassRootsLab, about the trends towards hyper-partisanship within the U.S., California, and in San Diego, and how that impacts the business community’s effectiveness and ability to engage with consumers.
  • Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot discussed how we can better manage our natural resources to protect against wildfires and other threats.
  • In a panel discussion on housing, Brian Hanlon, Executive Director of California YIMBY, highlighted that it is policies like the costly development requirements adopted in San Francisco that result in ever-increasing rent and fewer housing opportunities for anyone other than the wealthy. It was encouraging to hear almost every speaker, regardless of their role, share our priority to create housing that our workforce can access. The awareness of the reality of the housing crisis is evident across the board.
  • And, the Chamber received kudos from Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis for our leadership on promoting trade across the Southern border and she also shared her support for a California trade office in Mexico, a project the Chamber has been championing.

For more details on the trip check out #SDinSAC on Twitter.

Kyocera Document Solutions Ribbon Cutting

Kyocera Document Solutions West offers an award-winning range of technology and integrated business process improvement solutions that work together seamlessly. From desktop printers and multifunctional printers to robust color and black & white multifunctional products and business applications; our solutions turn otherwise complex data and document workflows into simple, efficient processes.


Designed to empower and elevate women in the workplace, LEAD San Diego’s Advance program consists of seven monthly half-day sessions from May through November. In addition to providing tools to help women meet their career goal, Advance includes tailored coaching and mentorship.

Here’s what a few Advance graduates have to say about the program:

“Advance provided the opportunity to learn and ask about things I thought I was supposed to know, so I never asked about.”

“I learned to take the time to think about and develop a focused career path.”

“I loved meeting a diverse group of kind, smart, fun women who all want to help, support, and encourage each other.”

Advance applications will close April 5.



San Diego Young Leaders (SDYL), a program for 21- to 40-year-old professionals, has announced their new board as well as their calendar for 2019. We thank City of San Diego Councilmember Vivian Moreno (’16) for serving as 2019 Honorary Chair of the SDYL Board.

SDYL programs include a mix of professional development opportunities, with presentations from top leaders in San Diego and opportunities to learn about what drives the San Diego/Baja region, as well as networking.

The SDYL Board convened on February 13, and is scheduled to meet again on April 10, July 10, September 11 and November 13. Meetings of the SDYL general membership are planned to take place March 27, May 29, July 24 and October 23, with a holiday party in December on a date to be announced.

These meetings are open only to current SDYL members. To renew or check membership status, email Program Manager Kim Nguyen or call 619.544.1398.



Education, community investment, the border, supporting female entrepreneurs and combating gang violence.  These are some of the issues important in San Diego, and it’s where six leaders are making a meaningful difference that will last for years.

LEAD San Diego will honor those six individuals at its 17th Annual Visionary Awards, Southern California’s premier leadership recognition event, on Thursday, June 6 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

The Visionary Awards will draw up to 900 representatives from all sectors of the San Diego/Baja California mega-region. The event will celebrate the awardees’ contributions to the region’s growth and potential through their time, talent, and innovation.

The following individuals will be honored at the June 6 event:

Karen S. Haynes, President, California State University San Marcos
The Neil Morgan Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement   
Dr. Karen Haynes began her tenure as the third president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) in 2004. In 2016 she became the senior president in the 23-campus CSU system – the first woman ever in that role. She has served more than 30 years as an academic administrator. At CSUSM, Dr. Haynes has overseen advances in serving traditionally under-represented student populations and has also managed tremendous growth, including the construction of 10 new facilities, the addition of a Temecula campus, and the doubling of relevant new academic programs and career certificates.

Paul Hering (‘97), Chairman, West Region, Marsh & McLennan Agency
LEAD Graduate of the Year
Paul Hering is an insurance industry innovator and a San Diego civic leader with more than 36 years of business experience. He is responsible for setting strategy and managing Marsh & McLennan Agency’s operations in the western U.S. Hering is committed to giving back to the community, currently serving as Vice Chairman/Chair Elect of Rady Children’s Hospital, as well as on the boards of directors of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and the Timken Museum of Art. In addition, Hering is president of the Barney & Barney Foundation, which has provided grants to more than 80 nonprofits.

Felena Hanson, Founder, Hera Hub
& Silvia Mah, Founder & Executive Director, Hera Labs
Innovation & Economic Opportunity Award
Felena Hanson is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and business accelerator for female entrepreneurs. Hanson has three company-owned locations in San Diego and licensed locations in Phoenix, Washington D.C., Orange County and Sweden. Dr. Silvia Mah is executive director of Hera Labs, a Solana Beach-based business accelerator focused on assisting female-owned businesses. Last year, she and two partners launched Ad Astra Ventures, an accelerator for high-growth, female-led startups. Dr. Mah also organizes Hera Venture Summit, an annual intensive event to equip and connect female founders and female funders.

Bishop Cornelius Bowser, Co-Founder, Community Assistance Support Team
The Ronald Kendrick Memorial Award for Regional Collaboration
Bishop Cornelius Bowser’s personal journey includes a decade-long stretch as a gang member before he became a church minister. He is co-founder of Community Assistance Support Team (CAST), which was created after a City Heights neighborhood was rocked by a double homicide in 2012. The organization seeks to prevent gang-related violence, especially as it relates to guns. CAST volunteers work to find out what is really going on in neighborhoods impacted by gang violence. By knocking on doors and walking communities alongside law enforcement, CAST connects individuals with resources and support.

