Most people have seen the DeVos family in the news. Known for their political contributions and philanthropy, as well as business acumen, both Dick and Betsy DeVos have shown political aspirations. Now that Betsy DeVos has won the 11th office of the US Secretary of Education, her husband has also moved to Capitol Hill. He now is working with the FAA on a new project.
The Management Advisory Council was set up by the FAA in 2017 to help the agency with upcoming changes to policies, regulations, budgets, and new plans for growth. How does Dick DeVos plan to help with that? For one, he has been working with aviation leaders for many years, especially in his hometown’s airport. Throughout the 2000s, he has worked tirelessly to expand the Grand Rapid airport, which completed a $45 million expansion in 2018.
The new expansion brought in technology and a new business traveler’s area to go with the audience that the airport has attracted over the past two decades. In 1999, the airport wasn’t doing nearly as well. That’s when it relaunched as the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and started getting more attention but not necessarily more ticket sales. Dick DeVos stepped in to help. As someone with a lot of connections in the business world, he was able to help the CEO of the airport by talking to the executives at AirTran Airways in the early 2000s.
He convinced the CEO of AirTran to open up new destinations at their terminal in the Grand Rapids location. The idea was that if they could start bringing in traffic from business travelers, that they would be able to put Grand Rapids on the map as a business destination for conferences and conventions. DeVos had already just finished building the DeVos Place Convention Center downtown, and he was planning on bringing in other companies and business leaders to create more economy in his hometown.
In addition to the business travelers, DeVos has worked with many companies to improve aviation at the airport. He has also co-founded an aviation academy where students can train to become pilots. All of this signifies that he is a great candidate for the FAA’s new council, which is a civilian board. It’s made up of 13 members from transportation authorities to former airline executives. DeVos will be meeting with the council once every quarter for the next year.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.