The latest stories about the DeVos family point to their generous philanthropy and political advancement in the past two years. Betsy DeVos is now the 11th Education Secretary, and Dick DeVos, husband of Betsy and son to the Amway founder, has been working his way into Washington DC as well. In 2017, he was appointed to the Management Advisory Council for the FAA. This new position placed him in the same room as those deciding policies, regulations, budgets, and future growth for the aviation industry.
DeVos had always dreamed of working in aviation. He had studied it a great deal and owned multiple pilot licenses. His love of flying has increased over the years, and he has a pilot’s license for his multiple jets and helicopters. DeVos and his wife Betsy have also co-founded a school in Grand Rapids, called the West Michigan Pilot Academy. The academy teachers students on how to become pilots on the Gerald R. Ford International property.
The changes made to the area of Grand Rapids can be attributed to the direct involvement of Dick DeVos who had changed career paths at the end of the 1980s. He wanted to work with local city planners and business leaders to do something great for his hometown. He also wanted more people to come to the area.
DeVos talked to the CEO of the nearby airport and discussed a plan for new customers. DeVos had always known that it would work. He had seen it work in other scenarios and thought that if he could just get new destination flights at the airport, then he could bring in some new ticket sales.
He worked with the CEO of AirTran Airways to achieve this. He simply made a phone call to ask for new flights at the location, and the CEO agreed. New flight paths were added for Orlando, Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver. These locations would bring in considerable business traffic, but it was also passengers who simply wanted more options. The new destinations worked, and they were able to start seeing ticket sales increase year over year.
As DeVos has worked more with the FAA than any other government association, he has been strong in his opinions that airports need better security that isn’t inconvenient. He has been working tirelessly to support the aviation industry and even help with new policies and regulations.
With the political climate remaining as charged as ever, it’s unclear what the plans are for Dick DeVos, but he certainly has been climbing up the social leader with every kind of aviation business. In fact, he received praise from the CEO of Southwest because of his ability to negotiate a merge easily.
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