““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Luis Carlos Affonso
Dreams do come true, and Luis Carlos Affonso is proof. An aeronautical engineer and private pilot, he took over in the spring of 2005 as executive vice president of the newly formed Embraer Executive Aviation division, a position he described as "just where I want to be."
He is the product of an engineering education, and after 22 years with Embraer, a life designing and building airplanes for the Brazilian manufacturer is as much a calling as it is a profession. When Embraer decided to launch a business aircraft manufacturing division, it was with the blessing of then-president and CEO Mauricio Botelho that the company selected Affonso to head the effort.
After two years under his leadership, the outlook for the company's business jet division is bright. The order book for the Legacy 600, Embraer's first executive jet, has passed 150; orders for the new Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet total more than 500; and about 10 orders have been placed for the Lineage 1000, an executive/VIP version of Embraer's E190 airliner. At the National Business Aviation Association's convention in September, Affonso unveiled two more business jets currently under study. Both are clean-sheet projects, one of which was on display at the show in the form of a full-scale cabin mockup.