Dick Devos

For many years, Dick Devos has fought in his home state for innovative city planning, business developments, jobs, and education. His focus has mostly been on his hometown, even as he took on large roles at his father’s company, Amway. As he was President and CEO, he still fought to help Grand Rapids become one of the most rapidly growing cities in America.


Now he’s joining the FAA as part of their new Management Advisory Council. The council meets once every quarter to advise the FAA on important topics such as regulations, policies, budgets, and future ideas for growth in American aviation. Most people probably don’t realize that Dick Devos was so close to aviation, but as a business leader, he has many ties to airlines and airports, including the one in his hometown.


In the 1990s, Devos was keen to help businesses in Grand Rapids build up the city and improve the economy. He first started working with leaders in downtown Grand Rapids, but eventually, he turned his sights to working with the CEO of Gerald R. Ford International Airport.


Previously, Devos had constructed the Devos Place Convention Center with the hopes that Grand Rapids could play host to more business conferences. Secondly to that plan, he wanted to help the airport by marketing to business travelers and bring in new interest to his hometown. He started by making one phone call to the CEO of AirTran Airways in the early 2000s. He asked the CEO if he would consider opening up new terminals and destinations at the Grand Rapids location.


AirTran agreed, and suddenly, the airport had a new vein of ticket sales that were going through the roof. Business travelers were purchasing tickets to new destinations like St. Louis, Vegas, Orlando, and Denver. Over the years, Devos helped the CEO of the airport maintain and expand these programs, bringing in more business travelers and ultimately building a $45 million fund to renovate the airport.


Now in 2018, the airport has been fully renovated and has a new business traveler’s center, as well as food court upgrades. It’s moves like this that got Dick Devos nominated to the FAA’s new Management Advisory Council. The move was praised by the CEO of Southwest and the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Devos will be working alongside transportation authorities and former airline executives to help the FAA with its latest changes to policies and regulations.


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