Dick Devos and the FAA

The news in Washington shows that people everywhere are looking out for the next female president. Some say it might be the 11th US Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. However, Dick Devos is also a candidate. After all, he did run for governor in Michigan in 2006. While he did lose, he brought more attention to education in Michigan and the Republican Party. Eventually, his wife would go onto win the most coveted place for a lifelong education reformer.


In any case, Devos has been moving in his own way inside political circles. He was nominated to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council in September 2017. The council is comprised of 13 members from all types of backgrounds, but mostly it is transportation authorities and former airline executives. So how did Devos get onto the council? For one, you’d have to know that Devos is a lifelong aviation enthusiast and an incredible airport business leader.


He didn’t start out that way. In the beginning, he was working for Amway, leading record-breaking sales globally for the company throughout the late 1980s. It wasn’t until the 1990s when he started to turn his focus to other projects, including his hometown. He saw that the economy was failing, and he wanted to do something to help the city where he lived. He turned down multiple projects because he also didn’t feel like they were being built in the right places. After all, he had seen what had happened in Detroit, and he didn’t want to build a sports arena for a nonexistent team.


However, this did mean that he wanted to put money into bringing people to Grand Rapids. He started to work with other business leaders through a committee called Grand Action. They were responsible behind the Devos Place Convention Center and Devos Performance Hall, as well as the Andel Arena. All of these were built around the downtown central business district, which is exactly what Devos wanted.


He then started to work with the nearby airport. He partnered up with the CEO of the Gerald r. Ford International Airport to bring in more traffic and start a new business strategy. Devos thought that if he could convince AirTran Airways to open up new destinations that appealed to business travelers, they would be able to bring in new revenue from an influx of travelers. The plan worked, and now the airport has just expanded under a $45 million renovation.


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