Dick Devos is one of the top businessmen in the world. The former CEO of Amway and son of Rich Devos, he currently runs the Windquest Group, a private equity firm that represents companies like Boxed Water. In addition to being the founder of the TWG, he’s also on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. There a few airline executives and transportation authorities on the council, but Devos is the only one with a blend of aviation and global business skills outside of aviation.
Devos has been working with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport for some time. His nomination was praised by the CEO of the airport and the CEO of Southwest. He had worked with these two CEOs as part of the expansion of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in the 2000s. The expansion cost $45 million and started out in 1999, when the airport had just re-launched to abysmal sales.
However, the business leader had a plane, and it started with the AirTran Airways CEO. He Devos was able to call the CEO and talk to him about opening more destinations at the Grand Rapids Airport. Devos saw a huge opportunity to make the airport a magnet for business travelers who were looking to go to Orlando, Las Vegas, Denver, and St. Louis. These were great destinations for culture and business conferences, but Devos saw a way that Grand Rapids could join the business conference market.
He worked with the CEOs to expand the airport over the last two decades, finally resulting in a pilot school being located on campus and multiple upgrades. The new airport will have a business traveler center, new food court, and lots of new features in the food court. However, it is the technology in the new airport that will set it apart from the competition.
Devos will continue to work with the FAA for the next year. Already the Council has met with the FAA several times this year to provide insights into budgets, policies, regulations, and future plans for growth.
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