Dick DeVos and the FAA

Last year, Dick DeVos joined the Federal Aviation Administration’s new Management Advisory Council, consisting of 13 members from political and business backgrounds. Most of the members come from transportation departments, but there are also former executives from airlines joining the civilian board as well. Dick DeVos was one of the new council members, having joined in September of 2017.

 

The council is responsible for helping the FAA with new policies, regulations, budgets, and future growth plans. While the aviation industry has taken great strides in a few years, it has also been difficult to stabilize in several areas. Pricing and employment are just two of the major problems facing the FAA currently. Competition and technology have also driven new ideas for growth. The travel ban just adds one more issue to air security as well.

 

So, the Management Advisory Council was created to help the FAA with insight into the different areas of the industry. Dick DeVos has spent a number of years working alongside the aviation industry. He has also seen it grow and fall along the way. In recent years, he has been increasingly noticed for his involvement with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in his hometown of Grand Rapids.

 

The town has seen considerably growth, and many believe that is in part to the DeVos Family Foundation, which has set up a variety of businesses, community organizations, and economy-inducing areas around their hometown. DeVos started working with the airport in the 1990s, after the Gerald R. Ford Airport relaunched in 1999.

 

The re-launching of the airport only solved some of the issues that it faced. There was still the problem of slow traffic and price fluctuations. DeVos had an idea and talked to the head of Air Tran Airways, bringing the CEO on board with expanding the offerings at the airport so that they could bring in more ticket sales to different destinations, including places like Orlando, St. Louis, Vegas, and Denver.

 

Throughout the early 2000s, DeVos worked closely with the CEO of the airport to add new facilities and expand airport offerings. He also stepped in when Southwest Airlines took over Air Tran Airways and was trying to shut down terminals in a number of airports. He didn’t want that to happen to the Grand Rapids location.

 

His plan has worked, allowing Gerald R. Ford Airport to triple in size since the 1990s. The airport has just finished a $45 million renovation project in 2018 and now has new areas for business travelers. The new food court and technology has also helped bring in new international travelers.

 

DeVos brings his experience of working with the airport as well as ways to bring in new talent for pilots. DeVos and his wife Betsy, the US Secretary of Education, have founded a charter school for aviation on the grounds of the airport, which trains students on how to be pilots.

 

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

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