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Dick DeVos Takes a Seat at the FAA


Have you seen the latest from the Devos family? Most are looking at their political leanings now that it has been two years and both are working in Washington. While originally Betsy Devos joined Washington as the US Secretary of Education in 2016, her husband did not appear until 2017 when he joined the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. The council consists of 13 members, who are all from different transportation authorities and airline backgrounds. How does Devos fit in?


For one, he’s an avid pilot who has been working within the aviation industry very quietly while running Amway and the Windquest Group. His partnership with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is legendary as it proves you can transform a business overnight just with good sales.


So what happened to earn Devos this spot on the council? Devos worked very hard to help the airport throughout the early 2000s. He had been helping leaders throughout the Grand Rapids area, but it was the airport that took his true focus in 1999. He saw opportunities for jobs, education, and immense growth. Part of what he had to do to kick off the growth was talk to his friends at Air Tran Airways.


Devos’ idea was to get wealth by expanding to new terminals and flights. These would appeal to business travels who were not able to get non-stop flights to places like Denver, St. Louis, Orlando, and Vegas. With the expansion, Devos was able to talk to the CEO about adding these places and satisfying the needs of business travelers. This led to an increase in ticket sales for the airport overall, and eventually, it would lead to a truly renovating experience in 2018. The renovations would cost about $45 million but would supply new areas for business travelers and those who loved the food court.


The FAA formed the council in order to bring together business leaders and transportation authorities who could provide advise on what to change in order to become the world’s leader in aviation once more. President Trump challenged the FAA when he took office, noting that American airports were behind other airports in the world in terms of technology and security.


Ever since then, the FAA has been changing and creating new policies. The council meets with the FAA once every quarter and discusses the major topics, including policies, regulations, budgets, and futue growth. Now that Devos has joined the council, they also get advice on how to work with pilots and provide more education opportunities for training.


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