Dick Devos: A Philanthropist

Most people know of the Devos family. For one, they are one of the largest philanthropists in America, donating over $139 million to various charities and organizations. Most often, those charities relate to education reform and charter schools. The Devos family is very active in the Republican Party as well. After all, Betsy Devos is the 11th US Secretary of Education, appointed by President Trump in 2016, and her husband is Dick Devos, who works for the FAA.

 

Devos’ venture with the FAA is only recent. He was nominated in September 2017 along with 12 other members. Most of the members come from transportation policy and authority backgrounds, while there are a few former airline executives as well. Devos is neither, but somehow, his nomination was praised by those in aviation, such as the CEO of Southwest.

 

Devos is a unicorn when it comes to aviation and business. He has dabbled in aviation since he was younger and has been fascinated with planes. He owns a jet and helicopter, which he frequently uses to pilot and travel on his own. However, his affiliation with aviation business is a much more powerful reason for him to be nominated to the council.

 

So why was Devos tapped by the FAA? For one, he has a huge influence over the Gerald R. Ford International airport expansion to be completed this year. Over the past two decades, he has worked with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport to bring in new business, starting in 1999. At this time, the airport had just re-launched, but sales trends still projected a loss.

 

Devos called up the CEO of AirTran Airways to see if he could change the fate of the airport. He asked if the airline would be open to adding new destinations to its terminals. AirTran agreed, and suddenly, there were four more new destinations to choose from at the airport. This included popular destinations like Orlando, Denver, St. Louis, and Vegas.

 

The airport was becoming a business traveler’s dream, and Devos thought that it was perfect to go along with city planning that he had been helping with in Grand Rapids proper. The business leaders in the city had planned a convention center, and now Devos thought that business travelers would naturally want to go to conferences and conventions in Grand Rapids as well.

 

It’s this type of thinking that got Devos onto the FAA’s new council. He will continue to meet with them for the next year.

 

Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.