The story of Dick and Betsy DeVos has been incredibly rooted in community programs, education, and the city of Grand Rapids, their hometown. Dick DeVos has contributed greatly to the success of businesses in his hometown by working with aviation companies and city leaders to create something better.
One incident stands out among the rest in recent years. Grand Rapids was set to build a new sports multi-plex in the heart of downtown. Dick DeVos started to lobby against the idea, not because he did not want to support businesses, but he had seen what happened when the Pistons and Lions left Detroit in the 1970s. That had devastated the city and the Pontiac Superdome had drained the city’s finances.
At the, time DeVos said that he had learned a lesson from those years. He put his efforts into creating other ways for businesses to thrive in Grand Rapids. Another example was the upgrades to the Grand Airports Airport.
By 2018, Grand Rapids will have an entirely new airport design with new terminals and services that will make it a top-class airport. Flights have also been added from Southwest, which purchased AirTran. Much of this can be attributed to the workings of Dick DeVos who called the CEO of AirTran and asked him to help make Grand Rapids one of the best airports in the nation.
AirTran agreed to add new flights for St. Louis, Detroit, and Orlando, and it led to $48 million success story for the company. Dick DeVos has recently been appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. As the upcoming CEO for Amway and a pilot himself, DeVos seemed to be perfect the role. He also proposed a plan that would take air travel towards a business approach, which was largely lost on the media.
DeVos’ plan has impressed Southwest executives that they held it up as a way for other cities to work with Southwest to get more flights added.
Dick and Betsy DeVos also run a foundation which has given over $187 million to charities and community organization, especially for arts, cultural, community leadership, family services, and education. They continue to work as a team to support communities, particularly in their home state.
During his speech at The Economic Club of Grand Rapids in June 2017, it is clear that Dick DeVos has big plans to help aviation companies and airports reach new heights in 2018. Learn more: http://www.newnetherlandinstitute.org/history-and-heritage/dutch_americans/richard-dick-devos-jr/