There are a number of power couples in Washington, but the most powerful in terms of cash flow may just be the Devos family. With Betsy Devos as US Education Secretary, and her husband Dick Devos now working with the FAA, the couple is now working together on Capitol Hill. While many are speculative on upcoming elections, it’s clear that the Devos family has always had an influence in education. Now Dick Devos is looking towards empowering the aviation industry with his business acumen and in-depth knowledge of airport economics.
For many years, Devos has been working in his hometown of Grand Rapids to improve commerce in downtown, as well as bring new ideas for economic growth to the area. Some of the first projects he opened in downtown Grand Rapids included a performing arts center and convention center. The two play nicely to give Grand Rapids its own voice and center of activity that was also supported by local businesses.
Devos saw that the airport nearby had a role to play as well. While the Gerald R. Ford International Airport was revamped in 1999, it’s actually a much older airport that dates back to the early 1900s. Most don’t realize that the airport has a long history in the area, but it came close to shutting down after a period of stagnant growth. In fact, it was Devos who worked with the CEO to bring in new ticket sales and change directions.
Early in the 2000s, Devos was working alongside the CEO of the airport. He decided to call up the CEO of Air Tran Airways to discuss plans of expansion, new ticket sales, and business travel in the aviation industry. Devos believed that he could turn Grand Rapids into an incredible business traveler destination. However, the airport needed more flights. Air Tran Airways agreed and then opened new terminals to Las Vegas, Orlando, Denver, and St. Louis.
After awhile, the growth was so incredible that more airlines jumped on to support the airport. This led to a $45 million renovation that was completely funded by the airlines at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. It’s no wonder that the CEO of the airport and the CEO of Southwest praised the appointment of Devos to the FAA council.
The council will meet once each quarter to go over suggestions on policies, regulations, future growth, and budgets.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.