Dick DeVos is one of the newest members to a council set up by the Federal Aviation Administration. Many people wonder what the former head of Amway and current president of The Windquest Group is doing on an aviation council. The answer might surprise you.
DeVos has been a pilot for many years and remains close to the aviation industry. Through his partnership with the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford Airport, he became incredibly close to many of the airlines. He also established a school on the grounds where students can go to learn about becoming a pilot and working in the aviation industry. Through this work, he has become a mentor to aviation students and offered a new way for graduates to become pilots immediately at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Education is just one of DeVos’ passions. He also works with the CEO of Gerald R. Ford airport to expand and create new growth opportunities for the airport since it’s re-launch in 1999. Ever since the early 1990s, DeVos has been working with business owners in the area to create opportunities and growth. He has helped to create Grand Action, which is a committee that focuses on the economic growth of Grand Rapids. It has led to the construction of several new areas around the city, including the DeVos Performing Centers and DeVos Convention Center.
With the renewed efforts for the airport, he helped expand the Air Tran Airways terminals, including new flights to Denver, Orlando, Las Vegas, and St. Louis. The new flights helped bring in new passengers who were traveling to the United States and wanted a convenient stop in between. While many of the travelers are here on business, they can travel to all sorts of locations thanks to the expanded terminals also opened by Southwest Airlines.
Southwest was another that was set to close terminals, but DeVos worked with the CEO to keep open terminals and expand the offerings even more. A $45 million renovation will be complete at the end of 2018 at the airport. The renovation was largely a success due to DeVos who brought many of the airlines together to support the expansion and new functionalities.
While it will take a while to make permanent changes and enact policies in the air industry, DeVos has been working with the airlines to do just that in Grand Rapids. He wants to see a day when pilots are enjoying their jobs again and getting paid to do so. His work with the council has already begun, but he will meet with them once every 3 months to discuss regulations and changes, as well as opportunities for future growth.
The aviation industry has a long way to go before it is able to stabilize, but business leaders like DeVos can help shape its future.
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