Dick DeVos, the former President of Amway and current CEO of Windquest Group, has just been appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s new civilian board panel. The Management Advisory Council for the FAA has 13 members from all different backgrounds, but many of whom come from policymaking and aviation within Washington. DeVos now joins them to help inform the FAA on policies, spending, regulations, and other issues facing the aviation industry.
As the airline industry battles an air fare war, there are many questions on how stable the industry is and what can be done to help the aviation business succeed in the next few years. Many wonder how DeVos is capable of serving, but to know that answer, you would have to know a little bit about DeVos’ passion for aviation.
DeVos began his love for aviation when he was young. He acquired his pilot licenses early. He currently flies jets and helicopters, and he has his own hangar at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. In addition, he is involved with aviation education as well. His wife and him founded an aviation charter school that is located on the grounds of the Grand Rapids airport. While many people may not agree with charter schools, it’s a great opportunity for students to take their passion for flying and turn it into a career goal.
DeVos is the former President of Amway, but his business savvy skills date back to before he was employed at Amway. As the son of Amway Founder Rich DeVos, Dick was always destined to be a business leader. He started to work within his Grand Rapid community in the early 1990s. He wanted to help businesses create growth and bring back jobs to downtown Grand Rapids. There had been some recent developments that floated a new sports and convention center in the city, but it was away from the downtown business district.
This was detrimental to the growth of Grand Rapids, in DeVos’ mind. He saw the issues that had faced Detroit after the construction of the SilverDone and consequences from the Detroit Lions and Pistons leaving the city. He didn’t want to do the same thing in Grand Rapids, so he blocked the construction and looked for other opportunities to bring growth to the city.
This is the way that he helped turn Gerald R. Ford into a booming international airport. He worked with Air Tran Airways to bring in more terminals and destination flights, adding new cities like Orlando, Denver, Vegas, and St. Louis. He then talked to Southwest CEO in the later 2000s to keep those same terminals after rumors sprouted that they would be shuttering terminals across US airports.
His work brought new life to the airport and new business travel to Grand Rapids from Canada. It allowed business travelers to go to more destinations from Michigan and also funded a $46 million makeover for the airport that will be completed in 2018.
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