For Dick DeVos, life has been a myriad of positive business decisions. He learned from one of the best, his father Richard DeVos Sr. Although Richard recently passed on, his son has now become one of the leading businessmen in the country. His work with Grand Rapids businesses and the nearby airport have gained him some considerable praise for his ability to provide connections and insights.
Dick DeVos now works with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. The civilian board is made up of 13 members, most of whom are from transportation authority backgrounds. However, there are also some airline executives. For the past forty years, DeVos has been working with business leaders in Grand Rapids, but his work with the airport since 1999 was the reason behind his appointment to the council.
The Grand Rapids airport had been around since the early 1900s. It hadn’t ever been exactly popular. It was a smaller airport that only provided some flights to New York and Los Angeles. It was hardly the 3.26 million passengers a year airport that it is today.
However, DeVos had an idea that would help the airport get more passengers. He devised a strategy around business travelers. He began by contacting the AirTran Airways CEO in the early 2000s. He asked if the airline would be open to starting new flights to specific destinations. His idea was to bring in business travelers who were on the conference destination circuit. The airline agreed and set up new flights to Orlando, Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver from Grand Rapids.
This move alone instantly brought in new ticket sales. Business travelers began to use the airport, and finally there was activity at the DeVos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids.
For the past 10 years, the airport has been ramping up in business. This most recent year, there were a record-breaking 3.26 million passengers through the Grand Rapids airport. Now the Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s CEO has praised DeVos for being one of the driving factors for the airport’s success.
Other CEOs in aviation have also stated how great it is to have Dick DeVos on the FAA’s new council. His ability to help the Grand Rapids airport remodel and add new services has also granted new sales and revenue for the airport. These are the types of ideas that the FAA is looking for as they update policies and regulations in the next two years.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.