Dick Devos just completed one year in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. He was appointed in September 2017. The move made many in aviation praise the FAA. Devos has the right type of business acumen to work with others on the council. He comes from an eclectic background, having worked as the President and CEO of Amway for many years and then founding his own private equity business, The Windquest Group.
However, it’s his work with the Gerald R. Ford International AIrport in Grand Rapids that made the FAA select him. For one, the airport has benefited greatly from the partnership with Devos. Many do not realize how much Devos has helped with the airport for over two decades. It started in the 1990s.
At the time, Devos was just coming off a period of time at Amway as the Vice President. He helped generate record-breaking sales internationally at the company before deciding that he wanted to work in his hometown. He joined forces with other business leaders to create Grand Action. This committee sought to build up Grand Rapids.
However, Devos got involved to ensure that plans didn’t take away from downtown. There were many plans floated across his desk. One would have been for a sports arena and convention center located away from downtown. He had seen what had happened Detroit with the Pontiac Silverdome and didn’t want to repeat it in his hometown.
He worked with the Devos Family Foundation to build numerous cultural areas around downtown, centering in the business district. This would help drive new commerce and create a busier, rapidly growing city. The first step was to build the Devos Performing Arts Center followed by a convention center.
Devos then worked with the CEO of the airport to expand. He saw an opportunity to bring in new business travelers by showing Grand Rapids as a business convention destination. He talked to the CEO of Air Tran Airways in the early 2000s to bring in new destinations to the airport. This included St. Louis, Orlando, Denver, and Vegas.
It was later that Southwest would take over Air Tran and cause some issues as they were closing down different terminals. Devos talked to Southwest in order to save the terminals and keep the new destinations. The growth had been so prominent that Southwest wanted to stay open at the airport and even expand more.
It has been several years since Devos first started helping the airport, but now the airport has raised $45 million to expand and create a new business traveler center at the airport. This comes after Devos worked with the different airlines to raise the revenue necessary.
For these reasons and so many more, Devos was one of the great picks for experience with aviation and business by the FAA. His experience with different airlines, airports, and even aviation education makes him a great advisor to the FAA.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.