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.

Robert “Brick” Nelson

Lead Executive for San Diego, Northrop Grumman Corp.

Nelson is Northrop Grumman’s senior executive for the San Diego region, representing all business activities and the primary company interface with peer industry partners and business leaders in the region. Northrop Grumman employs about 4,000 people in the region; among its high-profile areas are the unmanned aircraft programs, including the Global Hawk family of high-altitude surveillance planes, and the Fire Scout helicopter used by the U.S. Navy. The company also produces electronics in North County – software-defined radios for F-35 Lightning II aircraft and signal jammers that U.S. troops use in defense against roadside bombs and small drones. This past fall the company proposed to a $7.8 billion purchase of Orbital ATK, which has a significant presence in Miramar and Rancho Bernardo. Nelson is a retired U.S. Navy Captain and serves on numerous civic boards, including the San Diego Military Advisory Council and Fleet Week San Diego.

ALMA MATER: Cal State University Northridge

PASSIONS: Flying jet aircraft, driving fast cars and fine Italian Brunello wines.

FAVORITE: The Nogarazza in Vicenza.