The FAA’s civilian board has a fresh face. Dick DeVos, husband to the U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was recently appointed to the Management Advisory Council. All appointees are volunteers and come from different backgrounds in policymaking and aviation. Many of whom have known of Dick DeVos due to his history as the President of Amway and his involvement in the remodeling of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Until a few years ago, there was not much to really love about the Grand Rapids International Airport. It was falling apart in early 2000s. Many attribute Dick DeVos for being the reason that the airport was not closed down. In fact, it just finished a $45 million makeover that will reveal a new food court, business center, and terminals in 2018.
DeVos is the former president of Amway, as well as the current founder and CEO of Windquest Group. Those business accomplishments do not nearly define the man. You have to also count in his love of aviation. He is an avid pilot and has several licenses to fly all types of aircrafts, including his own jets and helicopters.
That passion also dips into education, which is fitting for the husband of the US Secretary of Education. His work at the aviation charter school at the Grand Rapids International Airport has created more opportunities for young people to enter the aviation workforce as pilots, engineers, and flight control administrators.
DeVos contributed his business leadership to the turnaround of the airport, talking to Air Tran Airways in the early 2000s about ways to increase the airport’s growth and also provide economic opportunities to Air Tran. The company soon after opened more terminals. When the company was purchased by Southwest in the later 2000s, DeVos made a phone call to the CEO to talk about the possibilities if Southwest did the opposite of what it was doing in so many other airports. As part of the takeover, it was shutting down hundreds of terminals. DeVos wanted to prevent that from happening to the Grand Rapids airport.
It’s one of the reasons that Jim Gill, CEO of the Gerald R. Ford airport, said of DeVos, “Dick will be a tremendous asset to the FAA Management Advisory Council. He has deep roots in aviation as a pilot, and he is an outstanding partner with our airport.”
His ties to the Gerald R. Ford airport do run deep, but his love for his hometown shows in the many ways that the family foundation has contributed to cultural and healthcare centers throughout the city, including the DeVos Performing Arts Center.
Public and private sector aviation and transportation government leaders are also joining the Management Advisory Council. Phillip Trenary, CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, also joins the board.
Visit http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.