The Federal Aviation Administration has created a new civilian board to help with policies, regulations, spending, and other matters related to the aviation industry. This board is known as the Management Advisory Council, and a familiar face has just been appointed along with 12 others.
Dick DeVos is the latest appointment to the Management Advisory Council. He is among a mix of private and public sector aviation and transportation government leaders. Some of the members include Phillip Trenary, former CEO of Pinnacle Airlines and Donna McLean, former US Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs.
While many may believe that DeVos is only the President of Amway, they would be ignoring his extensive history with aviation as a business and hobby.
DeVos is an avid pilot and is licensed to pilot single engine jet and helicopter planes. He owns a few of them as well. His work at the aviation academy on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford airport is enough to show his passion. However, there are also the other ways in which he has helped turn around the old airport.
From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Grand Rapids International Airport had an imagine and destination problem. It was old and barely provided any decent destinations. DeVos wanted to change all of that by adding on new terminals. He picked up the phone and talked to the Air Tran Airways CEO at the time. Within a few weeks, the airport had new terminals including St. Louis, Orlando, Vegas, and Denver.
His work with Air Tran allowed Gerald R. Ford to start bringing in new businesses and lowering air fares as it had more customers. However, things seemed to be coming to a halt once Southwest purchased Air Tran. This was a different conversation for Dick DeVos, as he would have to convince the CEO that it was worth it to keep the destinations and terminals open within the airport. The company had been shuttering other terminals in cities across the country.
Ultimately Southwest kept the terminals at the airport. Recently, Grand Rapids International Airport went through a $45 million remodel to add new food courts, business center, and terminals. This comes at a time when Gerald R. Ford is booming with international business travelers from Canada and the US.
DeVos has always been a fan of aviation and has worked his whole life to become a prominent businessman. As his governor run did not make it in 2006, it will be interesting to see how his political knowledge plays out in Washington from being on the new council.
Many aviation leaders, including the CEO of Southwest said that the appointment was a perfect fit. They must know that the man has a passion for flying and business that will contribute greatly to discussions surrounding the future of aviation business in America.
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