Most people don’t realize that Dick Devos has joined the political arena. They may remember his gubernatorial run in 2006 in Michigan, but Devos has stayed out the limelight and supported his wife for many years as he continued to found and run his own business, The Windquest Group. Devos is known as the former CEO and President of Amway, who helped broker the deal with Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando in the 1980s. However, Dick Devos has become much more legendary in the business world since then.
In fact, he has risen the sales of all companies he’s worked with for the past two decades just due to his strategy and acumen. This is also true when it comes to working with airline and airports. Many don’t realize that Devos is a passionate pilot who has an avid aviation business career on the side. He has been working with the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport for many years, trying to help the airport expand and become even larger than nearby airports in Detroit.
This may actually happen now thanks to a $45 million renovation project that expanded the airport. This is in part due to Devos’ work with the airlines around him, including Southwest and Air Tran Airways. His work with these two airlines in particular helped to expand the airport greatly and usher in a new era of greater ticket sales and a new audience, business travelers.
The new business traveler center in the airport is part of that expansion, but there is also something else. Devos has always been a big believer in aviation education and pilot training. He now has co-founded a school on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport grounds called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The charter school helps students learn to become pilots and has had a very successful graduation record for the past few years.
The school is just one part of Devos’ passions. As a mentor, he has helped young pilots head into the aviation industry with a better mind for flight operations, and he has also worked with airlines to expand their offerings and grow a new stream of business in the Grand Rapids area.
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His work in Grand Rapids is quite legendary to all those who live there. With his wife, the couple have donated over $134 million to education and arts in the area as well.