Betsy DeVos has gotten a reputation for being an education trailblazer. Her husband Dick DeVos now joins her in Washington as one of 13 members newly appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. The appointment comes after years of prudent business relationships with aviation giants for Dick DeVos.


As the former CEO of Amway, DeVos is a seasoned businessman who has helped his hometown of Grand Rapids by growing it into an aviation destination and link between different airports. He has worked diligently to expand aviation in his community. His love of aviation is rooted deep in his personal life, as he is an avid pilot and helped co-found an aviation school with his wife.


DeVos started his work with the aviation industry in the 1990s. He looked for opportunities to grow Grand Rapids in multiple ways, but his grandest effort was with the airport. He wanted to expand the number of terminals and ultimately create a better airport that could provide flights to more destinations. So, he called the Air Tran President and told him his plan for Grand Rapids.


He eventually convinced the CEO to help him build upon Grand Rapids airport by adding terminals and destinations to St. Louis, Orlando, and Denver. When Southwest purchased Air Tran, DeVos went to work with Southwest CEO as well. The company was looking to shutter some terminals in different markets but ultimately, decided to help expand Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.


Through these efforts, Grand Rapids airport received $45 million for a makeover. The move was impressive to the CEO of Southwest, who still works with DeVos to this day. In fact, he was very pleased at the appointment of DeVos to the FAA council.


Jim Gill, the CEO of Ford airport, also said that Devos would be a “tremendous asset to the FAA Management Advisory Council.” He listed that DeVos has roots in aviation as he is a pilot and that he had been an outstanding partner for the airport for many years.


DeVos’ strong leadership and Amway ties have given him access to many business leaders within aviation. He joins a council with members from the US Department of Transportation, Aviation Department for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, American Airlines, and Pinnacle Airlines.


Betsy DeVos and her husband also have a foundation called the Dick & Betsy DeVos foundation, which has contributed to multiple charities in education, aviation, arts, culture, health services, and community organizations. Their commitment to Grand Rapids has grown the city and strengthened the economy in multiple ways. They continue to support the city through committees like Grand Action, which brings all of the city business leaders together to create economic growth.


Dick DeVos will start his work on the council during their first quarterly meeting in 2018. Learn more: