For former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chou, selecting Dick DeVos was a natural choice to serve on the top civilian panel providing guidance and strategy to the Federal Aviation Commission (FAA).
DeVos served a three-year term on the 13-member FAA Management Advisory Council. FAA spokesman Gregory Martin said this body is critical for implementing long-range planning and oversight that regulates all aviation activity in America.
Dick DeVos brought a rich background in aviation experience to his role. He was instrumental in revitalizing the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his home state. He did that by pulling levers behind the scenes that gathered the influence of a number of prominent business leaders. Their focus was on convincing Southwest Airlines to make Grand Rapids a major element of its flight offerings. The effort was successful.
Dick DeVos also garnered national attention for the remarkable aviation school for high school students he backed and bankrolled. The West Michigan Aviation Academy is a tuition-free charter school unlike any other school of its kind in the nation. Students can take flight training in professional-grade simulators and fly real airplanes as they work toward their high school diplomas.
Dick DeVos is also an accomplished pilot in his own right. He owns a fleet of jets and a number of helicopters. He’s been piloting aircraft for most of his life and has logged thousands of hours of flight time.
Married to former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Dick is well-connected in both the highest levels of government circles as well as being an extraordinary leader of the business community. He is the former president and CEO of Amway Corporation. He also served as the CEO of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Dick DeVos currently heads up the Windquest Group, a private investment firm that focuses on sustainable energy development technologies.