A San Diego Story


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My wife, Margie, and I moved to San Diego in the summer of 1976. Having just been promoted to full professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was on sabbatical, and Margie had just finished her doctorate in communications. Our son, Scott, was 11 years old, and our daughter, Debbie, was 9. We had planned to stay in San Diego for just a year. But after a few months, Margie said, “Why are we going back to Massachusetts? It’s beautiful here. Summer in Massachusetts is two weeks of bad skating.”

It’s true—San Diego has the best weather in the country. And as visitors, we loved all the fun attractions like the San Diego Zoo, one of the best zoos in the world; the Wild Animal Park (now Safari Park); SeaWorld; Balboa Park with its world-class museums; and the famous beaches. But it was also clear to us that this area was a fabulous place to raise our family, with unlimited activities—surfing, boating, bicycling, hiking, golf, the mountains, the deserts. What more could we possibly ask for? There was one problem: How could we stay when we didn’t have jobs? Then I got an opportunity to do some sessions for the Young Presidents’ Organization, an international network of business executives who all became presidents or CEOs before the age of 45. My sessions on leadership were so well received that members of the San Diego chapter of YPO asked me what I was going to be doing at the end of my sabbatical. I told them we were going back to UMass. They said, “No, you aren’t. When you’re hot, you’re hot. You need to start your own business.”
There was one problem: How could we stay when we didn’t have jobs? Then I got an opportunity to do some sessions for the Young Presidents’ Organization, an international network of business executives who all became presidents or CEOs before the age of 45. My sessions on leadership were so well received that members of the San Diego chapter of YPO asked me what I was going to be doing at the end of my sabbatical. I told them we were going back to UMass. They said, “No, you aren’t. When you’re hot, you’re hot. You need to start your own business.”

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Margie and I said, “We can’t even balance our checkbook. How are we going to start our own business?”
They promised they would help.
This is a great example of what’s still amazing about San Diego’s business community—they are there for one another.
And so we stayed. San Diego YPO members reached out to us and became our advisors and encouragers. They helped us set up what would become The Ken Blanchard Companies, a global organization headquartered here with offices in Toronto and London and partnerships in more than 40 nations. It wouldn’t have happened without the support of San Diego’s wonderful business community.
Over the years we have hosted countless visitors and have seen many friends and colleagues move to the area. Now our grandchildren are growing up here. San Diego is a unique and extraordinary city—one where, when you come, you feel welcome to stay and contribute.

—Ken Blanchard Cofounder, The Ken Blanchard Companies
Coauthor, The New One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level



Whether you’re looking to exercise your body or your mind, you’ll never run out of things to do in San Diego.
It’s no secret that San Diego is blessed with incredible natural beauty. Its 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline allow easy access for swimming, surfing, sailing, hiking, jogging and lots of other outdoor activities. And its near perfect climate gives both residents and visitors plenty of time to get outdoors and enjoy life. From dawn to dusk, virtually every day in San Diego, you can surf the waters near the Scripps Pier, play golf at the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course or play tennis at one of the Fairmont Grand Del Mar pro-style tennis courts.
But what’s less well-known about San Diego is just how diverse its cultural offerings are. The San Diego Symphony presents a concert series that ranges from Schubert and Gershwin to Diana Ross and Tito Puente. Theatergoers have an array of choices, including the nationally praised Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, where shows like John Leguizamo’s Diary of a Madman, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays and Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots have all premiered.
And for visitors, there’s an abundance of hotel choices, ranging from the boutique chic of Hotel Palomar and downtown grandeur of THE US GRANT to the the serenity of Rancho La Puerta and the Lodge at Torrey Pines or the stunning views from Manchester Grand Hyatt, created by renowned developer “Papa Doug” Manchester.
There’s something for everyone in San Diego—day and night.
Visit sandiego.org for more information.


The two 18-hole golf courses at Torrey Pines in the community of La Jolla are remarkable not just for the fact that they offer spectacular views of the Pacific, but they also are proudly open to the public—it’s first-come, first-served for tee-time sign-ups. The course will once again host the U.S. Open in 2021.


The concerts of the Symphony have captured classical connoisseurs and pop music fans alike, with a range of performers as varied as Yo-Yo Ma, Yes, Charlotte Church and Cirque Eloise. Founded in 1910, the Symphony makes music an integral part of the city’s cultural and intellectual fabric. The concert season runs from the first weekend in October through May.


