In early 1991, Dick DeVos was working hard moving up the ladder of his family’s business towards CEO. His father had founded Amway when he was younger. During his time working at Amway, Dick found out about a plan for a new convention center to be built in the downtown area of Grand Rapids. He was not a fan of this new plan and quickly started calling other local business owners to try and rally against the idea. They all believed this new center would be detrimental to the area.
Expansion Of Charter Schools
During this time, Betsy DeVos was devoting herself to expanding charter schools in Michigan. Both she and Dick have a love of educational school choice and charter schools. They opened their own charter school at the Grand Rapids airport. It is an aviation charter school because Dick has a love of aviation and is a pilot himself.
How Dick Made The Grand Rapids Airport A Success
Many years ago, DeVos was tasked with trying to bring more flights into the Grand Rapids airport. To do this, he decided to pick up the phone and call the CEO of the AirTran Airways himself. Most people would have trouble getting a one-on-one phone call such as this. For Dick, it helped that his family owns an NBA team in Orlando which plays right down the road from the headquarters of AirTran.
During the phone call, Dick talked the CEO into a meeting to discuss bringing nonstop flights out of the GRF International Airport. Just shortly after this success, the carrier was bought out by Southwest. This was another win for Dick because he was asked to bring Southwest to the airport.
Dick Named FAA Member
Dick DeVos has always had a passion and love of aviation. His reputation and hard work have recently become evident. He was welcomed into the Federal Aviation Administration’s citizen advisory council. While he is serving his three years on the administration, he will be the senior manager on spending, policy, regulatory matters and long-range planning. Dick describes himself as a pilot and aviation geek. He accepted this position with the condition that he would be able to run his position how he wanted and keep it out of the media until he was ready.
The Advisory Council for the FAA is made up of thirteen members. Together, they will work on different regulatory matters regarding aviation and chart strategic plans for the agency. These positions are on a volunteer capacity and each member is expected to retain their private and public sectors during their term on the council. They will meet quarterly to discuss matters with the permanent board members of the Federal Aviation Administration.
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