Dick Devos is a business leader who has worked with Amway for many years. As President and CEO, he led the company to an incredibly record-breaking global sales high. In addition, Devos was the son of Rich Devos, which meant that he was already in connection with several businesses. Devos has been involved with several city planning ideas for Grand Rapids, as well as educational and the Michigan Republican Party.
However, most didn’t know about his aviation experience. Now that he has been nominated to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. The new civilian board includes 13 members. Some are retired transportation authorities, and the others are airline workers and former executives. Devos has experience in airline business specifically.
In the 1990s, Devos had just ended a period of time at Amway in his early years as the Vice President. He had led global sales to record-breaking highs for the company throughout the 1980s. Devos wanted to do something more. He took an interest in the growth and economy of his hometown of Grand Rapids. Business leaders were complaining of a lack of commerce around downtown.
There were a few plans run across Devos’ desk in the 1990s that would have built a sports arena and convention center in an area adjacent to downtown Grand Rapids. Devos didn’t want to see the same thing happen to Grand Rapids that was happening to Detroit. He had been there when the city fell apart, even after it was supposed to be the home of the Lions and Pistons.
Devos partnered up with the CEO of the airport in 1999 at the re-launch of the executive-style airport. Part of the problem was that he wanted to help the CEO while also working on several other projects, including running for political office.
AirTran Airways expanded their destinations at the airport so that it would add St. Louis, Vegas, Orlando, and Denver to the list of places available to book tickets. The CEO agreed after receiving a call from Devos one night. The expansion worked. There were new business travelers coming into the city. This was all going according to plan with Devos.
Over the years, there were other benefits of working with Devos. He was able to simply call up the CEOs of airlines and advocate for the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He got Southwest’s CEO to maintain the terminals at the airport when AirTran Airways was bought out by the company.
Devos is now working with the FAA every quarter. The council meets once a quarter and Devos provides feedback and advice to the FAA members. Other members on the council may help with planning, budgets, regulations, and policies. Devos will continue to work with the company for another two years.
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