Dick Devos

Dick DeVos has always been an aviation enthusiast. With several planes in his hangar, he is an avid pilot as well. When your favorite hobby and work collide, the result is that you get to do what you love.


Last year, Dick DeVos was nominated to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Council. This board of 13 members provides insight into regulations, budgets, and future plans for the aviation industry. Southwest CEO said that the appointment of Dick DeVos was just smart thinking.


DeVos joins 12 other members who will meet once a quarter to discuss policies and ways to improve upon the aviation industry, including what is most advantageous for American aviation businesses. For many reasons, this is a strength for the new council member. As President of Amway for many years, DeVos has become a talented business man and philanthropist over the years.


His focus has almost always brought him back to the aviation world, however. In the 1990s, DeVos was working with local businessmen in Grand Rapids to improve the downtown business district. He had a keen eye for what building plans and construction would improve the traffic to businesses and keep Grand Rapids thriving. He worked with other leaders to create a group called Grand Action.


This group would go on to build several theaters, community centers, and even a medical school. DeVos wanted Grand Rapids to have something else that would stimulate jobs and economic growth. He looked to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.


The President of the airport has said that Dick DeVos has contributed greatly to the longevity of the airport, bringing in new terminals and gathering support for a $45 million makeover that will be completed in 2018. In addition, DeVos has started his own charter school at the airport that specifically teaches aviation to students.


Now that DeVos is headed to Washington, he will be working on policies regarding how aviation business will need to grow in the next few years. As one of the largest American industries, aviation has just begun to rebound after flatlining a few years ago. However, there are still ways in which aviation needs to improve for the customer but also for innovation.


DeVos has worked with multiple aviation businesses including Southwest, formerly known as Air Tran Airways. This started when DeVos wanted to bring new terminals to the Grand Rapids airport. He knew that this would bring in more jobs and grow Grand Rapids as a first stop for international flights around the world. The new terminals would take people to St. Louis, Vegas, Orlando, and Denver.


Air Tran agreed to add more terminals due to one phone call with Dick DeVos, and if that was not enough, DeVos continued to build up the airport by speaking with the CEO of Southwest.


DeVos has promised to bring that kind of passion for business and aviation together in his new role on the council. They will meat again in April.


To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.