by Lydia Cobb | photo by Spark Photography

San Diego in Focus

How does one become the special assistant to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer? It comes with experience – and lots of it. Stephen Cushman is a fourth generation San Diegan who is continuing the Cushman family tradition of civic leadership. His family came to San Diego in the 1860s. They were ranchers and real estate investors. “Inspired by my father’s community commitment, I’ve dedicated my career to civic service, including serving on more than 70 boards and commissions,” reflected Stephen Cushman.

By age nine, Stephen managed two delivery routes of the family-owned paper. He’s been at work ever since and started and owned new ventures – including careers in the travel and automotive industries, each respectively for 26 years. He is chairman of the board for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and is actively involved with the San Diego Military Advisory Council and Downtown San Diego partnership, among several boards.

Name: Stephen P. Cushman
Profession: Business Owner, Civic Leader
Community: Scripps Ranch since 1988
Hobbies: Fishing, scuba diving, running, travel, spending time with family
Favorite Local Spot: Miramar Lake

Stephen is a 2015 “Great Character,” selected for his civic engagement in ways that are both “illuminating and inspiring” by German manufacturer Montblanc in its philanthropic venture with Departures magazine’s Great Characters campaign. This honor recognizes his work for Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, in the Sharp Healthcare System, where he is chair of the marketing board subcommittee and member of its advocacy committee.

It’s tough to define his biggest achievements. Stephen reflected, “Helping Mitch Mitchell save the San Diego Food Bank (now the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank), serving seven San Diego mayors, and serving 12 years on the board for the Port of San Diego.” His San Diego Rotary Club 33 named him “Mr. San Diego” in 2013.


He’s been married for 53 years to his wife, Marjorie, and they’ve lived in Scripps Ranch since 1988. “You follow your kids,” shared Stephen. “Our oldest daughter moved here and we followed. Now both daughters and two of our four grandchildren have homes in Scripps Ranch.” A favorite getaway is cruising and fishing on his boat in Alaska. Back in action, Stephen is working on the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center and representing the family in the operation of Grossmont Shopping Center. He’s also doing financial planning for his grandchildren and unborn great grandchildren. Stephen Cushman, at the core, is a family man making San Diego a better place now and for its future children.