Dick Devos first heard about the plan to build a multipurpose sports center in Grand Rapids in 1991, when he was the Chief Executive Officer of Amway. After thinking about it, he came to the realization that such a plan could be detrimental to Grand Rapids in the long run. For example, the Pontiac Silverdome proved to be detrimental to Detroit when the Lions and Pistons left. Dick Devos said that the lesson from Detroit was not lost on him. As someone who cares about his community, he decided to pick up the phone and use his connections to stop the project. Instead, he got some other buildings planned instead, which helped the city. He started the Grand Action Committee, which focused on building projects that would actually benefit the city. The new projects changed the skyline of Grand Rapids and its future.
Dick Devos is the husband of United States Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. However, that is not his only connection to Washington. He has been chosen to be on the board that overlooks the Federal Aviation Administration. He is one of seven new members that were recently chosen by Transportation Secretary Chao.
There are thirteen members on this board. They work together to decide how the Federal Aviation Administration will operate. These people meet four times each year. They serve for terms that last three years each. Each one of them is a volunteer. It is not a paid position.
There is a reason why Dick Devos was chosen for this role. He has a lot of experience with aviation and transportation in general. He was the CEO of Amway. He has helped both the Gerald Ford Airport and the Grand Rapids Airport grow by working out a deal with Southwest Airlines to provide flights out of Grand Rapids.
He knows a lot about the aviation industry. In addition, he is a pilot himself, who knows the ins and outs of what pilots need. He is licensed to fly jets and helicopters as well.
Both the CEO of Gerald Ford Airport and Elaine Chao praised Dick Devos, saying that his experience will be of great benefit to the board and that he will be a great asset to the team.
Dick Devos also founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. This is a public charter school that teaches its young students how to become pilots. Learn more: http://www.newnetherlandinstitute.org/history-and-heritage/dutch_americans/richard-dick-devos-jr/