He later found himself contemplating a career on Wall Street, taking something he didn’t want to do away from where he wanted to be: back in Vermont.
“There is a brain drain,” he said, among engineers from his home country. “People go to college and come back when they’re 40 because they realize that San Francisco or Boston isn’t the meow of a cat.” Returning to Burlington in his mid-20s, Mr. Clark became director of engineering at a company that designs power converters for Tesla.
In 2017, she attended a conference where Ms. Rothblatt gave a presentation for an e-helicopter.
“There were 30 people in the room that didn’t excite me,” Ms. Rothblatt recalls. “Then Kyle stood up and said, ‘I’m an electronics and power systems specialist and I’m confident we can achieve your specification with a demonstration flight in one to two years. Other people were shaking their heads. He was probably the youngest man in the room. So I came up to him during the break and said, ‘Where is your company?’ I said. And he said, ‘I live in Vermont.
A few weeks later, after a second meeting, Mr. Clark drew a watercolor of his own design and sent it to Ms. Rothblatt. Within hours, $1.5 million in startup capital for Beta Technologies had been transferred to his bank account.
“He drew a beautiful design,” said Ms. Rothblatt.
A prototype with four tilting propellers was assembled in eight months and Mr. Clark himself piloted the vehicle. Built in Burlington, the plane was supposed to fly over Lake Champlain, away from population centers.
Mr. Clark told an audience at MIT in 2019: “Flying was so much fun that we found an excuse for every opportunity we could.” out. After the Arctic tern, he created an aerodynamic prototype, a small, slow bird that can fly uncanny distances without landing.
Since then, Beta’s workforce has grown from 30 to over 350. The company’s headquarters has expanded into several buildings that surround the runway at Burlington International Airport and are expanded with plans for an additional 40-acre campus.