New Mexico mourns bank executive killed on Southwest plane


Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Family, friends and community leaders are mourning the death of a bank executive on a Southwest Airlines jet that blew an engine as she was flying home from a business trip to New York.

Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two, was well known in New Mexico, where she had built a career over more than two decades in community relations and communications after graduating from the University of New Mexico.

Gov. Susana Martinez called Riordan “an incredible woman who put her family and community first” and said her loss would be felt across the state.

“The hearts of all New Mexicans are with the Riordan family,” Martinez, a Republican, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Before starting with Wells Fargo in 2008, Riordan had worked for the University of New Mexico hospital system in public relations and for Citigroup.

At Wells Fargo, she was the vice president for community relations and was in charge of managing employee volunteer and board service to nonprofit groups in New Mexico and parts of Texas. She also served on numerous boards and oversaw the annual United Way community campaign.

Mike English, a spokesman for Wells Fargo in New Mexico, said Riordan “was a well-known leader who was loved and respected.”

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said his thoughts and prayers were with Riordan’s family.

“Today, Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community,” Keller, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Keller said Riordan’s leadership and philanthropic efforts “made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed.”

State Attorney General Hector Balderas called Riordan a dear friend.

“I was honored to work with her on financial literacy issues for over a decade,” said Balderas, a Democrat. “Jennifer was exceptionally active and passionate in working to improve our community, and I express our sincerest condolences to her husband and children.”

Members of the broadcast community shared their condolences on social media, remembering the volunteer efforts and outreach spurred by Riordan through her many roles in the community.

In a tweet, the New Mexico Broadcasters Association expressed its heartbreak over Riordan’s death, noting that she was a former board member and scholarship winner.

Riordan also served on the boards of Junior Achievement of New Mexico, New Mexico First and The Catholic Foundation.

Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said Riordan loved Albuquerque and worked tirelessly to help others.

“Her leadership in numerous charitable causes made a real impact on our state and earned her the respect and admiration of New Mexicans across the political spectrum,” Cangiolosi said.

Riordan and her husband, Michael Riordan, a former chief operating officer for Albuquerque, had been married for more than 20 years.

The pilot of the plane, a twin-engine Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, took it into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines Co., which is based in Dallas, said there were no problems with the plane or its engine when it was inspected on Sunday.

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