Dick DeVos is a busy man who always finds the time to support a good cause. As an aviation enthusiast and pilot, he has found many ways to support the aviation industry in Michigan and the United States. When he was recently asked to join the civilian panel that watches over the Federal Aviation Administration, he couldn’t say no. The Management Advisory Council has 13 members, and DeVos is now one of them. The group is in operation to advise the senior management of the organization on matters related to regulation, strategy, money management, and policies. He will serve for three years and will continue to take care of his business dealings while doing so.
Dick DeVos is also responsible for the growth of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Some time back, he made the decision to call the CEO of AirTran so he could convince him of the merits of offering flights out of the airport. He was able to negotiate a deal where the airline company would offer nonstop flights, and then something fortunate happened. Airtran was purchased by Southwest Airlines, which was another airline company DeVos had been hoping to convince to come to the airport. Others had tried to talk the airline into doing so, but they had failed. Instead of begging Southwest to offer service there, DeVos appealed to the airline’s better senses by pointing out the benefits of doing so. He was successful, and his efforts led to a large increase in passengers, which is now helping to fund millions of dollars in upgrades.
Dick DeVos also created The West Michigan Aviation Academy, which resides on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The public school now educates 600 students who travel from all over the region. The school is so popular that is has to hold a public lottery every year to decide which lucky students get the opportunity to attend. The West Michigan Aviation Academy started out in a dingy office space in the airport but now has its own building where hopeful students get a chance to live their aviation dreams.
Dick DeVos is a businessman and billionaire who dedicates a lot of his time to helping improve his country. During the 1990s, he stopped a plan that would have seen a sports arena and convention center built just north of the downtown section of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He had been witness to a similar plan that had gone wrong in Detroit when the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills was constructed for the city’s sports teams. It wasn’t long after it was built that the Lions and Pistons left Detroit, and this ended up costing the city quite a bit of money.
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