Dick Devos has been in the news recently. His family will begin a transition to downtown Grand Rapids as the purchase just completed on the abandoned Monroe building. The change comes after years of building Grand Rapids commerce and businesses through philanthropy via the Devos Family Foundation.
Devos has other reasons for wanting to move headquarters to downtown Grand Rapids as well. For one thing, he has been working since the 1990s to create a better environment for lucrative businesses in the downtown area. This started when he worked with other business owners and leaders in the early 1990s through city planning and philanthropy. The committee known as Grand Action formed to build a lot of projects, such as Devos Place Convention Center, Andel Arena, and Devos Performance Hall.
As the Devos family moves higher into political circles, it’s clear that the family has a lot of charitable giving under their belt. Dick Devos is even the founder of The Windquest Group, which help businesses that want to better the world. This includes helping organizations like Boxed Water.
How has Devos been working with political groups? For one, he recently joined the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. The civilian board is comprised of 13 members, who hail from transportation authority and airline executive members. The FAA has been making changes to policies and regulations throughout the past year. This all falls in line with the cahllenge that President Trump presented to the agency during his presidential election. He stated that foreign airports were overshadowing America’s aviation. He didn’t want to see America fall behind in one of its own industries.
Devos has been a fan of aviation for many years. Joining FAA came as a surprise to many as he doesn’t appear to own any aviation companies, but he does have a partnership with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. In fact, some would say that he put the airport on the map and saved it from closure in the early 2000s.
This is all due to one phone call that Devos made to the CEO of AirTran Airways. At the time, AirTran owned considerable space at the airport, and Devos asked if the airline would open up new flights to certain cities on the “business traveler” circuit. In Devos’ mind, Grand Rapids could become a key player in the conference circuit, just like Vegas or Orlando. AirTran Airways agreed, and it opened up new flights to Orlando, Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver.
This propelled the airport into new earnings, new ticket sales, and new growth. Over the past two decades, the airport has grown and recently completed a $45 million renovation to add a business center and food court upgrades.
It’s clear that Devos has amazing strategies for aviation, but where does his passion come from? Devos has been a fan of aviation for much of his life. He frequently pilots his own jets and co-founded a charter school that trains students to become pilots.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.