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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

No. 18 , Walter J. Zable

Estimated net worth: $250 million

Though 91 years old, Walter J. Zable, founder of San Diego’s Cubic Corp., remains at the helm of one of the largest defense electronics companies on the West Coast.

Zable launched Cubic when he was 55. Today, the company has 1,164 employees in San Diego, with two units, defense and transportation systems.

Cubic provides the military with customized training systems and tactical engagement simulation systems for defense-related projects.

It designs and manufactures smart card readers, and magnetic ticket transports for public transit systems.

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Zable, president and chief executive officer, shows no signs of slowing down.

“So many of us look at our life and figure when we can retire, but I don’t think Walter has any intention of ever retiring,” said Brian Fogarty, president of the Walter J. Zable San Diego chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall & Fame Inc.

Zable, class of 1937, and his wife, Betty, class of ’40, met at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

In 1990, the couple contributed $10 million to the college to be used for athletics, graduate student aid and other various needs. In appreciation, the school named the football arena the Walter J. Zable Stadium.

“There are not many 91-year-old people that I know who are as spry or alert as Walt is,” said Terry Driscoll, 59, athletic director at William & Mary.

Driscoll, who has known Zable for 11 years, said Zable was able to play 14 of 19 holes in a game of golf when he was 90. Driscoll describes him as a man who has never forgotten who he is, and the type of person who others can look up to.

“He really epitomizes an individual who has utilized all of his abilities,” Driscoll said. “He is very intellectual and has achieved a tremendous level of success, but he has always shared his success, via philanthropy, and giving his time.”

For 24 years, Fogarty also enjoyed a friendly and working relationship with Zable, admiring his stamina, astute character and generosity.

Zable had a professional football career with the Richmond Arrows and the New York Giants. In 1980, he received the National Football Foundation’s highest honor, a Gold Medal.

“The man was running and doing track and field in his 70s when I met him,” Fogarty said in amazement.

, Amy Yarnall


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