Charles Nichols


Charles "Chuck" Nichols is a businessman and attorney noted for managing organizations involved in complex projects having wide public visibility.  Although professing to be retired since 2000, he was a key member of a group of San Diego community leaders that brought the decommissioned USS Midway Aircraft Carrier to the San Diego waterfront as an exciting, new naval museum and education center.  

Immediately before retiring, he led the corporate fund-raising effort for AmericaOne, the San Francisco based sailing team participating in the America’s Cup competition held in New Zealand in the year 2000.

Nichols was the president and a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Super Bowl ’98 Host Committee and was responsible for organizing, planning, financing, and managing the Host Committee’s activities in preparation for Super Bowl XXXII.

Prior to taking the Super Bowl position, Nichols was the president of America’s Cup ’95, a position he assumed in 1992, upon taking a leave-of-absence from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). 

At SAIC, Nichols was twice a member of the board of directors and held several positions as an officer of the company from 1970 through 1992, including the post of Corporate Counsel and Secretary until 1980.  Later as Senior Vice President, he headed the Aerospace Systems Group.  In 1984 he founded the SAIC Employee Ethics Committee and served as its chairman for four years.  He also chaired the steering committee of the Partnership for America’s Cup Technology (PACT), a cooperative effort that helped launch the boat design programs of several American defense teams during the 1992 America’s Cup competition.  During much of his career at SAIC, he was the company’s public spokesperson and was responsible for the company’s government and media relations.

Nichols completed his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University in 1963 where he was designated a Distinguished Military Graduate.  He received a law degree from the University of Texas in 1966.

Nichols is an avid sailor who has won the US Offshore Sailing Championship, three North American championships, two US championships in two different boat classes and numerous Southern California championships.  In 2013 he won the Invitational International Masters Racing Championship and in 2015 he led a team that placed 2nd out of 61 racing yachts in the Long Beach to Honolulu transpacific yacht race.   He is Past Chairman of the Board of Directors and a present member of the Board of the USS Midway Museum, a past Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, and is Director Emeritus of the Professional Service Council, a Washington DC based trade association representing professional and technical service companies.  He also is the Chair of the Board of Sailing Events Association, San Diego, a non-profit corporation organized to bring high performance racing sailboats to San Diego, and a director of Space Micro, Inc., a San Diego company developing space instrumentation for defense and commercial applications.-

Interview – October 5, 2016

Interviewed by Helen Weiss, Historian