At Southwest Airlines we never forget the humble beginnings of when we served only three cities and sold a plane just to cover costs. Southwest understands it takes a while to get off the ground, so we support the Warrior Spirit of local entrepreneurs the best way we can – by maintaining low-fares and expanding our route map to the places Customers, and their businesses, need and want to fly. Locally, we are proud to support the South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) for their efforts in enhancing South County’s bi-national economy, image and quality of life; and to heighten public awareness of Southern California’s most desirable location to live, work and dream. We are also proud to have on the SCEDC Board of Directors Tom Starr, Southwest Airlines Station Manager in San Diego, who has become a true champion for the South County. I invite you to learn more about this important organization and support their critical mission.

South County Economic Development Council

San Diego County’s unassuming southern region has been quietly evolving into an international trading hub, providing economic strength and diversification to San Diego, while offering the County’s last opportunities for large-scale business expansions. The business-friendly governments of South County, blossoming infrastructure and a young, competent workforce are all coming together to create the ingredients for vibrant business growth in San Diego South County.

Since its formation in 1989, the non-profit organization South County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) has made it its mission to promote and encourage economic development in the South San Diego County Region. As the organization approaches its 30thanniversary, it is important to recognize of those involved in the many milestones and accomplishments of the past three decades.

South County EDC aims to generate a positive impact in the communities of the Southern San Diego region and is fortunate to have a leader that embodies this philosophy and works day-to-day to make a difference. Cindy Gompper-Graves was appointed in December 2003 as the first full-time Executive Director and has since invested her time and hard work in a project she is passionate about – the overall amelioration and development of South County. Gompper-Graves and the SCEDC team works with local businesses and community members by offering incentives and assistance to empower and support their growth. The organization has visited thousands of businesses and helped companies retain and/or create more than 8,000 jobs.

Gompper-Graves has always admired the spirit and potential of South County businesses and its residents and is optimistic about what the future holds for the region. She truly believes in the immense potential that resides in the region and encourages others to do the same.

Along with Cindy’s leadership, the South County EDC’s team plays a crucial role in the day-to-day activities that make up the overall success of the organization. The core members of SCEDC include Efrain Ibarra, Brooke Anderson, Mitzi Ayala and Rose Bruchu. The SCEDC Board Officers include Chair Doug Kerner, Higgs Fletcher & Mack; Vice Chair Chris Holder, Colliers; Vice Chair Bob Penner, HomeFed; 2ndVice Chair Norma Hernandez, Education Liaison; 2ndVice Chair John Moot, Schwartz Semerdijian Cualey & Moot LLP; Secretary Tom Starr, Southwest Airlines Co.; and Treasurer Sally Preston, Mission Federal Credit Union.

Cindy Gomper-Graves and the South County Economic Development Council want to thank Southwest Airlines and Tom Starr, Southwest Airlines Ground Operations Manager, for their intricate help and valuable contributions to South County EDC throughout the years. Southwest Airlines generously donated gift cards as well as tote bags made from recycled leather of their plane seats for SCEDC’s Open House this past February and have donated round-trip tickets to encourage community businesses to become members of the organization. Tom Starr has volunteered to lead the organization’s 30-year celebration, where SCEDC will gather their members to recognize their many accomplishments and turn their eye toward the next era.

“I am immensely proud of the relationships that we’ve built throughout the years at South County EDC and it has been my great pleasure to work with this organization,” said Gompper-Graves. “At the end of the day, SCEDC and the community have given much more to me than I have given to it, and I look forward to continuing my work to create a positive change.”