Built by Ulysses S. Grant Jr. and named for his presidential father, this historic hotel has been operating since 1910. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter near many shopping, dining and entertainment options, the 270-room hoteloffers guests all the luxuries and amenities of a modern, residential palace.


Centrally located downtown on the waterfront of San Diego Bay and between Seaport Village and the Convention Center, Manchester Grand Hyatt features 1,628 guestrooms and suites, 316,000 square feet of meeting and event space, two rooftop pools, a spa and 24-hour fitness center. The hotel also boasts the Top of the Hyatt, an upscale, rooftop bar with views of the city, Coronado Island and Mexico.


Just across the border, outside the Mexican city of Tecate in Baja California, Rancho La Puerta is a spa and fitness mountain retreat. Family owned and operated since 1940, the Ranch provides a serene space to relax and classes that range in topics from healthy living and meditation to cuisine and nutrition.


A lavish Mediterranean-style resort, set within Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar features 249 luxe guestrooms, an award-winning spa, Tom Fazio-designed golf course, tennis courts and six restaurant options, along with seasonal food and wine events.


Founded in 1903, The Scripps Institution of Oceanography became a department of UC San Diego in 1912 and is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and earth science research, public service and college student training. Scripps’ Birch Aquarium provides ocean science education through programming, activities and exhibits.


Whether it’s a doubleheader at Petco Park or a day trip to wine country, San Diego can make anyone an explorer.
It doesn’t matter what you’re in the mood for: San Diego is filled with adventures that are easy to get to, and yet take you far away from the stresses of daily life. You could rent a bike or a surfboard—or both—and enjoy the sand and surf at Mission Beach. Or you could spend the day in Balboa Park, ambling from museum to museum, enjoying the incredible diversity of animal life at the zoo, or walking through the tranquil beauty of its many gardens. Petco Park offers not only one of the best baseball-watching experiences in the country, but also awesome views of San Diego Bay and downtown. And many visitors to San Diego don’t realize that there’s gorgeous winecountry just south across the border in Valle de Guadalupe or an easy drive north to Temecula and Ramona Valley.
San Diego has all that—or you can lie on a sandy beach and swim in the Pacific. Whatever the adventure, the choice is yours.
Visit sandiego.org for more information.


No visit to San Diego would be complete without a day spent in beautiful Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S. which is filled with 17 museums, beautiful gardens, theaters and the famed San Diego Zoo.


Located just south of the border and a close to the port city of Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe has become known as a thriving wine country, where wineries and B&Bs sunshine abound.


The 100-year-old San Diego Zoo, set in Balboa Park, houses more than 3,700 animals of 650-plus species. One of the few places to successfully breed and house giant pandas, the zoo is known for its re-creation of natural habits and is widely considered the best zoo in the world.


Putting an end to its killer whale breeding program and theatrical shows, SeaWorld will now focus on caring for orcas in re-created natural environments, creating educational experiences and teaching conservation.


The region’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum, the San Diego Museum of Art features a permanent collection that includes works from Spain, Italy, South Asia and the U.S., as well as changing global exhibitions throughout the year.


Celebrating 75 years this October, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego presents artwork across all forms of media in two locations—in the historic Jacobs Building downtown and in a structure in La Jolla that includes the Edwards Garden Gallery and The MCASD X Store.


Not just an ideal place to see a baseball game—go on a Beerfest night if you can; it’s a wonderful way to combine two San Diego experiences—the Padres’ home field is also a great venue for concerts and more.


An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the San Diego Air & Space Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a flyable replica of Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only real GPS satellite on display in the world.


The Timken Museum of Art, located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, is the permanent home of the Putnam Foundation’s world-class collection of European and American art and Russian icons. The collection includes the only Rembrandt painting on public display in the Southern California area.


A dynamo and diverse culinary scene paired with a booming craft beer community make San Diego a great place to eat and drink.
Let’s be honest: San Diego restaurants have been underrated for years. But the critics are coming around, and rightfully so—this is a town with a vibrant and dynamic food culture. As the Wall Street Journal recently put it, after years in the shadow of more famous food cities, San Diego is “finally on the culinary map.”
Leading the way is Addison at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where Relais & Château Grand Chef William Bradley presents an artisanally inspired menu with dishes such as coffee-roasted duck with koshihikari rice and candied peanuts, or muscles in green curry with coriander and coconut. And for the oenophiles, the wine list is a feast for the palate: It includes more than 3,500 bottles.
But there are many other great casual choices too, like Galaxy Taco—the fried fish or grilled avocado tacos are a must—or the neighborhood vibe of the Smoking Goat bistro. And whatever food you eat, wash it down with one of San Diego’s famous locally brewed craft beers. When it comes to suds, San Diego shouldn’t be overlooked.
Visit sandiego.org for more information.


