Have you seen the news from Washington? Dick DeVos, former President and CEO of Amway, has recently joined the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. The new board advises the FAA on what they should do with budgets, planning, policies, and regulations in the upcoming years. It has been a difficult time for the aviation industry as much of the technology has changed, from how to book a flight to security to in-flight technology. Most airlines have been trying to offer new services, but is it safe? These are the types of questions and answers that the council will be looking into with the FAA in order to make the industry better.
For the past 10 years, the aviation industry has gone up and down. There have been incredible highs, and there have also been increasing lows, in terms of economy and employment. DeVos has experience in all areas of business, but he has focused on aviation in the past 10 years.
While he is currently the president and founder of The Windquest Group, which manages newer companies in a portfolio, he has always been one of the faces of Amway. The global Fortune 500 company has always been at the top in sales, due to having market share in a variety of industries. So how did DeVos get into aviation?
For one, he has always been an avid pilot and has several licenses. He owns jets and helicopters, and he frequently pilots them himself. However, his love for business has also pushed him into partnering with airports and airlines for mutually beneficial results. For one thing, he worked with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in his hometown of Grand Rapids for many years. He continues to partner with the CEO on projects to expand and bring in more ticket sales.
In fact, he was there when the Gerald R. Ford Airport originally re-launched in 1999. Although it is a historic airport, it had failed to bring in more ticket sales despite having renovated a few times in its history. DeVos was called upon to help the CEO with expansion and bringing in more customers. He worked with Air Tran Airways to bring in new destinations like Orlando, St. Louis, Denver, and Vegas. These new destinations brought in return traffic and more business travelers as well.
By 2018, the airport had fully expanded and needed to update its space again. This time it got $45 million from all of the airlines at the airport. The new airport renovations will be completed by the end of the year and feature a new business traveler center, food court, and technology in the terminals.
While his business senses have helped the airport, DeVos and his wife Betsy also have sensibilities when it comes to education and training in aviation. The pair founded an aviation charter school on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Airport and now pilots can be trained right within the airport setting.
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