Elusive San Diego Billionaire Featured in ‘The Predator’


Some billionaires seek the limelight to showcase their extreme success as entrepreneurial titans.  For example, think Donald Trump.  You will often see these billionaires in the media meccas of New York or Los Angeles.

However, did you know there are a number of billionaires who fly under the radar?  You won’t see them starring their own reality TV shows.  You won’t see them giving interviews on TV.  You won’t even seem them with a listing on Wikipedia. (Just about everybody who has had 30 seconds of fame is profiled on Wikipedia … even Joe the Plumber.)

San Diego is home to some of the unknown entrepreneurial titans who fly under the radar.  It’s hard to find information about them.  However, when it does become available, I’ll be sure to share them with you.

First up is Neal Blue, CEO of defense contractor General Atomics. A rare profile of Neal Blue can be found in the November 10th issue of Fortune Magazine.

Blue’s current company, General Atomics, has become popular of late for developing the Predator drone, which I have written about in previous posts. It has received praise for helping to win the war in Iraq to helping fight wildfires in California. The success of the Predator has brought attention to this large, but little known, employer in San Diego and its owner.

Neal Blue did not always fly under the radar. As you will read in the Fortune Magazine article, Blue and his brother Linden were featured on the front page of LIFE Magazine back in 1957 as the nation followed their successful attempt to fly over the Andes Mountains. That was only a year after Blue financed a college road trip from France to India “by selling articles to the New York Times and persuading Chrysler to donate a Dodge station wagon”.

Neal Blue showed an uncanny ability to carry through with adventures that only the most imaginative people ever dream about. This has led him to own signficant business and real estate assets around the world including uranium mines in Australia to oil deposits in Canada.

Read more about Blue’s story in an extensive interview he allowed for Fortune Magazine. You will learn how he took a desire for unmanned planes in the 1980s to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua (where he owned a banana plantation) to creating the Predator drone now used to fight the war in Iraq. I’ll entice you with one more quote from the article. “Over the course of his five-decade career he’s built a sprawling global business that spans four continents and enriched his family. But he has also made enemies and infuriated customers.”

If you are interested in learning more, you can see the Blue brothers in person when they are inducted into San Diego’s CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in January.

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3 Responses to “Elusive San Diego Billionaire Featured in ‘The Predator’”

  1. Mario S. says:

    We won the war in Iraq?

  2. The Best Places in San Diego says:

    Good point. I should have said something along the lines of “contributed to significantly improving the situation.”

  3. First time at this blog. A lot of useful information, I will come back to visit for sure :-)

    Giovanna Garcia

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