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/.

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