Dick Devos – Pilot and Businessman

Dick Devos has become one of the most popular businessmen in America. His father Richard Devos was the co-founder of Amway in the 1970s. He recently passed, allowing his son to take the reins. However, Devos has been focused on political moves this past year. He began to work with the FAA in 2017 as part of their Management Advisory Council. The civilian committee is comprised of 13 members, ranging from transportation authority officials to airline executives.


The Federal Aviation Administration has started working on new policies and regulations to help build up the aviation industry in America. After President Trump made remarks during a speak about America’s lack of growth in aviation, many were called upon to join up and help the cause. The FAA has been working with the Management Advisory Council since 2016, however.


So why would Dick Devos be chosen for the council? For one, he is an avid pilot, and he has considerable ties to the aviation community through Amway. It’s probably his work with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids that has made him so popular with the FAA in recent months.


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport didn’t used to be such a popular airport. In the 1990s, growth had pretty much stopped for the airport, and it wasn’t until the early 2000s did ticket sales start to climb. In fact, Dick Devos is credited for being the reason that people can even find the airport on the map.


This is because Devos made a phone call in the early 2000s to help out the airport’s growth. He started by talking to airline executives about adding new flights. He worked with the CEO of AirTran Airways to add four new flights to Orlando, Denver, St. Louis, and Las Vegas. These flights were going to place Grand Rapids on the same circuit as those who travel to conventions and conferences all over the world.


The plan worked, and in 20178, the airport set a record for the most passengers it had ever achieved in a single year. The airport received 3.26 million travelers in 2018. The airport wasn’t projected to hit 3 million until 2020. While sales have been up, there have also been considerable changes at the airport.


The Gateway Transformation Project started in 2016. The airport was going to receive a face-lift that would help add technology to the terminals and build a business traveler center. The airport had risen in popularity so fast that it was difficult to contain all of the growth. The Gateway Transformation Project garnered funding of $45 million or more, and it would help expand and build a more advanced airport.


Now the Gerald R. Ford International Airport has become synonymous with success, and it’s won awards for the changes that have allowed passengers to zip through the airport at record times. Devos has been credited with the one who placed the airport on the map and gave it this success so long ago.


Devos will continue to advise the FAA for another few years. He also works with the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which he co-founded with his wife, the 11th US Education Secretary Betsy Devos.


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