During the 30th Annual Dinner of the Economic Club, a prestigious event held in Grand Rapids, Dick DeVos spoke about his recent appointment to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council, a civilian-run board that brings together senior leaders in policy and aviation.
The board is comprised of 13 members, who are known for their aviation background or political history within policymaking and aviation. DeVos is neither an airliner CEO or a policymaker, but he now sits as one of the 13 members on the FAA’s council.
The council will advise the FAA on what it thinks about spending, long-range planning, regulations, policies, budgets, and so forth in the coming weeks. The council meets once every quarter and includes some prominent CEOs within the aviation community.
An FAA spokesman, Gregory Martin, said that the council charts the strategic course for the FAA. These appointees are volunteers, but DeVos’ speech showed his enthusiasm for the role. He has been wanting to work within Washington for many years, and his love for aviation goes back to his childhood.
An avid pilot and aviator, Dick DeVos has been working with the Gerald R. Ford airport in his hometown of Grand Rapids for some time. It was his idea to work on the airport and bring in new terminals back in early 2000s, during a bleak time period for airlines. DeVos had business dealings in the past with Air Tran Airways CEO and wanted to see what could be done to help Grand Rapids international airport. Air Tran agreed to add more flights, including new terminals for Orlando, St. Louis, Denver, and Vegas.
DeVos has always been fond of aviation. His work in aviation education is also to be admired. Together, Betsy and Dick DeVos founded a school build for aviation students on the grounds of the Grand Rapids airport. It helps students learn what it takes to join the aviation workforce and trains pilots. Hopefully, when their courses are completed, students can go to work for airlines within Gerald R. Ford’s new airport, freshly removed after receiving $45 million in funding.
DeVos has played a major role in turning around the Gerald R. Ford International Airport for many years. His work with Southwest also proves that you can change major decisions when required. He negotiated to keep many terminals when Southwest was planning to shutter a few hundred terminals across different cities. However, none of the terminals at the airport were ever shuttered.
The President of Gerald R. Ford airport said that his work has allowed the airport to boom with growth, bringing more routes through Grand Rapids and new business travel opportunities. The remodel will open a new business center, food court, and more terminals to add to the economic boom of the airport.
His latest appointment is a triumph in a long history of aviation and political prowess in the making.
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