How Dick DeVos has Changed the Face of Grand Rapids

Very few people can be associated with transforming their home towns and making it one of the most admired towns in Michigan. For Dick and Betsy DeVos, waking up every day to improve their home town Grand Rapids and the lives of people in the town is all they do. The first born son of billionaire Richard DeVos of AmWay Corporation was obviously born in money and became CEO at a very young age. He was lucky enough to meet and marry a like-minded woman who is also an heir to not only build a life with but also transform their city. Due to her innate passion in education and uplifting kids from poor background, Betsy was appointed by president trump as his education secretary.


Dick together with his wife Betsy has been on the forefront to pushing major changes in the law to favor the education and labor sector. In 2012, Dick was able to lobby for a law that changed Michigan from a place of organized labor to a state where everyone has a right to work even if they don’t belong to any union. Their influence goes far beyond political arenas as they have contributed majorly in other sectors like health, arts and culture, churches, human services and even offering scholarships for private schools.


However, Dick’s passion just like his wife Betsy is education and more so educating poor kids so they can have equal opportunities as their rich fellows. Together as a couple, Dick and Betsy founded the Michigan Aviation Charter School located at the Grand Rapids International Airport. The school is a fully funded institution that not only teaches young men and women to be pilots but also aeronautical engineers, plane maintenance, robotic systems, computer science and other courses that have nothing to do with airplanes. The school is one of the most admired and coveted institutions because they produce an average SAT score of 1072 which is way higher than the average statewide score.


Being a pilot himself with many years’ experience under his belt, Dick DeVos takes pride in seeing other kids achieve their dreams and fly to other parts of the world. Apart from founding the school, he single handedly transformed the Grand Rapids airport to become one of the few small airports that can get direct flights to many places in the USA. His call to AirTran CEO got the attention of the board that then agreed to run non-stop flights from Gerald R. Ford AirPort. The man had little experience in flying commercial planes when he was given the task to move Southwest to Grand Rapids but he did it successfully by involving a very small group of members which later grew and enforced the change.  Learn more:


Much to his delight, the self-described aviation geek will now be able to visit his wife more often in Washington D.C as he has been appointed into the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. His role together with seven other respected people will be to offer advice to the FAA on spending, policy, planning and regulatory matters. He will bring to the table years of experience as a pilot, CEO and also the wise counsel of a humble and determined man.


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