The latest news is out on Capitol Hill. The DeVos family have been flexing their political power as 2019 is almost halfway over. With Betsy DeVos as the 11th US Education Secretary and her husband Dick DeVos working with the FAA, it seems they are both in the positions that they have always dreamed of.
Did you know that Dick DeVos is an enthusiastic aviator? His work with the FAA has earned him a lot of press. It wasn’t too long ago that he was working with sports arenas under Richard DeVos Sr, the co-founder of Amway Arenas. In the 1980s, DeVos started at Amway as a Vice President of Sales. He grew the international arm of the company and set records for his global sales.
In the end, he wanted to do something else and chose to work with city leaders in his hometown. This was his first step into philanthropy, and he donated millions through the DeVos Family Foundation to help out the city of Grand Rapids. He saw that the town he loved was headed in a bad direction due to the poor economy in Michigan throughout the 1990s. He began working with a group called Grand Action to rebuild the city and work on bringing businesses back to the downtown sector.
It was at this time that many areas of Michigan were undergoing a recession. Detroit had been the hardest hit, and DeVos had seen the devastation. He wanted his hometown to have a better chance of surviving the recession. He helped by building the DeVos Performance Hall and DeVos Place Convention Center. The Andel Arena was also built in the area, bringing more eyes to the business district of downtown Grand Rapids.
DeVos also ran for governor of Michigan in 2006. His wife Betsy DeVos has been an active member of the Michigan Republican Party, serving as Chairman until she became the US Education Secretary. While Dick DeVos did not win the gubernatorial election, that didn’t stop him from working with other businesses in the area.
His best work, however, was probably with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. At this time, he saw how much potential that his city could have with a bustling airport. While the airport had been around since the early 1900s, it had never been a large airport with many customers and terminals. DeVos set out to change all of that, and with one phone call, he added new destinations that caused ticket sales to soar.
Now the airport just surpassed 3.26 million passengers in 2018 and is guaranteed to do more business after the renovations are completed from the Gateway Transformation Project. We’ll see what DeVos has planned for the next phase.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.