Entrepreneur Dick DeVos

Did you know that Dick DeVos is now working with the FAA? The Federal Aviation Administration created a new board last year consisting of 13 members. The civilian-led board offers insights for the FAA on policy, regulations, budgets, projections, and future planning. While the aviation industry has stabilized more recently, there are still problems that the FAA is trying to work out, such as steep fluctuations in employment.


DeVos is a legendary businessman with several businesses under his CEO belt. He started with Amway, becoming the first to bring in such high sales for the global market for the company. That business acumen has led him to be a motivation to business leaders in his hometown as well. He joined Grand Action in the 1990s as a way to help businesses in the downtown area push projects that were going to help the businesses in the downtown area as well.


His work with the airport was probably what landed him on the map for the FAA, however. He recently finished up a $45 million renovation deal that would bring a new business traveler area, food court, and upgraded terminally in the airport. This includes chargers in the terminals as well as a business traveler center.


All of the changes were in some part due to DeVos who has been working closely with the airport to bring in new terminals and destinations. In the re-launch of the airport in 1999, DeVos talked with the CEO of Air Tran Airways to support that initiative. The airline executive agreed to open new terminals to Vegas, Denver, St. Louis, and Orlando.


This resulted in a great improvement in ticket sales for the airport. However, a large part of this is still due in part to the aviation school that DeVos helped build with his wife, the US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Together, they founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Airport. This helped students who wanted to become pilots, and it provided training programs that allowed students to quickly go into an aviation profession once graduated.


DeVos brings all of his experience to the table with the other members of the board, however it will be interesting to see how they utilize his sales and business acumen to determine future growth. The other members of the council are more concerned with policies and regulations, however DeVos’ appointment was praised by the CEO of Southwest as a smart move.


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