The San Diego 500, The Book of Influential Business Leaders, is the market’s most comprehensive product of people you should know in the business community. The 500 includes business leaders and executives who have founded or are running significant companies in terms of number of jobs, key products and services, experts who raise the level of the industry here and beyond and those who lead in the business community. The 500 is selected by the San Diego Business Journal newsroom.

Andrew Nelson

President and CEO, Willis Allen Real Estate

Andy Nelson is president of the Willis Allen firm, overseeing six offices and more than 200 real estate agents. The company is the largest independently-owned real estate firm in Southern California. He began with the firm in 1977, working for Willis Allen, the firm’s namesake. He was named president of the firm in 1980 and he purchased all the remaining ownership shares in 1995.

ALMA MATER: University of California, Santa Barbara

SERVICE TIME: He served in the U.S. Navy as a flight officer for F-4 Phantoms during the Vietnam conflict.

FUN FACT: He still owns the circular house in Mammoth Lakes he built with the help of friends when he returned from his military service.