There are a lot of people looking at the DeVos family. Recently, Dick DeVos became the latest appointment on the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. He joins 12 others on the board who come from transportation official backgrounds and airline executive offices. Most on the board will help with policies and regulations, but others with business acumen are helping with budgets and future growth plans. Devos is one of those people who can help with both.
He has been working alongside airlines for quite some time, including executives from Southwest and Air Tran Airways. It was in the early 2000s that DeVos began talking to Air Tran about expanding the destinations at the local airport. He wanted to help the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford Airport at the time, who was trying to expand and grow the airport from what it once was.
While many people don’t realize it, Devos has also always been a pilot. He has trained and gotten multiple licenses to operate different aircraft, including jets and helicopters. That knowledge and connection has come in handy when he has needed to work with different airlines. For example, in the latest renovation of the airport, the new areas include a business traveler center, food court, and new technology in the terminals.
The whole point is to create a better atmosphere for travelers who want to get to where they are going, while also having more convenience and comfort built in. There is also a school founded by the DeVos Family that remains on the grounds of the airport, knowing as the West Michigan Academy. This school helps train students to become pilots, so that they can work as a pilot or join the aviation industry in some other way, perhaps as a flight operator.
The school is apart of DeVos’ plan to help Grand Rapids in several areas, including with unemployment and economy. The city had reached a stagnant period in the 1990s. DeVos had seen the devastation caused by certain city planning mistakes for Detroit, and he wanted to avoid that in Grand Rapids. He worked with business leaders in downtown to create better industry and build up community buildings, as well as entertainment centers to bring more people downtown.
In addition to that, he has worked with many of the airline executives on the council already. The council will meet once every three months to discuss progress with the FAA.
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