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Dick Devos And the FAA

So why is Dick Devos in Washington? The rumors are that the Devos family is moving further into Capitol Hill. This includes the fact that Devos was just appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s new Management Council. The council is comprised of 13 members who have worked in transportation policy, aviation authority, and airline executive backgrounds. While Devos has been a business leader for most of his life, he has also been involved in politics before.


Devos ran for Michigan governor in 2006. He had previously worked with his city leaders in Grand Rapids, his hometown, as well as the Michigan Republican Party. His wife, Betsy Devos, recently became the 11th US Education Secretary. She has been criticized heavily for her beliefs on educational choice. However, she has maintained that educational choice is the best way for students to get out of failing schools as well.


Dick Devos will now be working with the FAA. Part of the reason for this new appointment is his involvement with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Throughout the 1990s, Devos made several partnerships with business owners in Grand Rapids. As an entrepreneur himself, Devos knew that the power of philanthropy could propel Grand Rapids forward. At the time, the city was falling into a slump. Devos didn’t want to see what had happened in Detroit happen in his hometown.


He began working with the airport after building up downtown Grand Rapids through a committee called Grand Action. The committee was able to change the face of downtown, adding in new cultural buildings, as well as the Devos Convention Center.


Grand Rapids could be seen as a business conference center if there were more things to do. That was part of Devos’ plan when he made a phone call to the Air Tran Airways CEO. In the early 2000s, Air Tran was one of the most popular airlines. Soon the airline would have more destinations available for business travelers who wanted to book out of Grand Rapids. New traffic immediately began to pour in.


Over the years, Devos has helped the Gerald R. Ford International Airport expand and overcome a lot of issues, including outdated technology. Recently the airport went through a $45 million renovation. The airport also now has a charter school that was founded by Dick and Betsy Devos.


The new committee will be meeting every quarter to discuss budgets, new growth planning, regulations, and policies. Devos will be advising on ideas for growth in the future, as well as his experience with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.


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