Have you noticed the DeVos family rising up the political ladder? As Betsy DeVos has claimed her seat as the US Secretary of Education, her husband has also been making some moves to work in Washington as well. However, he is choosing a path that will take him towards his hobby rather than education.
DeVos has been working in aviation for many years, but most know him as the President of Amway and for his foundation work under the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. His hometown of Grand Rapids knows firsthand how well DeVos can help build your community. He worked with community leaders in the early 1990s to support rapid growth within Grand Rapids’ business district.
However, there were many other plans in the making for the city, and some of those plans did not support the current business district. For example, one plan floated a sports center and convention center away from downtown. DeVos put in word that he wanted business leaders to come together and create a better plan for the downtown business district that bring in more opportunities for economic growth.
One of the ways that DeVos had to create more opportunities was to work with the international airport. Gerald R. Ford International Airport had hit a stagnant period by the early 2000s. As many airports were shuttering terminals, DeVos wanted to seize opportunities. He reached out to Air Tran Airways CEO and asked him to partner up to bring in new destinations and terminals.
Air Tran Airways agreed to open those terminals, breathing new life into the airport. This also led to more growth when Southwest took over Air Tran a few years later. Even as Southwest began to shut down certain terminals across airports in the US, DeVos set out to keep all of the terminals and even add more to the Gerald R. Ford airport.
This eventually led to a remodel of the airport that would bring in $45 million in funding. Part of this was due to the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. With over $134 million donated, the Foundation has helped with education and community projects across Michigan. One of those projects is a personal favorite of Dick DeVos, who wanted to create a charter school at the airport.
The charter school teaches students about aviation and how to become a pilot. DeVos has founded the school and helped by offering mentorship to students through his love of his aviation.
Dick DeVos now joins his wife in Washington to contribute to the growth of aviation and help bring a business vision to the council. He will work alongside other aviation professionals and directors of aviation. The council meets once a quarter to discuss the future of aviation, as well as plan budgets and policies that will positively affect the growth of the American industry.
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