Have you seen the latest from Capitol Hill? There is a new DeVos who has joined the political ranks. Dick DeVos, the husband of the US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is now working with the Federal Aviation Administration. He joins a 13-member civilian board called the Management Advisory Council after his appointment in September 2017. Many commended the appointment as a smart decision, seeing as DeVos has a keen business acumen and a high respect for the aviation world.
As a pilot and founder of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, it’s clear that DeVos has a love of flying. However, you may not be familiar with his business side in regards to the aviation industry. Everyone knows DeVos as the Amway CEO or as the new founder of the Windquest Group. There are also those who know him from his political aspirations and governor run in 2006. However, it seems that Dick DeVos has calmed down quite a bit and is sticking to what he loves, which is aviation.
In the early 1990s, Dick DeVos was just starting to build his business leadership skills. He had already conquered global sales for Amway and was looking to improve Grand Rapids on a much larger scale. There were plans floated to him about a sports arena and convention center. However, DeVos noted that the buildings would be away from the downtown center. This had occurred to so many other arenas. He wanted to build the right buildings for performing arts, cultural organizations, and health centers right around the business center of the city.
While many thought that the move was to block a new movement for Grand Rapids, it was actually make the movement smarter. By using city planning, DeVos was able to work other city leaders in a group called Grand Action. The group was responsible for helping to bring ideas together to improve the status of Grand Rapids.
As the Gerald R. Ford International Airport re-launched in 1999, DeVos saw more opportunities for Grand Rapids by expanding the airport’s offerings. It’s this type of acumen that comes in hand when you are trying to take back an industry. The airport sector has been difficult to regulate and make profits from due to technology and security issues. Frankly put, it’s not fun to fly anymore.
However, despite all these criticisms, DeVos went ahead and helped the CEO bring in new business, including new terminals and flights from Air Tran Airways. At the time, AAA was one of the top business leaders in the airline world. However, it started to falter and Southwest picked it up.
DeVos also talked to the CEO of Southwest to persuade him not to close all of the terminals. He wanted to show that there was a proof of concept that would pertain almost exclusively to business travelers.
What do you think? Is DeVos the right fight for the job?
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