Joe Fagan

Former Soccer Star, Now Soccer Fan

January 28, 2019

Dick DeVos: What we need to know about him?

Most people know the DeVos name from Rich DeVos, owner and co-founder of Amway. The arena brand has done well over the past 40 years, bringing in record numbers of sales when his son Dick DeVos was President and CEO in the late 1990s. Since then, DeVos has moved on to philanthropy and started his own private equity firm known as the Windquest Group. The new firm helps companies that want to make the world a better place, including organizations like Boxed Water.


In addition, DeVos has been working with a number of airlines and airports over the past two decades in conjunction with his partnership to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids is DeVos’ hometown, and it’s the place where he has spent the most time planning the perfect city with business leaders. He has built several areas of the downtown sector to be more inviting and entertaining. With areas like the DeVos Place Convention Center and DeVos Performance Hall bringing in new forms of entertainment, businesses are flourishing in the downtown district.


This all goes along with DeVos’ early plans to create a better city that was rapidly growing into the 21st century with more revenue for business owners. He started to work with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in early 2000. He wanted to help the CEO change the strategy and revive stagnant sales. He started with a phone call to the CEO of Air Tran Airways. He asked the CEO if he would consider opening up four new destinations at the Grand Rapids location.


The strategy was simple. DeVos wanted to attract more business travelers to the area, which is why he built the DeVos Place Convention Center first. With that in mind, he was able to get the destinations added to the airport. This included St. Louis, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Denver. These were cities where business travelers frequented. Ticket sales immediately rose, and over the past 20 years, they have continued to rise, leading to an airport expansion in 2018.


DeVos knows all about difficult budgets and technology upgrades. The cost to expand the Gerald R. Ford International Airport was $45 million. He has been able to work with the FAA to show them how to make changes and fund the right budgets to increase technology and comfort across the country.


It will be interesting to see what DeVos does with his newfound political circle in Washington. He already joins his wife, the new US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, on Capitol Hill. He has always been a huge supporter of education, so it’s no surprise that he also has co-founded his own pilot training school on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport grounds.


Read to learn more.