Most people know Dick Devos as the son of Richard Devos, co-founder of Amway. Ever since the 1970s, his family has been one of the largest donors to the Republican Party, and now in 2019, Devos has been working hard to help the aviation communities where he thrives. For example, in West Michigan, you can even go to a pilot training school that was founded by Dick Devos and his wife, the US Education Secretary Betsy Devos.
Dick Devos has been working hard towards helping businesses throughout his life’s work. In the 1990s, he wanted to help Grand Rapids survive the economic recession in Michigan, and he also aided business leaders to have more growth during this time. He joined the Grand Action committee at this time to help with city planning and development. He wanted to avoid some of the issues that he had seen when the sports teams left Detroit and the Pontiac SilverDome was left abandoned.
Devos and the Grand Action committee were responsible for multiple buildings going up in the 1990s, including the Devos Place Convention Center, Devos Performance Hall, and Andel Arena. These areas would contribute to the growth of the overall metropolis, but it was what Devos did next that placed him on the map for those in aviation.
For one, he called the AirTran Airways CEO and talked about opening up new flights. Devos saw the airport as a central piece to the plan of growth. He wanted to build up Grand Rapids to be this business traveler destination with new ideas for conferences. To do this, he wanted to bring in business travelers who were already going to conference destinations like Orlando, St. Louis, Vegas, and Denver.
By getting on the same circuit, Devos thought that it would be easy to see more growth. He was right. There were instant ticket sales growth once the airport implemented new flights to these destinations. Ever since then, the airport has grown considerably, and it was even approved for $45 million renovation in 2017. The Gateway Transformation Project will be completed by 2020, however. New technologies are currently being added to the curbside area and security points.
It’s clear that Devos has had political aspirations before, but working with the FAA has allowed him to really indulge in what he could be doing differently for his aviation business partners. He has been meeting with the FAA and the committee once every quarter. The FAA has used his knowledge on airports to help with other renovations across America.
Devos will continue to work with the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. His hopes are to bring more recognition to the airport for its stance on new technology and hopes to help the FAA with funding for other airports in need of a makeover.
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