When the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan began to put the word out that it was considering building a sports and convention center near its downtown, Dick DeVos wasn’t having it. On paper, the idea sounded like a good one. Who wouldn’t want to have a large sports arena in their city? However, the problems that the building could cause were much deeper and more complex than most people in the city could imagine.
This was not the case for Dick DeVos, who could easily imagine the issues that the building would cause. He had witnessed something similar many years ago when the city of Detroit decided to build a large sports arena. The problem had nothing to do with the arena, itself, but more to do with the damage it caused when the Lions and Pistons left the city in the 1970s. DeVos did not want to see the same mistake repeated twice, and he wasn’t about to let it happen to the city he loved the most.
Instead of waiting for others to take action, he began to make some phone calls. During his efforts to lobby against the idea, he helped to form Grand Action. This is a group of business leaders who ended up being a part of the construction of many different helpful buildings in Grand Rapids. He has also been a part of improving the city’s educational sector by being a part of the creation of The West Michigan Aviation Academy. The charter school operates in an office on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and now serves hundreds of students.
As if he wasn’t busy enough, Dick DeVos was recently appointed to serve in the Management Advisory Council for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He joins six other new members and will now serve on the 13-member council, which offers advice to the FAA. The group helps to direct the administration, and members serve for 3 years while keeping up with their positions in the private and public sector. DeVos has been a pilot for many years, and his love for the aviation industry is well known.
Jim Gill, chief executive officer of Ford airport, commented that Dick DeVos will be a huge asset to the council. He went further to point out that DeVos has deep roots in the aviation industry and that he has been a solid partner with the Ford airport. DeVos has a license to fly helicopters, single engine planes, and jets, and his enthusiasm for flying is said to be contagious.
Dick DeVos has been a part of efforts to improve the educational system in Michigan. He ran to serve as the state’s governor but lost to the incumbent Jennifer Granholm. He has worked with his wife, Betsy DeVos, through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which has donated a lot of money to educational causes in the state. DeVos believes that a quality education is something that every student deserves, and he continues to do all he can to improve the educational offerings in his home country.
Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.