Beach walks inspire Hudson Drake after a long, high-powered career


A retired aerospace executive and La Jolla resident, Hudson Drake is respected in both the business and government service arenas. His career spanned almost four decades, primarily in the leadership of companies in the aerospace, defense and electronics industries. He served in several capacities in the federal government, including Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce, and Chief of the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Industry Committee in Paris, France.

Drake won a presidential appointment as a White House Fellow in 1968, a non-partisan honor, based on leadership, professional and civic achievements. During his appointment, he served as special assistant to Vice Presidents Humphrey and Agnew.

Drake and his family returned to his native Southern California in 1972, settling in San Diego. He joined Teledyne Inc. and was president of Ryan Electronics, and subsequently, the Ryan Aeronautical Companies, before moving to the headquarters in Century City. He was responsible for nine high technology companies generating revenues in excess of $1.5 billion. He retired in 1997.

His experience with nonprofit boards includes Children’s Hospital, the UCSD Board of Overseers, and the Jonsson Cancer Center at UCLA. The Ronald MacDonald House has gained a special place in his heart, thanks to his wife Mary, who spearheaded the launch of the charity’s ROMP, its first large-scale gala.

What brought you to La Jolla?

When I was working here in San Diego, we vacationed at the Beach and Tennis Club ... couldn’t wait to retire here!

What makes this area special to you?

It is the climate, village atmosphere and wonderful friends.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add or

subtract or improve in the area?

Fix the potholes!

Who or what inspires you?

That would be my wife … and watching La Jolla sunsets together on the beach.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom would you invite?

Herodotus, Cleopatra (just finished her biography by Stacy Schife), Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and presidential scholar Doris Kearns.

What are your five favorite films of all time?

“Sound of Music,” “Titanic,” “Motorcycle Diaries,” “Cabaret” and “Patton.”

What is your most-prized possession?

The memories of our many travels around the world, and some of the artifacts we gathered along the way.

What do you do for fun?

I fly fish, golf, and walk the beach with Mary.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Following an intense and lengthy competition, being selected as a White House Fellow, and serving Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

What is your philosophy of life?

Live every day like it is your last.