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OC Insider: Youth Being Served

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology does, indeed, have a football team: The Engineers, who play in Division III of the NCAA.

Last year, they finished with three straight wins, boosting their record to 4 and 5, though who knows how their season could’ve turned out if they had the services of Ethan Thornton, a wide receiver from Texas’ Boerne Samuel V. Champion High School, who in 2022 signed a national letter of intent to play at MIT.

Thornton, a 2022 National Merit Scholarship winner, and a member of the Academic All-State Team, never played for the team after dropping out of the school during his freshman year.

That decision appears to be paying off. See the front page for more on the quiet entry into Orange County for $335M-valued Mach Industries.

Whether Thornton, who was still a teen as of last year, turns out to be OC’s next Palmer Luckey remains to be seen, but there are already plenty of common connections, including investors and a focus on unmanned aircraft for military use at their respective companies.

Thornton and Anduril Industries CEO Brian Shimpf are connected on LinkedIn, too.

Anduril Industries founder Palmer Luckey, now a grizzled 31-year-old, has paid attention to Mach Industries and its fundraising prowess.

Luckey, who has been critical of Silicon Valley VCs not engaging enough with businesses that work with the Pentagon, namechecked the Huntington Beach firm late last year in an interview with Breaking Defense, following a fundraising round for Mach Industries.

Sequoia Capital “is out there saying that they’re going to be investing in more defense companies. They just invested in Mach Industries, which was their first defense investment they’ve ever done,” he told the military trade publications.

“That’s a pretty big shift,” Luckey said. “I’ve actually never raised money from Sequoia ever, but they are one of like the blue-chip VC leaders. And so, for them to make their first defense investment ever is a very good sign of the times.”

The Wall Street Journal’s longtime quirky, front page daily feature, “the A-Hed,” last week homed in on a pair of locals, Orange-based architecture firm AO, and Newport Beach developer Scot Matteson, for their sky-high skyscraper plans in Oklahoma City, which were also profiled in the April 15 print edition of the Business Journal.

The online feature, which counted skeptical comments from locals, noted that the 1,063-foot height discrepancy between the proposed 134-story Legends Tower and the next tallest building in the city would be, by a wide margin, the biggest such gap in any city in the U.S.

There’s just an 82-foot difference between LA’s two tallest towers, the Wilshire Grand Central and U.S. Bank Tower, for comparison’s sake.

We all make mistakes, it appears: our profile of the OKC tower plans misidentified the name of the Scot Matteson-led development group that’s working on the project, it’s Matteson Capital.

The Wall Street Journal added this correction to its online story: Scot Matteson dated one of the Real Housewives of Orange County. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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