Dick Devos: Businessman and Philanthropist

Dick Devos is one of the quintessential businessmen in the United States currently. As the former CEO and president of Amway, Devos helped the company increase global sales exponentially and continued to do so for many years throughout the 1990s. However, he was recently appointed to the Management Advisory Council by the Federal Aviation Administration. The new council is formed of 13 members with transportation authority and airline executives, but as Devos is neither, people wondered how well he would able to advise the FAA.


The council is just advisory, meaning that they don’t have much influence over policies and regulations. However, they can provide their advice to the FAA once a quarter in a meeting to the FAA members. Recently, the FAA has been making changes to polices and regulations. This comes after President Trump challenged the FAA to improve airports as they were falling behind others across the world in terms of technology and security.


Since then, the FAA has made significant changes through different policies and regulations recently implemented. As a business leader, Devos adds a particular business acumen to the conversation because he’s been helping airports and airlines generate new revenue streams for years.


Through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Devos has been contributing to the growth of the airport industry in his hometown of Grand Rapids. Now that Gerald R. Ford International Airport has undergone a $45 million renovation, it’s become one of the most popular airports for business travel. The renovation paid for a new business traveler center, as well as upgrades in the food court and overall technology at the airport.


Devos was instrumental in the renovation negotiations, as well as expanding the airport over the past 10 years. In the 1990s, Devos started working with the airport. Gerald R. Ford International Airport re-launched in 1999. As an older airport, there were a lot of hopes that the re-launch would energize new sales. However, the CEO had to call Devos to help after new ticket sales did not improve at the airport.


Devos called the Air Tran Airways CEO to see if he could expand the number of flights at the airport. That one conversation led to growth for the airport. Airlines began to add new flights to Orlando, Las Vegas, Denver, and St. Louis. Devos also formed the Grand Action in his hometown to help with business growth in downtown. That action led to the formation of the Devos Performing Arts Center and Convention Center.


There have been a lot of developments for Devos within aviation. This includes the founding of West Michigan Aviation Academy which trains students to become pilots. This is another area where Devos can help the FAA as they look for incentives to entice students to become pilots.


Devos will continue meeting with the council for another year. The council meets every three months and has been meeting since 2017.


To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.