The latest news from Washington shows a rise in popularity for Betsy Devos, the new US Education Secretary. As she has polarized America on how to handle education reform, her husband has been moving into political circles as well. However, his path to Washington is through the Federal Aviation Administration. Last September, Dick Devos joined the Management Advisory Council for the FAA. The new council is comprised of 13 members who come from aviation and transportation authority backgrounds.
So how does Devos fit in?
For many years, Devos has been a pilot on the side to his business leadership positions. Most know him only has the President and CEO of Amway, but he hasn’t been with Amway in some time. Currently he runs The Windquest Group and remains active in the economics of his home town in Grand Rapids, where he has helped the city grow and rapidly become a popular business travel destination.
The airport in Grand Rapids is one such symbolism of that commitment. Devos has worked with the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford Airport since the 1990s. The airport re-launched in 1999 after experiencing a slump, and when sales didn’t automatically pick up, the CEO reached out to Devos. The plan was simple. Devos wanted to get more destinations and terminals within the airport, allowing it to service more international travelers from Canada and US.
The airport quickly grew thanks to a phone call made to Devos’ friend at Air Tran Airways. It was the CEO. Soon, there were four new destinations added to the lineup, including Vegas, Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver.
Many people don’t realize that Devos has been a profound business leader in aviation because of his history with Amway and sports arenas. That’s only one of Devos’ passions. He has been into aviation since he was younger, and he has several pilot licenses. He also co-founded an aviation academy with his wife in the early 2000s called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Students train to fly jets and helicopters, eventually becoming eligible for employment as a pilot.
Devos’ work with the FAA will tell if he is able to work in Washington. He has run for office before in Michigan, but he was unsuccessful in his bid.
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