Dick DeVos: Businessman & Philanthropist

Dick DeVos is one of the most quintessential businessmen of the 21st century. He has led such businesses as Amway and The Windquest Group, and now he joins the Management Advisory Council created by the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration created the council in September 2017. The council would include 13 members from a variety of different businesses, but mainly, it’s transportation authorities and former airline executives.


The council was created to advise the FAA on policies that it was planning to implement after President Trump’s challenge. The challenge was directed at airport technology and security, stating that America’s airports had fallen behind foreign markets. Dick DeVos has plenty of experience helping airports overcome these challenges, as his work with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids can attest.


It all started in the 1990s when DeVos was the president and CEO of Amway and had been working with business leaders in Grand Rapids to improve the economy. He started by changing the face of downtown, adding new buildings and entertainment sectors, then he looked towards an even greater opportunity.


In 1999, the airport re-launched. It had been open since the early 1900s, but it still lacked the same destinations and ticket sales that other airports could pull in the same area. One of the problems was that the cities available for flights were only larger cities. There didn’t seem to be any focus to how these cities were selected either. DeVos saw an opportunity to increase ticket sales and add in the destinations that many travelers were looking for in a particular market.


DeVos wanted to target business travelers with his latest efforts, so he worked out an arrangement with the CEO of Air Tran Airways. The airline would add new flights to Orlando, Denver, St. Louis, and Vegas. These were destinations that DeVos was hoping to target with new ticket sales growth as they fit in perfectly with the plans to create a business traveler sector in downtown Grand Rapids. This would include the newly built DeVos Place Convention Center.


DeVos will be working with the FAA throughout the next year. He meets with the council once every quarter.


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