BY CHRISTIE MARCELLA
Economic Development Manager
CITY OF CARLSBAD
If you’ve noticed a lot of development around the business parks recently, it may not come as a surprise that in 2018 the Carlsbad market leased nearly 1 million net square feet of commercial and industrial space. That’s a lot of positive growth for our community.
With that physical growth, we watched tech companies like Walmart Labs, Airspace Technologies, GoDaddy, XY Labs, Metawave, and Blast Motion make news with activity at their Carlsbad locations. As part of our city’s business retention and expansion program, I have the exciting job of meeting and working with established companies and startups.
Connecting with firms in our tech community is a multifaceted task, and by working with them I have learned not only about their business needs, but also about new ways for my own team to collaborate.
The recent growth in creative office space in Carlsbad has been substantial. If you drive along Avenida Encinas or El Fuerte Street, or visit Carlsbad Oaks North, or even travel Palomar Airport Road, you’ll see a lot of new development that caters to tech companies.
These firms seek out spaces where they can provide amenities for their talented workforce, whether that’s a fully stocked kitchen for those late night pushes, or showers and workout areas to enable their employees to take advantage of our extraordinary climate and weather.
We also see new types of eating establishments popping up, such as food trucks along Faraday Avenue, or Southern California chains like Copa Vida coffee or Eureka! burgers, which are locating inside some of the more industrial buildings.
Tech companies are expanding and clustering here in Carlsbad, and their employees meet up at lunchtime at places like The Island at Carlsbad or Bressi Ranch.
Here in Carlsbad we are also seeing meetup opportunities expand after hours to support tech collaboration. Carlsbad Tech Talks was started by the CTO of Airspace Technologies, Ryan Rusnak, when he saw that other tech meetups were stopping.
The monthly event promises TED-style talks with interesting twists, like eating progressively hotter chicken wings with a tech guru, or playing Carlsbad Jeopardy with yours truly. The Carlsbad Tech Talks meetup is going to be taken over by the San Diego Tech Hub, a grassroots organization of hundreds of tech professionals that has a strong North County representation.
The group, which started in late 2018, focuses on elevating San Diego’s presence as a tech hub, and provides tech support and collaboration in the areas of community, innovation, talent, education and inclusion.
There are hundreds of people working to apply their tech skills to improving the San Diego region’s accessibility and success as a global tech hub. These groups are accessible through in-person meetings and through Slack, where a lot of San Diego Tech Hub work happens.
If you aren’t familiar with Slack, it is a free online platform for teams to collaborate digitally. Many tech companies buy access to this software so that their internal teams, often dispersed throughout the globe, can interact with one another. Slack is increasingly being used by organizations to widen their reach and shorten physical distances through technology. San Diego Tech Hub has a Slack site, as does the startup community, San Diego Startups and Open San Diego, to name just a few.
Tech executives I have spoken with belong to more than a dozen Slack sites. If you are familiar with Microsoft Teams, Slack is similar to that program. Coincidentally, after attending a smart cities conference with about a dozen city colleagues of mine, our IT director invited me to join a Microsoft Team focused on furthering what we learned.
Carlsbad is lucky to have a vibrant tech community dedicated to helping one another expand their knowledge and improve their skills, because the tools being developed by the industry change the way we work practically every day.