Tag Archives: CleanTECH SD

Forbes Ranks San Diego as #1 Startup Location in USA

Gaslamp District, San Diego

Gaslamp District, San Diego

If you live in San Diego like I do, this headline surprises you. San Diego, #1 startup location, really? Was there a mistake? If you live in Silicon Valley, you are probably saying the same thing as you wisp across a Fortune-500 tech campus on a Segway. Put your iPads down, folks, San Diego is trying to rid itself of the “sunshine discount” by creating a vibrant quality-of-life business community for boomers and millennials alike.

An article in Forbes earlier this month titled, The Best Places To Launch A Startup In 2014, gave SD startup gold using the following criteria:

  1. Small businesses as a percentage of total businesses.
  2. Percentage of small businesses that accept credit cards.
  3. Percentage of small businesses in high growth industries.
  4. Percentage of small businesses with Facebook pages and websites.
  5. Percentage of businesses with online reviews.

As a freelance consultant with more clients in Latin America than in San Diego, I often gripe about the need to have a more robust community here locally. I remember past conversations with friends and mentors where, after a trip to SXSW, I’d say, “Have you been to Austin lately? Now they are doing it right!”; or “Seattle is the place to be right now as a young entrepreneur.” Now, after reading this article, I am saying to myself, “There is a lot of good happening right here at home! Maybe I should check the surf a bit less and pay closer attention to the temperature of the SD business community.” Since my background is in international affairs, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility there is a strong professional pull to Sacramento, San Francisco, DC,  New York, and (in my case) Rio de Janeiro. My goal is still to make San Diego my home base — which makes mom and dad happy up in Oceanside. For any young professional in San Diego, I believe patience and creativity on the professional front will provide big returns in the long run… and the timing is right.

Despite our Port, our proximity to the border with Mexico, our industries (defense, bio, tourism, beer making, renewables, etc), and our weather; I’d still say San Diego punches below its entrepreneurial weight. Yet, there is a real sense of a turning point. I remember when Nathan Fletcher was running for mayor after Hugs-Too-Much Filner got canned. Nathan proposed San Diego change its name to hint at something more innovative than America’s Finest City. “FINE” sounds like “ok”; but truth be told, we are doing exceptionally well.

America’s exceptional city is creating a gravitos thanks to organizations like CONNECT, CleanTECH San Diego, The San Diego Venture Group, CommNexus, UC San Diego, SDSU, and the list goes on. We’ve also got a pair of Fortune-500 HQs — Qualcomm and Sempra — as well as a benevolent global NGO called Project Concern International and a wonderful, community-focused institution called The San Diego Foundation. My favorite international environmental organization,  Citizens Climate Lobby, was founded and is headquartered here in Coronado Island just outside downtown San Diego. I volunteer for them about as much as I receive paid work for my clients, seriously.

(On a side note: I was saddened to see Nathan lose in his electoral bid for mayor, but am encouraged by what he did next: He took a trip to put it all behind him and got back to doing his innovative work for Qualcomm and UC San Diego.)

Here’s the list of other top cities:

  1. San Diego
  2. Denver
  3. Austin, TX
  4. Seattle
  5. Portland, OR
  6. San Francisco
  7. Dallas, TX
  8. Boston
  9. New York City
  10. Chicago

Well, that’s it for now. It’s 75 degrees and sunny. Time for a quick surf before I get back to work. Maybe I’ll see Craig Venter out in the water 😉

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#Green Week Ahead (May 07-13)

Hello everyone — I hope you had a festive Cinco de May weekend!

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Tues May 08

One of thousands of islands in Queensland, Australia.

On a personal note, I am excited to announce that I will be teaching a monthlong course on sustainability this summer for San Diego State University undergraduates. The course, as part of their study abroad program, will be conducted throughout Queensland, Australia. I will be giving a pre-departure orientation on this day as we prepare to explore, firsthand numerous socio-environmental issues, developing a new perspective regarding our relationship with the planet.

 

Wed May 09

CleanTECH Advocacy Meeting from 2-3:30pm.

