Have you seen the latest in Washington? Dick DeVos has now been appointed to the Management Advisory Council for the Federal Aviation Administration. For many years, DeVos has worked within the airline industry, but his business leadership has flown under the radar. The only way you’d know about it is by booking a flight to Grand Rapids and seeing the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
In the early 2000s, the airline industry was undergoing considerable problems. Flights were too expensive or didn’t cater to passenger interests. There were a whole number of reasons why people were not interested in flying. As an American industry, this was an issue for many airlines. Air Tran Airways was one of those airlines that was in trouble.
Dick DeVos worked with Air Tran Airways to bring more flights to the Grand Rapids airport location. His thinking was that he could open up more business travel from Canada and northern states by opening new terminals. Air Tran Airways agreed and opened flights to St. Louis, Orlando, Denver, and Vegas from Grand Rapids. This was a step in the right direction as the airport had been undergoing some financial problems.
With the new flights came new economy and jobs for the airport, but eventually, Southwest purchased Air Tran and began shuddering terminals in several other airports. DeVos worked with Southwest’s CEO directly to show him the great promise of staying in Grand Rapids, which worked. The terminals remained open despite many other flights being taken away by Southwest.
These efforts by DeVos led to a multi-million dollar renovation project that will be completed by 2018. The new renovations cover a business center, food court, new terminals, and technological upgrades that will finally place the Grand Rapids airport location at the same level as other airports around the nation.
DeVos has been working for these upgrades for a long time. His business savvy sense kicked in when Grand Rapids was dealing with economic issues due to a failing downtown business district. He brought business leaders together under a committee called Grand Action to work together and build the city up to where it could support more jobs and new industries. The airport was just part of that plan.
The CEO of Gerald R. Ford Airport has said that DeVos is the perfect fit for the new Management Advisory Council. His knowledge of the aviation industry goes beyond just working on the business side. He also co-founded an aviation academy on the Gerald R. Ford grounds and has been a mentor to students who want to become pilots. As a pilot himself, DeVos can fly almost any aircraft. It’s one of his passions.
DeVos joins 12 other members of the council who will advise the FAA on policy, budgets, long-term planning, and policies. The council meets once every quarter and provides their findings to the FAA.
Visit http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.