Dick DeVos is in the news with his recent appointment to the Management Advisory Council by the Federal Aviation Administration. The decision comes after DeVos worked in the aviation industry for many years, supporting the Gerald R. Ford Airport and growth of Grand Rapids.
As his hometown, Grand Rapids entered a period of stagnant growth in the early 1990s. Through several city work projects, DeVos helped to build up the downtown business district and support the business leaders in the area through Grand Action. As a committee, the group was responsible for the DeVos Performing Arts Center and convention center. The foundation has donated $134 million to charity, cultural projects, health services, community organizations, and charter schools.
DeVos has also worked with the Grand Rapids International Airport. He started by working with the CEO on expanding the airline offerings for different cities. While the airport launched in the late 1990s, it immediately had issues with traffic. The CEO talked to DeVos about working with them to bring in new airlines and expand terminals.
The terminals expanded for Air Tran Airways after DeVos spoke to the CEO about expansion and what that could mean for both the airport and airline. The airline agreed to adding on flights to Vegas, St. Louis, Denver, and Orlando. In the next five years, however, DeVos would have to talk to the CEO of Southwest.
Southwest took over the airline eventually, leading to an issue for the airport. The takeover resulted in many terminals being shuttered at different airports. DeVos contacted Southest’s CEO to keep all of the terminals at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The move really helped the airport to remain strong throughout stagnant growth for the airline industry.
As the years passed, the airport needed some upgrades. DeVos worked with many airlines to support a renovation project that would re-build certain parts of the airport and add in new areas, such as a business center and upgraded food courts. Technology upgrades also became a major part of the expansion. The $45 million makeover will be completed by the end of 2018.
DeVos has always been one of the successful business leaders in America. He led sales for Amway for many years, including a period in the 1980s when he had the most global sales out of anyone in the company. By leading the company, he has helped Amway expand. Now he works with startups as the CEO of The Windquest Group.
While DeVos has had political aspirations before, this is the first time that he will actually be serving in Washington. He joins his wife, US Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has been one of his greatest supporters throughout their marriage. The pair have also championed for educational reform together, including their work on the “Kids First! Coalition” bill that was nearly passed in the early 2000s for educational choice in Michigan.
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