Have you ever seen Dick DeVos on the news? He’s recently joined the FAA’s new Management Advisory Council. This new civilian council was formed to help the FAA in an advisory position only. This means that the members provide advice through experience. Members include former transportation officials and former executives of airlines. However, Dick DeVos was also nominated to the council in 2017.
For the past two years, DeVos has been working with the FAA on new plans for airport technology in the US. In his early election speeches, Trump criticized America’s airports for falling behind foreign markets. One of the main points was that technology and security had fallen behind, and many of the same conveniences at other airports were not available in America. What happened? America was the birthplace of aviation.
DeVos is a passionate aviator, and he has co-founded pilot training schools to help teach others about aviation. In addition, his background in business has merged together with airports and airlines to form a great business opportunity that helps airports expand. He used this strategy with the airport in Grand Rapids.
In the 1990s, Grand Rapids was having issues with poor economy and businesses leaving the downtown area to go to other bigger cities. However, all of Michigan at the time was in an upheaval over manufacturing plants leaving the state. DeVos began to work with business leaders in Michigan hoping to make changes to Grand Rapids and grow it into a bigger metropolis that could help itself.
DeVos started by founding a convention center, performance hall, and a sports arena in downtown near the old business district. Business leaders found that they were able to get more business after DeVos began to bring people to the area through these new attractions, especially business travelers attending conferences and conventions.
In the early 2000s, DeVos progressed this plan by talking to the CEO of the nearby Grand Rapids airport. The new airport would be called the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and it would have more destinations. This was all thanks to Dick DeVos, who worked closely with the AirTran Airways airline in the early 2000s. The airline agreed to open up new destinations to major cities where business travelers were headed to, such as Las Vegas, Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver.
DeVos is now using his knowledge of how the airline and airport industries can work together to increase ticket sales and help fund expansions into new technologies. Currently the Grand Rapids airport has millions of passengers compared to their stagnant growth throughout the 1990s.
With new plans for a GSO Tower, DeVos has advised the FAA on how to raise money just like he did for the Grand Rapids airport with the Gateway Transformation Project.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.