Jean Guerrero, Border Reporter, KPBS
The Charles Nathanson Memorial Award for Cross-Border Region Building
Jean Guerrero is an Emmy-winning investigative reporter at KPBS, focusing on border and immigration stories. Her coverage has included President Trump’s wall, family separations, deportations and the migrant caravans. Guerrero is the author of “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir” and winner of an Emerging Writers award from PEN America and FUSION. Previously, she reported about Latin America’s rural sector for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Her work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists, the San Diego Press Club and others.

The recipient of the 2019 Community Spotlight Award, which recognizes grassroots community leadership and comes out of the monthly 10News Leadership Awards, will be announced at the Visionary Awards on the evening of June 6.

Title Sponsor of the 2019 Visionary Awards is U.S. Bank. Other confirmed major supporters to date include Bank of America; Toft Group Executive Search; CBRE; Qualcomm; ABC 10News; and Moss Adams.

Registration for the Visionary Awards is now open.

Cross Border Business Forum: Trends in Trade and Tariffs

Earlier this month, the Chamber hosted a presentation and roundtable discussion with John G. Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Murphy provided an overview on where U.S. trade policy is headed and presented an early assessment of the revised trade agreement for North America. Nearly 3.6 billion in trade takes place daily between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, and 14 million jobs in the U.S. are supported by trade within North America. To view KUSI coverage of the forum, click here.

Highlights from the forum:

  • Recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum have increased production costs to auto manufacturers. Ford and GM state they are paying 1 billion more for these components which has wiped out the benefits they saw from tax reforms.
  • In addition to these tariffs, the U.S. is considering implementing new tariffs on automobile imports. This could increase the price a new car by $4,000.
  • Murphy outlined alternatives to the imposition of tariffs to accomplish U.S. goals including end the multi-front trade war, using U.S. trade remedies via the WTO, craft new trade agreements to raise standards. For example, USMCA contains the best provisions for digital trade, intellectual property protections as well as labor and environmental standards and could be used as a model for future agreements.

To review information about the impact of tariffs on the United States per state, click here.

To help USMCA move forward, sign up at and use the online tool to reach Congress.

USMCA Informational Forum in Tijuana

On January 29th, the Chamber partnered with Consejo Coordinador Empresarial in Tijuana to host an informational forum that provided an overview of the revised agreement and discussed the possible impacts on our binational region.

Moderated by Luis Hernandez, President of INDEX Tijuana, our panelists included Gustavo de Hoyos Walther, President of COPARMEX Mexico, Manuel Muñiz, Global Advisory Partner from Deloitte Tijuana, and Chamber Vice President of International Business Affairs, Paola Avila.

Avila shared that trade agreements help secure cross-border collaboration on important issues such as the environment, education, and public safety stating that, “our region understands how critical the bilateral relationship is for our economies and binational community to thrive.” De Hoyos highlighted that the agreement was reached thanks to the business sector that became engaged and provided valuable information and statistics on how they had leveraged NAFTA to grow. San Diego and Baja California alone created an integrated manufacturing supply chain worth 2.5 billion. Speakers agreed that trade agreements also provide certainty and predictability which are key for attracting foreign direct investment to our region.

Our Border is an Opportunity, Our Cross Border Relationships an Asset

As champions of our binational region, the Chamber works to promote the economic opportunity that the border provides through robust cross border collaboration and partnerships. As such, we take every opportunity to correct the misrepresentations of our region as they could damage our economy and global competitiveness.

  • San Diego has always been among the list of safest large cities in the country.
  • The best investment we can make to improve border efficiency and safety is in technology, staffing and cross-border partnerships. We rely on bridges to connect us with Mexico, our closest neighbor and top export market.
  • NAFTA has propelled our region’s profile as an important gateway for global commerce. And the revised trade agreement, USMCA, is critical to maintaining our trilateral trading block and access to foreign markets.
  • The trade war has had a negative impact on our local economy. Tariffs are paid by American businesses and American consumers not foreigners.

Chamber VP of International Business Affairs Paola Avila joined regional stakeholders for an interview with KPBS and Politifact responding to some of these issues impacting San Diego. Review the full transcript and/or listen to the KPBS interview, here, and for Politifact’s article, click here.

New Legislation Introduced to Help Build Infrastructure Along the Border

Trade between the U.S. and Mexico has increased exponentially with California’s exports to Mexico have grown by 311 percent since 1993. Infrastructure to facilitate this trade has not kept up with this pace.  The Chamber has long advocated for expanding the North American Development Bank (NADBank)’s role to pursue investments in international land port of entries, in addition to its current work in environmental infrastructure along the United States-Mexico border.

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate and the House which will accomplish this goal. The North American Development Bank Improvement Act of 2019 is authored by Senators John Cornyn (TX) and Dianne Feinstein (CA), and Representatives Henry Cuellar and Will Hurd (TX) ,

This bill can also help address the Tijuana River Valley transboundary pollution, through work the NADBank is already undertaking. To review full details of the House Bill 132 (Senate version is SB 267) please click here.

If you would like to sign on to a letter of support for the bill, please let us know.

The NADBank was created jointly by the U.S. and Mexican governments in 1993. For more information about the NADBank, please visit their website.