From Amway arena to successful entrepreneur, Dick DeVos has done it all. Now, he will take his passion for aviation and business to a new level with his latest appointment to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. Many wonder if this appointment was a smart decision as DeVos is not exactly an engineer nor politician, but his savvy aviation business knowledge has created incredible opportunities for the industry in the past.
This knowledge has grown his hometown’s airport to nearly double its size. A massive $45 million renovation project is expected to finish soon that will add new terminals, technology, and food court options to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
However, you would not have seen this from the airport back in the early 2000s. At this point in time, the aviation industry was shuttering terminals. DeVos saw the opportunity to work with Air Tran Airways to secure more terminals for Gerald R. Ford airport. He wanted to increase jobs and grow the city economically in a smart way.
He even chose to form a coalition called Grand Action that joined other business leaders in the area to build the city’s central business district. As far back as the early 1990s, DeVos has been working with community leaders to create more business opportunities in Grand Rapids. He saw plans for a sports multiplex that would have taken away traffic from downtown businesses. He worked with leaders to stop the plans and look at areas where they could rebuild the city around the downtown business area.
That led to the construction of the DeVos Perming Arts Center, as well as other community centers and a convention center. Through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation, over $134 million has been donated to the arts, education, community centers, family services programs, and so much more in the state of Michigan. DeVos even ran for governor in 2006. With their foundation, they have made substantial progress through charter schools as well.
One of the reasons that DeVos was tapped for the FAA’s council also stems from his love of aviation education. He helped found the aviation charter school at the Gerald R. Ford airport, for example. The new school teaches students how to be pilots and aviation administrators, as well as engineering. DeVos has contributed to the school by serving as both mentor and instructor to the students.
As DeVos joins the council, he will be working with 12 other individuals. They will be able to make decisions on budgets, policies, regulations, and business practices for the future. As DeVos has a lot of experience in support of business growth for Grand Rapids and aviation, that same experience will come in handy as he works with directors and engineers in aviation to create a better future.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.
Posted in: Philanthropy