Most people do not realize how important the DeVos family has been to the Republican Party in Michigan and beyond. Betsy DeVos is now the 11th US Secretary of Education, which has been her lifetime goal since she was a little girl. For Dick DeVos, his path has led him into political circles as well. Although he was not able to secure governorship in Michigan in 2006, he has always helped build Michigan as an education leader and business-oriented state.
For many, Dick DeVos is still the face of Amway. However, he left the company in the 2000s to focus on his own endeavors, which mostly include politics and charity. In fact, the DeVos Family Foundation has given away almost $140 million to education, culture and the arts, healthcare, and community organizations in Michigan. For DeVos, it’s also been about the growth in his hometown.
In the 1990s, DeVos saw a lot of opportunities for his hometown to grow. He worked with business leaders to change the face of the downtown area as well. He wanted to see Grand Rapids grow as big as some of the other business destinations in America, and he had a strategy for how he would get that done. It all started with building up the downtown area to be more entertaining and conducive to business travelers. This included the creation of the DeVos Place Convention Center, Andel Arena, and DeVos Performance Hall.
Then, he saw another opportunity and one of the best strategies to bring business travelers to the city. He began working with the local airport to build up the airlines in place as well as the flight destinations. He made one phone call to the CEO of AirTran Airways, and the airline added four new flights in the early 2000s. This would be a spring board for the airport to start making real ticket sales.
Before this point, the airport had been a small executive airport that many didn’t realize existed. Now it’s an international airport with a new name. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport tripled in growth and even expanded. In fact, the $45 million expansion was completed in 2018 and included an all new business traveler center, as well as food court upgrades.
It was these types of strategies that the FAA saw as important to its own growth in 2018 and beyond. The agency unveiled new policies and regulation changes, as well as a $40 million renovation for the GSO Tower recently. While DeVos and the council cannot make decisions for the FAA, they do meet with the agency once per quarter to go over new changes and future growth. DeVos has been quintessential to the council’s success.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.