In an elegant European setting, Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef William Bradley combines local ingredients with contemporary French influences. Southern California’s only Five-Star/Five-Diamond restaurant, Addison also hosts a world-class wine tasting environment with an extensive wine collection.


This fine chophouse integrates modern American cuisine with a western flare. In a display kitchen at the heart of the stunning interiors, chef Chris Osborne creates standout menu items from the best selection of local steaks, chops and seafood.


Bracero Cocina De Raiz offers a family-style tasting menu of authentic Cali-Baja cuisine crafted by Tijuana-born chef-owner Javier Plascencia. A la carte items are also available including small plates, soups, salads and entrees, such as 36-hour Niman Ranch pork shank and carne asada molcajete.


This family-owned French-American neighborhood bistro provides local, organic and sustainable farm-to-table dining and a rotating, seasonal menu in an upscale farmhouse setting.


First-generation Cuban American chef Vivian Hernandez-Jackson translates her Cuban roots and classic training at Le Cordon Bleu in London into the delectable confections at Azucar, a small patisserie that serves up traditional Cuban coffee, desserts and sandwiches.


Embodying the mantra “Life is short. Eat awesome,” chef-owner Trey Foshee and chef de cuisine Christine Rivera craft delicious homemade Mexican fare in a casual, convivial setting. Check out the daily specials, happy hour Mondays through Thursdays and special Sunday brunch menu.


A culture of entrepreneurship, creativity and collaboration fosters innovation in San Diego.
When it comes to fostering innovation, San Diego brings together all the necessary elements. It has outstanding universities like the University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University with traditions of teaching entrepreneurship. Those universities graduate thousands of young people every year, most of whom want to stay in San Diego because of its quality of life and employment opportunities; many go on to launch startups. Other new businesses are the work of veterans of San Diego’s biggest companies, like Qualcomm and ViaSat, or veterans of the military, which has more than 100,000 military personnel stationed in the San Diego area, who help start defense-oriented companies like General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. And the city has a thriving scientific community based around a cluster of world-leading research institutions and supported by civic-minded philanthropists. When you throw in the beautiful natural environment and weather, it’s easy to understand why creative minds want to live and work in San Diego.


SDSU teaches that “leadership starts here,” which suits a university that has graduated many of San Diego’s leading businesspeople. The university just launched a new Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Complex and houses the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and Zahn Innovation Canter.


General Atomics Aeronautical has manufactured remotely piloted aircraft systems for 20 years, providing unmanned aerial vehicles and radar solutions for the U.S. military and commercial buyers worldwide.


A maker of machines that sequence DNA, Illumina is already a $22 billion company. Now it’s commencing an ambitious five-year plan to introduce clinical applications of genomics.


Qualcomm began revolutionizing the future of mobile in 1985, and three decades later continues to accelerate innovation and unlock new possibilities in a time when everything is connected. Cofounded by Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs, one of San Dieg’o’s most prominent civic leaders and philanthropists, the company is a global leader in mobile technologies.


Opened in 1970 as the main library building of UC San Diego, the Geisel Library was renamed in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) in 1995. Its unusual architecture, design features and art installations have made it a destination for readers and photographers alike.


General Atomics Aeronautical has manufactured remotely piloted aircraft systems for 20 years, providing unmanned aerial vehicles and radar solutions for the U.S. military and commercial buyers worldwide.


Based in Carlsbad, ViaSat delivers high-speed satellite internet to nearly 700,000 U.S. homes and hundreds of planes across JetBlue, United Airlines, Virgin America and soon American Airlines and even Air Force One fleets.


San Diego’s collaborative scientific community is pioneering breakthroughs in diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s.
While San Diego may be the best know for its balmy climate and beautiful beaches, it has emerged as one of the world’s leading centers of science.
While San Diego may be the best know for its balmy climate and beautiful beaches, it has emerged as one of the world’s leading centers of science.
The early years of science in San Diego saw the creation of nonprofits like the Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which would shape San Diego’s science community in enduring ways. The influence of federal research dollars leveraged with the organizations’ nonprofit status has infused San Diego’s science community of collaboration and cooperation.
Those qualities still remain, and along with San Diego’s climate, lifestyle and quality of life, continue to attract talented researchers and creative entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their work is helping fuel greater understanding and more effective treatment of diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes, Alzheimer’s and autism.