David Victor

New Ways to Stop Global Warming from 5:15-7:00pm. Professor of Political Science and Climate Change Specialist, David Victor discusses how global warming is affecting our planet today. Professor Victor will explore strategies that would be more effective in addressing issues surrounding climate change. He recently authored a 2011 Economist Best Book – Global Warming Gridlock – and advises countries and companies regarding energy and climate policy.

Here’s an interview I did with Professor Victor while studying with him at UCSD. My Interview with David Victor.

 

“IF WE DO NOT CHANGE OUR DIRECTION WE ARE LIKELY TO END UP WHERE WE ARE HEADED” – Chinese Proverb

The Green Week Ahead (Mar 19 – 25)

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Wed Mar 21

The Institute of the Americas (IOA) will host the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Matt Rooney from 4:30-5:45pm. IOA tells, “Rooney manages U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada. He is also responsible for economic and trade policy with the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The goal is to increase U.S. exports and facilitate the participation of small and medium sized business in the globalized economy. Mr. Rooney will highlight how, in a difficult global environment, the interests of the U.S. are linked to the economic success of our neighbors.” I will be in Sacramento during the day. If I can get back in time, I plan to attend.

Thur March 22

This is the UN’s World Water Day. Surfrider Foundation informs us, “Founded in 1993 by the United Nations, this global day of observance highlights the need for the care and management of the world’s water resources.” Here in San Diego, we are all aware of our limited water resources. On the bright side, we had plenty of rain (and hail) over the weekend.

From 7:30-9:00 am the Clean Tech Open will host a Business Briefing. The host says, “Join us for an introduction to the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. You will learn about our annual Business Competition, an opportunity to accelerate your cleantech startup with expert training, national visibility and up to $250,000 of cash and services. Beyond great networking, the event will include a brief presentation about how you can get involved as a volunteer, mentor, judge or more. Anyone should attend who is interested in learning more about competing in the Cleantech Open business competition or volunteering, mentoring, judging, partnering with or sponsoring with the organization.”

From 5:00-8:00 pm the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) presents the 8th Annual Energy All-Star Awards. CCSE says “These prestigious awards recognize the most outstanding projects, programs and applications in creating integrated approaches to energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation and water efficiency during 2011. We encourage you to nominate your clients, employer, yourself or any community business, organization or agency.

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and meet new people… They’ll teach you something new.

Green Week Ahead (Feb 20-26)

Hope everyone had a great President’s Day! I did. Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Feb 22

OneRoof Energy press conference (details) from 10:30-11:30am. “OneRoof Energy works directly with roofers to lease and install residential solar power systems. The company has received $50 million in financing and created the SolarSelect Lease, which allows homeowners to integrate solar into their roof at little to no upfront cost through a simple lease program. The company is growing quickly and currently employs more than 30 professionals. In addition to the nearly 100 new jobs they are creating within the company, their business plan will lead to the creation of countless new positions as third-party partners and roofing contractors are hired and trained to sell and install OneRoof Energy’s solar electric systems.”

Keep an eye on my twitter feed for any interesting job leads and company announcements,

Greenovation Forum hosted by UCSD. “Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: The Ecological, Economic, and Governance Principles for Managing the Ocean”. Being a native San Diegan from Oceanside and an avid surfer, I value our local beaches. As an environmentalist, I also understand the impacts humanity is having on our oceans – everything from overfishing to ocean acidification. For those of you who share my interest in the ocean, be sure to RSVP ASAP for the event. See you there!

Feb 23

Obama for America (OFA) is the President’s reelection campaign. I am supporting San Diego’s OFA team with the planning of a few big events around the county. If you would like to get involved, please contact me.

The Equinox Center’s Leaders 2020 brings us Civic Engagement 101 from 5:30-7pm. “You care about advancing a more sustainable future for the San Diego region. But how? What role can you play to drive positive change? Join us for a fun and inspiring conversation with Elyse Lowe, Executive Director of Move San Diego.” The location looks great and Leaders2020 always brings together a great crowd! Also, the venue will be a co-working space. “At Co-Merge Workplace you’ll find a great community of entrepreneurs and professional space designed to work the way you work. Whether you’re interested in coworking, telecommuting, networking, video conferencing, team building, training or simply having a sophisticated space to drop in for the day, Co-Merge is the smart workplace solution.” Sounds like a great idea to me! Hope you can make it.

