Dick DeVos is one of the top businessman in the world. It’s no surprise as he is the son of Richard DeVos, who recently passed away. Richard DeVos was the co-founder of Amway, and he led the company for many years. Dick DeVos worked at Amway at separate periods, but he was always a magnanimous personality at the company. He was able to lead the company’s global sales in record-breaking numbers through the 1990s. However, he left the company and began to pursue philanthropy in the mid-1990s.
He started by working with business leaders locally to his hometown of Grand Rapids. This included businesses who were trying to bring back commerce to the downtown area of the city. It had been many years since there had been sufficient growth in the area, but DeVos was determined to help business leaders build something new in his city. With the help of the DeVos Family Foundation, DeVos was able to build several areas of downtown, practically revamping the city’s skyline.
These new buildings included the DeVos Performance Hall, DeVos Place Convention Center, and Andel Arena. However, the next phase of his plan would be what helped him get onto the Management Advisory Council of the Federal Aviation Administration. While many have thought about DeVos’ previous experience, many do not realize how close he has been to aviation for many years.
DeVos is actually a certified pilot with licenses for all sorts of aircraft. This includes jets and helicopters. After 1999, he began working with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He wanted to help the airport grow in sales, and started by talking to the CEO of AirTran Airways. The CEO of AirTran worked with DeVos to open up new flights. This worked well with DeVos plan to bring in more business travelers.
The four destinations opened by the airline included Orlando, St. Louis, Vegas, and Denver. These were business destinations as much as they were entertainment centers. DeVos saw that he could draw in a business crowd with the DeVos Place Convention Center and entertainment areas around the city.
The plan worked, and by 2018, the old airport saw 3.26 million passengers, and there was a $45 million makeover in the works called the Gateway Transformation Project. It’s these types of deals that allow DeVos to work with the FAA as they look for ways to upgrade technology and convenience at all of America’s airports. After President Trump’s challenge to the aviation community, it’s clear that America still has a way to go before it becomes captain of the aerospace industry once more.
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