Here we pay homage to the innovators and disrupters whose vision shaped the lifestyle that's now synonymous with San Diego.  Without their vision and grit, an organization like ours wouldn't be possible.  Sustainable businesses and great communities are built on passion and those we honor below, are living proof of just that.  



When founder Ralph Rubio and a few friends from San Diego State University were on spring break in San Felipe, Baja California they encountered their first fish taco experience at a local stand.  Wondering why something so simply delicious wasn't available back home, Ralph was inspired to open a restaurant.  The first official Rubio's was opened in 1983 as a small taco stand with a patio in Pacific Beach.  Fast forward 35 years and fish tacos are a standard in every day coastal living.  Now known as Rubio's Coastal Grill, the company now has 200 stores and over 4000 employees, and the original location on Mission Bay Drive is still in operation today.

It was a simple concept and I wasn’t aiming to create Rubio’s as we know it today.  It’s just an example of how good food, done well can be a success
— Ralph Rubio


Reef Sandals

Reef was founded in 1984 by two brothers from Argentina, Fernando and Santiago Aguerre, who wanted to share their love for surf travel and beach culture with the world. So, they created a high-quality sandal that could keep up with their active (ahem, party) lifestyle. They moved to La Jolla, CA to manage the Reef brand and produce the iconic sandal that made Reef what it is today.

Callaway Golf

In 1984 Ely Callaway could be found selling golf clubs out of his Cadillac in Carlsbad - and it took him a couple twists and turns to get there. Previously a Burlington Industries textile president, Ely Callaway Jr. was also an avid golfer and among his favorite club brands was Hickory Sticks USA, which was known for producing clubs with hickory shafts and steel cores. After selling his vineyards, he bought half of Hickory Sticks USA in 1982, and renamed the company "Callaway Hickory Stick USA." In 1983, he became the company's president and moved its headquarters to Carlsbad, California, then in 1984, Callaway bought the rest of the company, changed the name to its present name ‘Callaway Golf Company” in 1988 and the rest is history.

And we called the driver Big Bertha....
— Callaway Original Employee



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Liquid Force

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Surf Cup Sports

What started as a soccer club or San Diego’s best youth soccer players, Surf Soccer Club is now an internationally recognized player development program and Surf Cup Sports is globally respected for the Surf Cup and event management that is responsible for 185 Million worth of economic impact on San Diego. Surf Cup Sports reaches 200,000 participants annually and each year, more than 490,000 people attend Surf Cup Sports organized events in San Diego, generating 125,000 booked hotel rooms, more than the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and second only to Comic-Con.

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— Hope K.