Dick DeVos has worked as a civic and community leader for many years. His work in his hometown of Grand Rapids has provided substantial business growth and opportunity for the city and its business leaders. As DeVos heads to Washington to sit on the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the Member Advisory Council.
As the former president of Amway and an avid pilot, his FAA appointment comes after years working to help the Grand Rapids Airport expand and grow in revenue. Early on in his career, he saw an opportunity to help his city’s economy by finding opportunities in aviation. He started by working with business leaders to fund and support projects that would not cripple the city. DeVos was familiar with the Pontiac SilverDome fiasco for Detroit after the Pistons and Lions exited the city in the 1970s.
Dick DeVos has always been a prudent businessman dating back to his days at Amway. There were projects coming up for construction, and some were floated publicly, such as a new sports multiplex and convention center for downtown Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos saw a better direction that would provide influx of traffic to Grand Rapids without the costly construction and financial burden of creating something that the city did not need.
He talked to the President of Air Tran at the time and worked with the airline to bring in more flights, expanding what Grand Rapids airport had to offer to the public. This resulted in new revenue for the company, and when it was bought by Southwest airlines, DeVos went to work again to convince the airline to keep the new terminals and also help expand what the airport had to offer.
This resulted in $45 million to makeover the airport and bring new terminals for even more economical growth. Dick DeVos now works to help airlines in a much different position as part of the FAA council. He wants to work on helping the aviation market grow and expand to new heights, as well as promote business practices that will keep aviation at the top.
He goes to Washington where his wife Betsy DeVos is the US Secretary of Education and has been achieving huge changes in education policy throughout the United States. Together, the DeVos family has given over $184 million to organizations in education, healthcare, entertainment, arts, and culture. Their work has helped support many businesses in Grand Rapids. They work together now to help a much bigger audience and see that new policies reflect what they have been doing to support Grand Rapids for so many years.
Dick DeVos also helped start an aviation school in Grand Rapids with his wife Betsy, the only one currently that is providing education on how to work in the aviation industry. The academy is only for aviation students and started in 2010 right within the Grand Rapids airport. The school prepares students for careers in the aviation industry. DeVos also has a flying license. He frequently pilots airplanes, jets, and helicopters, so he has experience in the industry from multiple levels and tries to help students with his knowledge so that they can be better pilots and understand how the aviation industry works. http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170602/NEWS/170609993/dick-and-betsy-devos