His life experiences demonstrate that Dick Devos is an agent for change. If he thinks that something is not right, he will do everything he can to correct it. For instance, in 1991 when there was a plan to build a Grand Rapids sport complex, Devos opposed the idea and worked against it. In his mind, the sports arena will not be good for the Grand Rapids downtown area. He believed it will be detrimental as the Palace of Auburn Hills and the Silverdome at Pontiac damage were harmful to Detroit in the 1970s when the Pistons and the Lions left the city.
Devos’ attitude of making changes when they are necessary is what guided him when he was still the Amway CEO from 1993 to 2002. His move against the sports complex in Grand Rapids was instrumental in the creation of Grand Action, a business association which modified the Grand Rapids skyline. Through Grand Action’s initiatives, a number of new constructions sprouted in the area. These new buildings include the DeVos’ Place Convention Center, the medical school of the Michigan State University, the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Performance Hall, and the City Market of Grand Rapids, and Grand Action’s initiatives effectively stopped the suburban spread in Grand Rapids and changed its direction.
Together with his wife Betsy, Dick Devos is the moving force of Grand Action. Both husband and wife are born to rich families and have spent most of their lives trying to change the status quo. Considerable changes happened in the area’s state laws affecting labor and education through their political influence. The two are able to effect considerable changes since they are major donors in the coffers of the GOP.
However, the DeVos were not always successful in having it their way. They were defeated by voters in 2000 when they tried to amend the constitution. The Devos wanted to fund the education of students who went to private schools with the tax proceeds from the public. When Dick campaigned for the governor’s seat in 2006, he was clobbered by the incumbent governor, Jennifer Granholm. But the two were unfazed by these temporary defeats.
Since then, Dick Devos has been appointed as a top board member of the Federal Aviation Administration and Betsy is now the Secretary of Education. Dick’s appointment to the board of FAA was handed down in Sept. 2017. He is now overseeing the organization’s civilian panel. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao announced the appointment of Dick, along with the other new board members. The board members are in charge of FAA’s policy matters, its spending policies, long-range planning and regulatory matters.
All board members serve as volunteers on a 3-year term. While serving in their capacity as FAA board members, they are not required to give up their current private or public positions. They have a scheduled meeting every quarter. Dick Devos, being one of the top board members, will again have the chance to make meaningful changes in the agency. He will have a hand in matters that will affect the agency’s directions, regulations, policies and practically everything that the FAA is involved in. The public could expect some changes to come in the FAA.
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