Feb 24

UCSD hosts Hire San Diego. “The Hire San Diego Career Fair consists of 20-30 companies and is open to current graduate students from IR/PS, Rady, SDSU and USD. This year, Hire San Diego will be held at UC San Diego’s I-House Great Hall.”

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and network… You’ll learn something new.

Green Week Ahead (Feb 06-12)

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment!!!

Feb 06-09

Association of Energy Services Professionals 22nd Annual Convention, which is being held right here in San Diego. You can expect “the premier energy industry conference that draws the top program managers, policy makers, marketers, evaluators, consultants and vendors in energy efficiency. Highly regarded experts in their respective fields will lead over 60 sessions that will cover the range of current topics in program design, implementation, pricing, marketing, research, evaluation and more. It’s pricey, so if you can not attend I will be sharing my experiences in a later blog post.

Feb 08

IR/PS Dean’s Roundtable with David Victor. Professor David Victor’s latest book, Global Warming Gridlock, was named one of the best science and technology books of 2011 Books of the Year by the Economist.

Feb 10-12

2012 Democratic State Convention will be held at and around the San Diego Convention Center. Click here for the agenda. Event organizers told me that observer badges may be available during event registration on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, Feb 11 at 9pm, Gen44 California and the Futuro Fund is hosting a reception for President Obama. Gen44 is “the official under-40 fundraising program of Obama for America—created to cultivate and empower a rising generation of leaders for the Democratic Party.” Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, is the special guest of the evening.

Side notes

Thanks to Christine Forester for letting me know about the great Gen44 event!

Also, a big thanks to Jim Waring, CEO of CleanTECH SD for his time and insights regarding the state of clean technologies here in San Diego.

The Equinox Center and I are working on an interesting video project that will highlight relevant local issues. Details to come later. The organization recently released its annual Regional Quality of Life Dashboard.

Lastly, I will be visiting enXco for an informational interview on Feb 10. Any leads or interesting programs/projects will be shared via a later post.

 

Byron Washom, Battery Storage, and Smart City San Diego

Yesterday I had a great meeting with mentor and friend Byron Washom, Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives at UCSD. I met Byron as a graduate student studying environmental policy and energy economics. Everyone  around said, you must meet Byron. When we met, I shot a video interview and immediately understood why he is so well respected. His level of intelligence, commitment, and curiosity are unlike anyone else I know in SD. Not only that; he deeply believes in the value of students taking their ideas beyond the classroom to find real-world applications – i.e. “lab to market”. I couldn’t agree more with this belief. During yesterday’s meeting, I accompanied Byron on a campus site visit where a multi-organization partnership will be installing a battery storage facility at one of the campus’ parking lots. Where will the batteries come from? They’ll we be sourced from electric vehicles that require new batteries to meet acceleration requirements, which generally  occurs after a 20% loss of a battery’s useful life, says Byron.

It’s partnerships such as these that will provide the pulse of innovation and know-how throughout our region. Below I’ve outlined precisely this type of collaborative effort taking place in San Diego, both on and off campus.

Smart City San Diego is an innovative partnership between the City, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), General Electric (GE)CleanTECH San Diego, and UC San Diego. Keep an eye out for tangible projects coming out of the pipeline thanks tothis program – e.g. CAR2GO (image below).

Last year I consulted for the City regarding electric vehicle integration within the City fleet. Though I cannot release specific details, let’s just say there are some real opportunities to introduce cost savings, reduce tailpipe emissions, and access state/federal resources. Opportunities abound. However, with the exceedingly low price of natural gas likely to continue trending downward, look for CNG vehicles to make a surge as cash-strapped policy makers and committees must make tough short- to medium-term economic decisions.

Other initiatives include: Smart Appliances, Economic Development and Job Growth, Solar Integrated Energy Storage, Policy Leadership, and the achievement of making SD a Solar Decathlon 2013 Finalist.

For more information, here’s an interesting article.