Dick DeVos is one of the top businessmen in the world. For years, he led Amway to global sales and sports arena domination. Now he is working with transportation officials and former airline executives on a new venture. He will be the newest member to the Management Advisory Council created by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has new goals to advance the aviation industry in America, as it has fallen behind in digital technology compared to the rest of the world. Aviation used to be one of America’s stronger industries, but it has gotten increasingly competitive thanks to online travel agencies.
While the airline industry tries to stabilize, there are still a variety of issues facing the industry including employment problems. The suggestions for change have created a need for those who are familiar with policies, regulations, and business development. Dick DeVos is no foreigner to any of these, as he has been working alongside the airline industry for many years. However, he is more familiar with business development and education in aviation than anything else.
DeVos started his career in business through Amway. However, in his later years, he has turned to education and philanthropy, and focusing on his interests. That includes aviation. For many years, he has been a pilot, earning licenses for different aircraft including a helicopter and jet planes.
However, his passion has also seen the creation of a charter school dedicated to the training of pilots. The West Michigan Aviation Academy is one of the top charter schools in Michigan. Located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, students learn a variety of skills and train to become pilots. It’s one of the things that has helped bring in new pilots to certain airline programs.
DeVos has also worked alongside the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport to bring in new business and expand the current terminals, allowing for new flights and destinations. This began with the re-launch in 1999. The airport had hit a period of stagnant growth, and DeVos was asked if he could help bring in new flights. He agreed and began to work with Air Tran Airways, adding on new flights from Las Vegas, Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver.
The terminals were in jeopardy when Southwest took over Air Tran Airways in the 2000s. DeVos made another phone call to the CEO of Southwest to persuade him to keep open the terminals and promote expansion for the airport. The call worked, and the terminals remained open.
Throughout the later 2010s, DeVos worked with the CEO of the airport and airline executives to create a renovation deal that would combine their efforts. The total renovation cost included $45 million in updates to the terminals, new business traveler center, and a new food court area.
Now that DeVos is working alongside other transportation authorities and airline executives, he will be able to affect more change in the industry and bring about new ideas for growth.
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