Over a year ago, Dick Devos was appointed to the Management Advisory Council by the Federal Aviation Administration. Now he joins his wife, the 11th US Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, in Washington as well. The council has been working towards new policies, regulations, future growth plans, and budgets. With 13 members from transportation and aviation backgrounds, Devos is the only one with a predominantly business background. For many years, he was the President and CEO of Amway, and now he works as the founder of The Windquest Group, a private equity firm that helps companies for a better world, such as Boxed Water.
The nomination was praised by the CEO of Southwest and CEO of Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Devos has worked with both of them as he helped to expand the Gerald R. Ford airport in Grand Rapids over two decades. He started in 1999 when the airport had its first relaunch since it was founded in the early 1900s. At the time, the airport had fallen into a period of stagnant growth.
The ticket sales were still quite slow after the relaunch, which is why the CEO reached out to Dick Devos. Over the years, Devos had been working with several business leaders in the area. The Devos Family Foundation has donated over $134 million to Grand Rapids and other areas around Michigan. However, Grand Rapids has been Devos’ main focus for many years.
He saw that the city was experiencing slow growth in the 1990s. Business leaders complained about the lack of commerce in downtown, specifically. While there were many plans to build a sports arena and convention center, Devos didn’t see the point in building these structures away from the downtown area. He wanted to work with other business leaders who had the same idea when it came to city planning. With that, he joined Grand Action, a committee created to bring Grand Action into the future with different development projects.
This was the first step for Devos to change the face of the city and make it into a business traveler destination. This led to the creation of the Devos Performing Arts Center and a convention center in downtown. Then he turned his sights to the airport to open up the airport to other business traveler destinations like Orlando, Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver.
Devos saw that he could make a difference for his hometown by making it into a place where people traveled for conferences or picked up a flight to popular destinations. He even worked with airlines to expand their destinations and terminals.
It’s this passion and experience that makes him a quintessential member of the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. Throughout the past year, the FAA has been changing and creating new policies, regulations, and budgets. This all goes into helping the aviation industry grow in America after President Trump challenged the agency during his presidential run.
The council will meet every quarter to help the FAA with its policies and updates. The council is just in an advisory role, but everyone on the civilian board has vast experience with transportation authority, policies, and regulations.
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