I first met Verne Rayburn, who was just forced out as CEO of Eclipse Aviation, back in 1999 or so. My good friend Eric Pfeiffer, who was Economic Development Director for the City set up a great reception for Verne to try and entice him to move his fledgling aircraft company to Albuquerque. Rayburn was familiar with New Mexico and said he loved to go to the Albuquerque Dukes game when he was young. So, he ultimately decided to locate his new Light Jet Manufacturing and Design facilities for the Eclipse 500, to our city.
We owe him a debt of thanks for the vision of his company and his providing so many jobs here. He will now continue to do some work with Eclipse in Europe. But be assured that this man was the heart and soul of Eclipse.
He has fallen victim to something that is normal in the business world. His enterprise just outgrew him and moved to a new level. People should not think this is a bad thing because it isn't. His legacy will prove that.