Dick Devos started to work with the FAA in 2017 as part of the Management Advisory Council. Previously he hadn’t held any political office, but he had been well known by many in the airline and airport business world. Aviation was one of his main passions growing up, and he even has several pilot licenses for jets and helicopters.


Since Richard Devos Sr.’s passing in 2018, Dick Devos has been busy. He has been working on the new headquarters of the Devos Family Foundation in downtown Grand Rapids, and he has been meeting with the new FAA council. The committee was brought together for civilians to advise the FAA on important matters like policies, airport growth, budgets, regulations, and other issues facing America’s aviation industry.


Devos has plenty of reasons to work with the council as he has been working with the CEO of the local Grand Rapids airport for many years. In fact, it all started in the early 1990s. Devos had just come out of a stint at Amway. He was able to lead record-breaking sales at his father’s company, but he wanted more. He specifically wanted to help the businesses in his hometown be more successful.


He came up with a plan to bring in more business travelers. He started by building up the downtown areas. He formed a committee called Grand Action, and together they would build up areas like the Andel Arena, Devos Place Convention Center, and Devos Performance Hall.


The convention center would become a key part of the growth as Devos wanted travelers to the area to see Grand Rapids as a conference destination. He started by talking to the CEO of the local airport. He wanted to help the airport become part of the business traveler strategy. He talked to the CEO of AirTran Airways to open up new flights specifically to locations that were frequented by business travelers. These destinations would include Orlando, St. Louis, Denver, and Las Vegas.


The airport has experienced insane growth since the addition of these flights. In fact, in just a few years, the airport had seen more growth than it ever had before. The new ticket sales brought in so much funding that the airport was able to renovate with a $45 million fund. This would become known as the Gateway Transformation Project, and it’s something that the FAA would see as a way to help other airports across the United States.


The Gateway Transformation Project brought new interest to Grand Rapids as a travel destination, but it also changed the technology inside of the airport, adding a new business traveler center and an updated food court. The second phase of the project will add more technology to curbside areas and security.


Dick Devos will meet with the advisory council until 2020. The council gets together once per quarter to discuss new policies, regulations, and budgets.


Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.

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