Named for the polio vaccine founder and developer Jonas Salk, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research institute, focused on discovery and mentoring researchers.


A nonprofit medical research institute with locations in La Jolla and Orlando, SBP conducts world-class collaborative research and is dedicated to finding cures for cancer, neuroscience, immunity and metabolic disorders.


After a successful career in real estate, San Diegan Malin Burnham has devoted himself to philanthropy. In the sciences, Burnham has been instrumental, along with fellow supporters Conrad Prebys and T. Denny Sanford, in establishing the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, which focuses primarily on cancer research.


Headed by Shelly Lyford, this nonprofit medical research organization is working to enable successful aging in America. Supported by the generosity of philanthropists Gary and Mary West, the institute researchers, supports and fuels healthcare delivery and community-support services that empower seniors to age with dignity, hight quality of life and independence


Widely considered one of the country’s most influential physicians, Eric Tool works to forge connections between science, medicine, academia and industry with the aim of advancing individualized, genetics-based healthcare.


One of the world’s preeminent genomics researchers, Craig Venter heads the J. Craig Venter Institute, which conducts genomics research, and Human Longevity Inc., which uses genome-sequence analysis to deliver a forward-looking picture of individual health.


Researchers from five San Diego organizations work together here to advance stem cell research. The Consortium has partnered with the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company as part of Takeda’s efforts to increase connectivity to leading academic researchers.


Benefiting from easy access to South America and Asia, San Diego is one of the world’s most attractive cities for international business.
Building on the advantages of its location—the border with Mexico just miles away, and 70 miles of coastline—San Diego has always been an internationally minded city, and that’s even more true today. The border region with Mexico, known as CaliBaja, is a thriving source of economic activity between the two countries, with goods moving fluidly across the border. The San Diego International Airport and the Port of San Diego also provide ample access to Asia markets. All told, trade volumes in the region amount to about $150 billion—and as both Latin America and Asia become larger U.S. economic priorities, that number is growing. Looking east, direct flights to Europe take off from San Diego, you can go anywhere.
Visit wtcsandiego.org for more information.


More than 40 percent of the nation’s cargo enters through California’s seaports. With extensive marine cargo terminals and miles of waterfront property that includes hotels, marinas, businesses and 22 public parks, the Port of San Diego is an economic engine connecting San Diego to the world. Every day, fruit, vehicles and solar energy components move through the port to and from global locations including Japan, Korea, Ecuador and Germany. One in every eight imported cars on our nation’s highways come through the Port of San Diego. Next up? The Port is modernizing and optimizing both of its cargo terminals.


The flagship program of World Trade Center San Diego, the MetroConnect Prize is helping bring San Diego innovations to the rest of the world. Launched in 2015 and funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetroConnect provides 15 San Diego small- and medium-sized companies with capital and guidance to help expand their global reach. In 2015, startup Cypher Genomics was crowned a grand prize winner for its work with Genome England on a large-scale study to sequence 100,000 human genomes.


One of the most significant international players in San Diego is Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, whose mission to strive better health for people worldwide through innovation in medicine. In San Diego, Takeda California works to find new drugs for cancer, metabolic diseases and inflammatory diseases. And Takeda has partnered with the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine to advance research goals, particularly involving greater development and application of stem-cell related therapies. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership for San Diego and Asia’s largest drug company


Serving over 20 million passengers in 2015 alone, San Diego International Airport (SAN) provides direct international flights to Europe via British Airways and to Asia via Japan Airlines. Additionally SAN offers nonstop service to more than 45 U.S. destinations. Located conveniently next to downtown, SAN recently built a $316 million consolidated Rental Car Center and an $812 million expansion of Terminal 2, which added concession areas, enhanced check-in and 10 new gates. Beginning in 2017, San Diego will add Zurich and Frankfurt to its roster of direct international routes.


San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems powers some of the world’s most robust public transit payment systems, connecting millions of passengers to their destinations daily. From Sydney to London to San Francisco and Chicago, Cubic delivers revenue collection technologies that keep cities around the world on the move.


Transforming travel between the U.S. and Mexico, Cross Border Xpress is the only international border crossing in the world that connects directly to an international airport, linking a sparkling new terminal in San Diego directly to the Tijuana Internations Airport (TIJ) via an enclosed passenger toll bridge. Open 24/7/365.
Visit sandiego.org and sandiegobusiness.org for more information.
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