Have you seen the latest news from Washington? Dick DeVos is one of the new members to the Federal Aviation Administration’s new council. The civilian board is made up of 13 members who are from transportation authority and airline backgrounds, as well as business leaders. Dick DeVos comes from both an aviation business mind and education perspective. He has been working with new pilots through the aviation charter school in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Grand Rapids has seen the business leadership and acumen of Dick DeVos rise up in the past. The community has received over $134 in donations and public work projects, including a new performing arts center and convention center. However, DeVos has also partnered with business leaders in the area to affect ongoing change through a committee called Grand Action. It was here that he began to look at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport as a way to further improve Grand Rapids from an economic and business standpoint.
Much of the traffic through Grand Rapids is business travelers. They come from Canada and Mexico, traveling through the destination to multiple areas around the United States. A historical airport dating back to the early 1900s, Grand Rapids airport has also been in need of renovations and expansion for some time.
The airport decided to re-launch as the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in 1999. The CEO reached out to DeVos and asked if he would help secure new expanded terminals. DeVos had connections with some of the airlines at the time and reached out to Air Tran Airways, talking to them about adding new destinations and flights. The CEO agreed and added on new flights to St. Louis, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Denver. While these changes helped the airport bring in new business travelers, there were other issues. For instance, Southwest wanted to close terminals when it took over Air Tran Airways just a few months later.
DeVos talked with Southwest to change their minds about closing the terminals, wanting to keep them open and even expand them as he saw great potential for the success of the airline. In addition, DeVos began working with multiple CEOs at different airlines to put together a renovation deal. The renovation would cost $45 million but it would allow for new technology and comfortable business traveler areas where travelers could plug in and work during layovers and wait times.
The new ideas gave rise to Dick DeVos in the airline industry, and now he works with some of the top names in the transportation industry, working to affect global change through the Federal Aviation Administration. He has also seen many ways that he can help the educational side and bring in new pilots who want to fly and work for a variety of airlines. The aviation academy is just one step in the right direction to being able to bring in employment at the current rate.
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