General Atomics’ Blue Brothers Get Inducted-And That’s a Good Thing

1/29/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego defense contractor SAIC has been described as “the largest company nobody’s ever heard of,” but it’s been hard to make that stick since the company’s IPO in 2006.

No matter. Another San Diego government contractor qualifies as heir apparent for the title. The only issue is that nobody outside of the company knows exactly how big General Atomics is, because it is privately held by brothers Neal and Linden Blue.

General Atomics operates as a diversified collection of affiliated technology companies. It has expertise in nuclear fission and fusion, uranium mining and processing, laser technologies, ultrawideband telecommunications, and electromagnetic propulsion. The company has more than 6,000 employees around the world, including roughly 3,100 in San Diego.

General Atomics does not disclose its revenue or profits. But as a Fortune magazine article noted in October, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which operates as an affiliated-but-independent company in San Diego, has sold more than $2.4 billion worth of unmanned aircraft—including the renowned Predator—to the U.S. military over the past decade.

Neal Blue

Neal Blue

Linden Blue

Linden Blue

That sort of success draws attention, of course, despite the Blue brothers’ penchant for keeping their profiles low. Such success also garners awards, and yesterday GA chairman and CEO Neal Blue and vice-chairman Linden were officially inducted into San Diego’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

It’s a short walk down this hall, however, as only five other San Diego entrepreneurs received the award before the Blue brothers took the stage at a luncheon yesterday. The honor was created in 2005 by San Diego’s Connect, a non-profit organization created to nurture technology innovation and encourage … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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