Have you seen Dick DeVos in the White House? Well, he may not have gotten that far yet, but he has been working in Washington with his wife, Betsy DeVos. As the 11th US Education Secretary, she has had difficult conversations with the education community about her policies. She has always believed that students should come first, which has earned her praise from parents and families, especially in underprivileged communities. Dick DeVos has supported her throughout her campaign for educational choice.
Together, the pair have started a charter school in Grand Rapids for those who are also aviation enthusiasts. DeVos, as a businessman, has also been involved in the aviation industry. He has worked with many airlines as part of his relationship with the CEO of Gerald R. Ford International airport. With this partnership, he was able to turn the airport’s business around over the past few decades.
In fact, the airport just celebrated 3.26 million passengers in 2018. This was the most passengers that the airport had ever had in a year. It’s also won awards for its business travel center and technology upgrades. It’s one of the reasons that DeVos has been invited to work with other airports and airlines through the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA has been working with DeVos on new policies, regulations, and growth ideas. While he is only in an advisory role, he sits on a board with 13 members, including airline executives and transportation officials who have written policies before. He has already worked with the FAA on a $40 million renovation of the GSO Tower.
In addition, the Gateway Transformation Project has become a model for other airports to renovate and expand their technologies. At the Grand Rapids airport, the Gateway Transformation Project has developed new convenience options and security technology to help with passengers getting on planes faster without having to wait in lines.
As DeVos has continued to grow, he has also helped his hometown. In fact, he started working with business leaders in his own hometown in the 1990s. At this time, Michigan was going through a recession due to many factories and plants leaving the state. This left many of the cities devoid of commerce and economy. Grand Rapids was one of them.
DeVos saw the issues as new opportunities for growth. With the DeVos Family Foundation, he was able to donate many buildings to the downtown upgrades, including the DeVos Performance Hall and DeVoc Place Convention Center. This would eventually become more important as DeVos proposed a strategy to bring in new businesses and conferences to the area. This strategy helped boost the travelers at the airport as well.
DeVos has been meeting with the FAA every quarter to discuss these issues and help other airports get funding for renovation.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.