Dick DeVos is in the news again. His family has been working political circles, which is evident by the amount of time DeVos and his wife, the 11th US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have spent in the public eye on Capitol Hill. The pair make a great team and have proven that their partnership has changed the face of their hometown. The city of Grand Rapids used to be a small place, but with the help of the DeVos Family Foundation, their hometown has blossomed and grown over the past three decades.
In addition, Dick DeVos has recently joined the Federal Aviation Administration through their Management Advisory Council. The council was set up in 2017 with 13 members from transportation authority and airline executive backgrounds. It’s clear to see that DeVos has a business background, but many were surprised to know that DeVos is more of an aviator as well.
From the time he was young, DeVos has always been obsessed with planes. He got his first pilot’s license when he was young, and now he has licenses for several jets and helicopters. He even co-founded his own charter school to train students to become pilots. The West Michigan Aviation Academy is on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
The airport is actually the biggest reason why DeVos was invited to the special civilian council by the FAA. While the FAA has a lot of challenges ahead in policies and regulation changes, they also wanted someone who could help with strategies for future growth. After all, it was President Trump who challenged the FAA to pull America’s aviation industry out of the dumps. This came after the President said that aviation in America had fallen behind other foreign airports.
DeVos has plenty of experience with upgrading airports and keeping them in business. He was the one who put the Grand Rapids airport on the map, so to speak. Before 1999, no one knew that Grand Rapids had an airport, probably. It was a small executive airport that had a handful of flights. DeVos changed all of that in the early 2000s when he made one phone call to the CEO of AirTran Airways.
He asked the CEO if he would be open to adding new flights to business traveler destinations. DeVos had a plan. He had already built up parts of downtown to be more entertaining and conducive to conferences, reminiscent of places like Orlando and Vegas. He wanted Grand Rapids to join the business traveler circuit as well.
So AirTran Airways agreed to four new destinations. This would include Orlando, Vegas, Denver, and St. Louis. All of a sudden, ticket sales picked up and the airport was booming. This led to a $45 million expansion that was completed in 2018.
Now that DeVos has joined the FAA, it’s clear that he’s here to stay. He will be meeting with the FAA once every quarter to discuss policies, regulations, and future growth plans.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.