Dick Devos is one of the top businessman in America. He has been the President and CEO of Amway, a Fortune 500 company, and he owns his own private equity firm known as The Windquest Group, which he runs with his wife. Devos is married to the 11th US Education Secretary Betsy Devos, an education reformer who was appointed by President Trump to lead the educational choice movement.
Now Devos is working in Washington as well. For one, he has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration through their Management Advisory Council. The council was started in 2017. Devos’ appointment to the council was praised by others in the aviation industry, including the CEO of Southwest industry. However, many didn’t first understand the move because Devos isn’t an airline executive or former transportation authority.
In fact, Devos has worked with airports and airlines for over two decades. He is well known for his business acumen and has helped the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport as well. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport went through a re-launch in 1999, but that didn’t help the ticket sales much. It wasn’t until Devos came on board in the 2000s that he finally saw some ticket sales. This was because Devos made a phone call to the CEO of AirTran Airways. That one phone call changed a lot for the airport, including adding on four new destinations.
The new destinations were business traveler destinations. These were places where conferences and meetups were held for all types of industries. These new cities include Orlando, St. Louis, Vegas, and Denver. Devos really wanted to link up the destinations to what he had been building in downtown Grand Rapids, which included a new convention center for conferences as well.
He also helped the airport when it was unclear what Southwest would do when the company took over AirTran Airways. Devos saw an opportunity to work with the CEO on keeping the destinations and terminals open, while also promising future growth. Right after that, the airport received a $45 million fund from the airlines at the airport to help expand the terminals and technology. This is exactly the type of thing that intrigues the FAA as the agency tries to improve airport technology and offers according to the challenge from the president.
The CEO of Southwest has praised the FAA for working with Devos. His nomination comes at a time when the FAA truly needs some business help to keep the aviation industry stable in America. While it has been up and down for many years, there are a lot of companies trying to help change the face of aviation in America and do something for the country’s most innovative industry just a few decades ago.
The planning and strategy is something that Devos can help with every time. He has been working with the FAA for over a year now and will continue to meet with the council throughout 2019.
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