News & Updates

EPA Advances Implementation of USMCA TRV Watershed Project

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing to advance the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Tijuana River Watershed Project. As you may recall, EPA announced in November that a suite of projects, referred to as the Comprehensive Infrastructure Solution, would move forward to the environmental analysis phase to fulfill National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.

 The EPA technical team is currently working on implementing two core processes in parallel – NEPA and binational meetings with Mexico – as follows:  


  • To expedite the NEPA process, EPA is pursuing a Programmatic EIS (PEIS) to move projects requiring less complex environmental analysis, such as the expansion of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, to the design and construction stages, potentially in early 2023.  A major milestone for the NEPA work is anticipated this summer when we expect to issue a draft PEIS for public comment and hold a public comment meeting. We invite you to provide a comment on the draft PEIS and will announce the public comment period via this listserv, in addition to other outlets.   


  • EPA is holding productive meetings with Mexico to implement a comprehensive solution to transboundary flows that includes agreement on projects and cost-sharing for construction and operations and maintenance. These meetings are held biweekly and will lead to agreements that are memorialized in writing. We are working closely with Mexico to advance the negotiations as quickly as possible and are hopeful that a binational announcement will be forthcoming later this summer.   

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DHS and President Obrador Commit to Accelerate OTAY II

The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, met with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, on a visit to address joint efforts on migration and their commitment to accelerating efforts for the Otay II Land Port of entry to enhance security and facilitate trade. 

Readout of Secretary Mayorkas’s Visit to Mexico and Costa Rica

IBA Forum Recap 


The Chamber Hosted an IBA Forum where guest speakers provided an overview of their significant efforts to facilitate trade, improve border infrastructure, and binational diplomacy of their respective border region. 

Check out our next IBA Forum

Lower Cannabis Tax Rates

California cities and counties are pushing for lower cannabis tax rates, arguing that high taxes on regulated businesses are hurting supply chains and strengthening the illicit market. Although there are four cannabis tax-related bills introduced this legislative session, local governments are moving faster. In fact, San Diego made the list of fourteen California localities that have passed forms of cannabis tax reductions. 

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Checking in with the Chamber

VP of  Public Affairs, Stefanie Benvenuto is taking her talents to the TV as Channel 8 has invited the Chamber to do a weekly interview segment on their 4:00 p.m. program about business issues. 

Check out last week’s Checking in with the Chamber segment, which includes updates to Cal/OSHA guidance, our upcoming Mission to Washington DC delegation trip, and information on the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund

CalOSHA Extends Emergency Order

On February 28, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to update the Cal/OSHA ETS to align with the CDPH Face Covering Guidance. This aligns with all requirements for the general public and employees in the state. This EO also extended the current Cal/OSHA ETS through the end of the year.

The deadline for OSHSB to adopt the third readoption of the Emergency Temporary Standards is fast approaching. CDPH has just issued updated public health guidance, including changes to the face coverings guidance, in response to recently emerging evidence and data; and additional time to finalize the third readoption will maximize the degree of alignment between the Emergency Temporary Standards and current public health guidelines and recommendations.

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ICS Announces New Designation of Several Key Positions

Chris Saltz has newly been appointed President of Industrial Commercial Systems, Inc. In this role, he will oversee all aspects of ICS’ continued and unprecedented growth maintaining a focus on delivery of the company’s mission, becoming California’s leading mechanical design/builder, helping clients bring important and complex dreams to reality. Chris has been with ICS for two years as its Vice President of Sales, bringing significant positive change to the sales approach and processes. In his role as VP of Sales, Chris led all efforts for profitable growth in the Life Science, Industrial Manufacturing, Hospitality/Gaming, and the Healthcare markets.

Brian Lynch, now Vice President of Operations, will lead ICS’ endeavors in key areas such as, but not limited to HR, safety, accounting, pre-fabrication, and office administration. Brian has been in the construction industry for over 25 years working mainly in the military field. Four of those years have been spent at ICS as the Vice President of the Special Projects Division, bringing that division from small projects to a larger specialized project division that focuses on military facilities. In his role, Brian has developed and now sustains a high-performance team, while providing continuous support with a positive work environment.

As Vice President of Construction, Brian Fox continues to lead ICS’ efforts in successful project delivery. Felipe Rodriguez, Vice President of Service, will carry on leading ICS’ ongoing service team expansion. Jerry Permann, General Superintendent, maintains his leadership role with the field/trades, with a heightened focus on continuous education and training to achieve top performance and quality.

We warmly congratulate their new leadership team!

Photo from left to right: Chris Saltz, Brian Lynch, Felipe Rodriguez, Jerry Permann, and Brian Fox

LEADers On The Move

We enjoy seeing what our graduates are doing and how they are making an impact on the world. Share your good news with us via email:

Christine Antoine, Rudolph Johnson, III, Dr. Steven Jones, Felicia Shaw, and Lee Wills-Irvine were named by the San Diego Business Journal as a Top 50 Black Leaders of Influence. Read more.

2015 Impact graduate Rockette Ewell is now a Board Member for Episcopal Community Services. 

Current Impact program participant Barbarah Torres is now the External Relations Partner for the Port of San Diego. 

Impact 2008 graduate Woo-Jin Shim now serves as the Finance Director for Cloudbeds.

Impact 2017 graduate Kristen Kerr is now the Revenue Cycle Director for Kaiser Permanente.

Impact 2018 graduate Anthony Nguyen now works at Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Influence 2019 graduate Colleen Dillaway is now the Vice President, Orange County for Cox Communications. Read more.

Impact 2020 graduate Jordan Harrison now serves as a Board Member for the San Diego Diplomacy Council.

Advance graduate and Board Member Karen Higareda is now the Director of Public & Government Affairs for CBX.

Influence graduate & Board Member Erica Opstad now serves as a Board Member for The New Children’s Museum. Read more.

Impact 2019 graduate Jason Bercovitch is now the District Director for the Office of Representative Scott Peters (95).

Current Impact program participant Melanie Woods is now the Vice President of Local Public Affairs for the California Apartment Association.