Most people have seen the DeVos family in the news this past year. Part of that is because of philanthropy, and the other part is the moves that the family is making politically. For the last time, the DeVos family worked with the Michigan Republican Party, but as Betsy DeVos was elected to become the 11th US Secretary of Education, everything changed. Dick DeVos also started working with the FAA in September 2017, showing that business leaders truly make great advisers in order to grow an industry.
So why is DeVos perfect for the council? First, the Management Advisory Council combines the talents and knowledge of transportation authorities as well as airline executives in order to achieve better policies, regulations, and plans for future growth. DeVos may not own an airline but he has been the CEO of Amway, which is one of the largest and most profitable Fortune 500 companies currently.
DeVos also started working the airport in his hometown, putting Grand Rapids on the map. While the town had always had an airport, it wasn’t until 1999 that the airport started getting noticed. Still, sales were pretty terrible until new destinations were added at the AirTran Airways travel terminal. This was all due to a phone call by the legendary Dick DeVos to the CEO of AirTran Airways. It only took one phone to convince the CEO that he should add on St. Louis, Vegas, Orlando, and Denver to the destinations.
DeVos had a plan to bring in new business travelers. He had already built the DeVos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids, which was also part of the plan to bring in more business to the area. DeVos thought that if he could get business travelers on a circuit for his hometown, then he would be able to put the city on the map and generate new traffic at the same time for the airport.
This actually worked and led to an incredible profit margin. Fueled by a $45 million fund, Gerald R. Ford International Airport actually expanded last year in 2018. Now the airport has a new business traveler center, food court, and lots of technology upgrades in the terminals.
DeVos has been meeting with the new council ever since last September and will continue to meet with the FAA throughout 2019 as they work on new growth plans.
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