Sign outside San Diego Gas & Electric building
A sign outside a San Diego Gas & Electric building. Courtesy of the company

San Diego Gas & Electric says it has purchased $1 billion in goods and services from a variety of diversified businesses in 2021. The utility says that more than half of the $525 million spent on purchasing was conducted with local companies, according to a news release. 

The utility noted that 90% of its diverse suppliers are based in California, so the purchases further bolster the state economy.

The details of the spending categories and interviews with suppliers can be found in its annual supplier diversity report.

“Our company’s long-standing commitment to supplier diversity is stronger than ever, particularly as we look to support an equitable economic recovery from the pandemic,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn.

Here’s a breakdown of spending by the purchasing categories:

  • Minority Business Enterprise: $461.2 million or 19.3%
  • Women Business Enterprise: $355.2 million or 14.8%
  • Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise: $110.3 million or 4.6%
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Business Enterprise: $9.3 million or 0.4%

The gas and electric utility says more than 340 employees play an important role in seeking out, training and mentoring new diverse suppliers to ensure they are competitive and able to grow into prime roles.

The company said its goal is to expand the program to 500 employees, said the utility.

* * *

San Diego nonprofit developer and social services provider MAAC says it has received sufficient funding for three affordable project and has established a sign-up list for another property.

With these four properties, MAAC says it will have added 700 units to the low-cost housing stock in the region.

The projects and their funding sources include the Ventana al Sur in San Ysidro, which has received $56.6 million in funding; Azuriik, the first full-on affordable project in National City, which has received a $16.5 million award from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities; Sendero in Chollas View, which has received $46.8 million in tax credits and bonds; and Valencia Pointe, which is scheduled to open this summer in southeast San Diego. It is now accepting applications from those interested in landing a unit in the project. 

“Every bit of funding we receive is reinvested back into the community,” said MAAC executive Arnulfo Manriquez. “We have a lot planned in 2022 – this is just the beginning.” 

* * *

Meanwhile, local nonprofit residential developer Wakeland Housing & Development Corp. will host ribbon-cutting activities at the new 53-unit Ivy Senior Apartments which is opening up to tenants in Clairemont.

The project will help some of the one in five homeless elderly who have been on the streets in San Diego, according to a publicist.

She said the seniors who live in the new complex will benefit from a combination of a secure homes and added support services from such providers as PATH, St. Paul’s PACE and the Alpha Project. These services are designed to help the residents use their new housing as a platform to increase stability and health.

* * *

More real estate related news. Design firm HGA has opened a San Diego office to accommodate a growing portfolio, including a number of projects locally.

The office is the 12th for the firm in the U.S., and will provide local market expertise in San Diego from a national company, according to a media release.
HGA says it is already serving a number of clients in San Diego, including leading institutions and organizations such as San Diego State UniversitySan Diego Symphony, and Scripps Health.

The firm previously completed work on an FBI field office, worked with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s regional centers, and designs corporate workplaces for technology and entertainment clients in the region.

* * *

Two local companies participated in in the prestigious 34th annual Roth Conference held this weekin Orange County.

This year’s Roth conference featured senior executives from 500 private and public companies from a wide variety of sectors, including agtech, consumer, energy, healthcare, industrial growth, metals and mining, sustainability, services and technology.

The conference matches investors to those companies looking for funding, and related financial services.

San Diego-based Manscaped, a men’s lifestyle consumer brand, and Bright Lights Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, presented at the conference on March 14.

Late last year, Manscaped entered into a combination agreement with Bright Lights. Upon closing, expected in the second quarter of 2022, the combined company will be named Manscaped Holdings.

Manscaped was founded six years ago by Paul Tran. Products range includes a diversified line of premium tools, formulations, and accessories for men.

Meanwhile, Airgain, a provider of advanced wireless connectivity technologies and systems also attended the Roth conference in Dana Point. Executives held one-on-one meetings with institutional investors at the conference, according to a release from the company.

The tech company is a leading provider of advanced wireless connectivity technologies and systems, and maintains design and test centers in the U.S., U.K. and China.

* * *

San Diego’s North Island Credit Union says it has partnered with the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions to provide urgently needed aid for Ukrainians who have been invaded by Russia. The financial services institution is offering a $100,000 donation match for the organization’s Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund.

North Island will match every dollar donated to the Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund campaign page through April 30.

“The displacement fund help underwrite immediate humanitarian needs triggered by Russia’s continued targeting of civilians,” said Worldwide Foundation executive Mike Reuter.

North Island is a unit of California Credit Union, a state chartered institution founded in 1933 with 25 branches in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. 

* * *

Worth mentioning in passing… California-based fast-food chain The Habit Burger Grill, is opening a new restaurant in El Cajon on March 16.

* * *

Finally, this business item of note.

AT&T and The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians are bringing high-speed fiber internet to more than 400 homes on tribal lands.  AT&T says it is constructing the network to give better access to such important services as digital medical care and education.

Tribe top executive Bo Mazzetti said in a news release, “Delivering internet service to our tribal community is a top priority.”

AT&T says the cost of the project comes from the $2 billion that the company has committed to help Native American tribes across the country gain improved access to the digital world.

The company has also launched initiatives such to help narrow the homework gap by investing in connectivity, technology, digital literacy and learning tools to help today’s students succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

“For millions of families and students across the country being “unplugged” is not a luxury or a temporary disruption,” said AT&T executive Jeff Luon.  “It’s the harsh reality of the digital divide and unfortunately.”

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to