Dick DeVos: Aviation Enthusiast

Dick DeVos, member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council, has had a lifelong interest in flying. A licensed pilot, he can fly single-engine planes, helicopters, and jets.


The 13-member council advises the FAA senior management on spending, planning, policy, and regulatory issues. DeVos serves as a volunteer for the three-year term.


DeVos has a long history of advocating for aviation. He was in large part responsible for the growth and success of Grand Rapid’s Gerald R. Ford International Airport. In trying to promote more direct flights out of Grand Rapids, he was able to convince Southwest Airlines to offer routes from there. He and other business leaders worked hard behind the scenes to accomplish this. It helped lower fares and increased the number of passengers. It also resulted in $45 million in upgrades.


Jim Gill, CEO of Ford Airport, has said that DeVos will be an asset to the FAA council because of his work with the airport and his aviation background. “He will bring strong leadership skills and industry insight to the FAA,” he said.


DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, current US Secretary of Education, founded the Western Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010. It is a charter school located at Ford International Airport which provides an education in aviation as well as traditional school courses. They study computer science, aerospace engineering, and robotics as well as literature, mathematics, and foreign languages. The student body is 28 percent Hispanic and African-American.


DeVos and his wife are well-known for their philanthropy in Michigan. Over the years they have given away $138.7 million to various programs, scholarships, churches, leadership groups, and education initiatives. Their donations include $12.5 million for a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids named for his mother, Helen DeVos. Her husband, the late Richard DeVos is the founder of the Amway Corporation. The son himself was CEO of Amway from 1993 to 2002.


He has also been a major figure in the rejuvenation of downtown Grand Rapids, forming a team of business leaders who led the way to the construction of the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Van Andel Arena, the Grand Rapids City Market, and more.

He is currently CEO of Windquest Group, a privately held Grand Rapids holding company, with projects in manufacturing, nonprofit solutions, technology, and clean tech.


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

Unraveling the Great Perry Mandera

Perry Mandera is the Chief Executive Officer of one of the best shipping companies in the United States; The Custom Companies Inc. the company is based in Illinois. Perry Mandera has a vast and varied experience in the field of logistics transportation of over forty years. He first worked in the marines by transporting supplies and the troops in 1976. In one way, this work led him to his career path as his primary aim while serving the comrades was their satisfaction. Perry Mandera was elected as the Republican Ward Committeeman for the 26th ward in Chicago in 1984 up to 1988.

Perry Mandera is considered intelligent because of how he always incorporates the latest technology in his business operations. He has in-house programmers who customize their software to specific customer needs so that they can meet the standards of the shipping industry. He also takes strategic chances, and his business is not too conservative. Perry Mandera is also a good employer as some of his employees have been with him for over thirty years. His company has more than 500 workers. His habit of micromanaging can be the reason why most of the employees enjoy working with him. Perry Mandera believes that appreciating one’s work motivates them to work better and give ideas without fear of being shunned. Perry Mandera has advised young entrepreneurs on being calculative and not making decisions on impulse to avoid unnecessary risk when he gets the opportunity to do so.

Perry Mandera is also known for the extensive charity work he does especially towards children. He even has programs that help in financial donations and material support to the less fortunate in the society. Through a letter at the end of each year, Perry Mandera asks his employees to give names of people in need in their lives and not necessarily a family member. They help those people financially with the aim of giving them a better end of year holidays. Perry Mandera is a respected businessperson such that the Illinois Transportation Association (ITA) recognized him as one of the top a hundred American Transportation Executives of the Millennium in 2000.