For the past two years, Dick DeVos has been working with the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. His work has helped with new ideas for airport renovations across the United States. One of the major issues pointed out by President Trump in his 2017 address was the lack of new technology in airports, such as in other countries. The FAA started the council to help with new policies, regulations, plans for growth, and budgets.
So how is Dick DeVos known in the aviation industry? His work with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport placed Grand Rapids on the map. In the 1990s, people may not have known how difficult things were for all of Michigan, not just Detroit. DeVo’s hometown of Grand Rapids was going through similar economic breakdowns.
DeVos started working with local business leaders. They formed the committee known as Grand Action, which helped many businesses build up the central area of downtown Grand Rapids. Some of the buildings involved include DeVos Place Convention Center, DeVos Performance Hall, and Andel Arena. These areas now re-focused the area around downtown as a central place for entertainment and commerce.
The next phase of the plan involved the nearby airport. While the Grand Rapids airport had been around since the early 1900s, ticket sales had fallen dramatically, and by 1999, the airport re-launched in hopes of bring in new passengers. However, without a plan, the airport wasn’t able to course correct. It wasn’t until Dick DeVos joined with the CEO that they were able to bring in new flights and start bringing in business travelers.
The increase in ticket sales happened instantly. New passengers started booking flights to Orlando, Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver. These new locations had double intent from DeVos who wanted to bring in business travelers to conference and convention destinations. Now that the airport was on board, Grand Rapids started to receive an influx of travelers and boomed in growth.
These plans created a huge demand for the airport, and now it’s gone through a $45 million renovation and been named one of the top airports in the United States. DeVos has been credited with putting the airport on the map and helping to build a more advanced business traveler center.
Devos will continue to work with the FAA through 2020 and help with other airport developments around the US.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.