Have you seen the news in Washington? There’s a new DeVos in town. Everyone has come to know the education reformer and polarizing figure, US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. However, her husband is the topic of news as of late. He enters the aviation policy world with his appointment to the Management Advisory Council in September 2017.
The Federal Aviation Administration created the 13-member council to receive advice from transportation experts, policymakers, and former airline executives. The group meets once every business quarter to discuss regulations, future growth, budgets, and policies affecting the aviation industry. In recent years, there have been a lot of changes to the way that people purchase airfare and experience air travel in America. Some of the business ideas could be revamped to help travelers experience more stabilizing buying experiences.
DeVos is the person to go to for business advice. He has lead one of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world, Amway, and he owns his own firm called The Windquest Group. However, for many years he has also worked with airlines, airports, aviation schools, and philanthropy for aviation projects. It all started in his hometown of Grand Rapids in the 1990s.
DeVos has always been an avid aviation enthusiast and pilot. He has licenses for jets and helicopters. However, he has also worked with aviation companies, like the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and several airlines. His connections in the business world show just how approachable he is and what kind of leader he sets out to be in business. So how will he fair in the political arena?
In the past, DeVos has worked with airlines and airports alike. He has talked to the CEO of Air Tran Amways personally to help build a better foundation for Gerald R. Ford Airport, and then he worked with the CEO of Southwest to improve the terminals at the airport. Eventually that led to a $45 million dollar expansion. The renovations will be completed by the end of 2018.
While most people have seen DeVos at Amway, they may not have known that he co-founded the aviation charter school located on the Gerald R. Ford airport grounds. This charter school has been one of the biggest educators for those who want to become pilots and work in flight operations.
As DeVos has worked with the airport, Grand Rapids has also expanded. The city has entered a period of rapid growth following the contributions made by the DeVos Family Foundation. With new parks, community services, performing arts centers, and educational organizations, the foundation has donated over $134 million to various projects. DeVos knows all too well how those projects have changed downtown Grand Rapids for the better.
Those ideas are some of the ways that DeVos will be working with the council and providing his expertise over the next year.
Follow Dick DeVos on Facebook.