Walter J. Zable
File:Walter J. Zable.jpg
Photo courtesy of Cubic Corporation
Born(1915-06-17)June 17, 1915
Los Angeles, California
DiedJune 23, 2012(2012-06-23) (aged 97)
San Diego, California
Cause of deathNatural causes
Alma materCollege of William & Mary (B.S)
University of Florida (M.S.)
OccupationFounder, chairman and CEO of Cubic Corporation
Years active1951–2012
Known forWorld's oldest public company CEO at time of death; All-American college football player; semi-professional football player for the Richmond Arrows
Home townBoston, Massachusetts
Board member ofUniversity of San Diego
Spouse(s)Betty Virginia Carter Zable
Cubic Corporation bio

Walter Joseph Zable (June 17, 1915 – June 23, 2012) was an American businessman, entrepreneur, former semi-professional football player and standout college athlete. He was the founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cubic Corporation, a public corporation providing military defense equipment and automated fare collection equipment. At the time of Zable's death, he was the world's oldest public company CEO and Cubic was worth 1.28 billion dollars.[1] Earlier in his life he had played semi-professional football for the Richmond Arrows in the Dixie League. Some sources also mention him as having played for the National Football League's New York Giants, although no official Giants records exist of him having suited up for the team.

Early life and college Edit

Walter J. Zable was born in Los Angeles, California.[2] However, he grew up in Boston, Massachusetts during the Great Depression while his father worked as a mill worker.[2] Before Zable even reached high school he had already taken a keen interest in electronics.[2] During the daytime he would work on his athletic ability—specifically his football, baseball and track and field prowess—and at nighttime he was enrolled in Boston Trade School where he would take classes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wentworth Institute of Technology.[2] Years later Zable recounted that "electronics and athletics were [his] life."[2] He graduated from high school in 1933.

Zable earned a full athletic scholarship to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.[3] He chose William & Mary over Harvard University which was much closer to home and also offered him an academic scholarship.[1] Zable suited up for the Indians football team from 1934 through 1936.[4] He enjoyed success on the gridiron and earned honorable mention All-America accolades his senior year.[4] In addition to football, Zable also lettered in baseball, basketball, and track and field.[4]

Post college Edit

Football and business careers Edit

Shortly after graduating college in 1937 with a bachelor's degree in physics, Zable played semi-professional football.[2][3] He suited up for the Richmond Arrows in the short-lived Dixie League.[3] After a year of playing football, he enrolled in the University of Florida Graduate School and earned his master's degree in physics in 1939.[2] Zable then moved on to business. Prior to starting Cubic Corporation in 1951, Zable worked for Sperry Gyroscope Company, Federal Telecommunications Laboratories of ITT, Flight Research Company, and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.[5] Along the way he married his first wife, Betty Virginia (Carter) Zable, and then they moved to southern California.[2] He began Cubic Corporation in 1951 to launch his first product, a device used to measure and test microwave output.[2] Over the next six decades, Zable would expand Cubic Corporation into a billion dollar-plus engineering giant that employs approximately 8,000 people worldwide.[3]

Philanthropy Edit

Walter J. Zable and his late wife, Betty Virginia Zable were philanthropist as well. In 1990, for instance, they donated $10 million to their alma mater, and in return they named their football stadium after him.[6] Back in 1971, he "established the Walter J. Zable/San Diego Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (NFFCHF) to help preserve the genuine sportsmanship and integrity exhibited in high school and college football," according to an official San Diego City Council proclamation in honor of his 90th birthday.[3] Players such as Junior Seau and Mark Malone benefited directly from this NFF chapter.[3] Recognizing his contribution to both athletics and his fellow man, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bestowed him with the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 1987, which is the highest honor the NCAA confers.[3] Past winners include George H. W. Bush, Bill Cosby, and Bob Dole.

Death Edit

On June 23, 2012, Zable died at age 97 from natural causes.[4] At the time of his death he was survived by his son Walter C. Zable, daughter Karen (Zable) Cox, and five grandchildren.[1] He was the world's oldest public company CEO and Cubic was worth 1.28 billion dollars.[1]

Awards and honors Edit

References Edit

External links Edit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.