Dick DeVos is a man who wants to change the status quo. He demonstrated this attitude in Grand Rapids in 1991. There was a plan then to develop a sport complex in downtown north of the area and DeVos didn’t like the idea. Why? He believed that the sports complex will be disadvantageous to the downtown area of Grand Rapids as the construction of the Silverdome at Pontiac and the Palace of Auburn Hills and became detrimental to Detroit when the Lions and the Pistons abandoned the city in the 1970s.
DeVos must have carried this approach from his Amway days being its CEO from 1993 to 2002. He stated that he learned the Detroit lesson, apparently meaning that he doesn’t want the same thing happening to Grand Rapids. His campaign against the multi-purpose sports complex led to the creation of Grand Action. This group of business leaders effectively changed the skyline of Grand Rapids. They are behind the building of Michigan State University’s medical school, the City Market of Grand Rapids, the Place Convention Center of the DeVos, the DeVos Performance Hall, and the Van Andel Arena. These constructions also changed the direction of a city that tried to stop suburban spread.
Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy are spearheads of the Grand Action group. They are both heirs to family fortunes. Both have spent a majority of their lives attempting to change established regulations and institutions. Their influence in the political arena started considerable changes in the laws of the state impacting education and labor. They took advantage of being mega-donors of the GOP to effect such changes.
But not everything went the way the DeVoses wanted them to be. Voters disapproved of the DeVoses’ move to amend the constitution in 2000. That amendment aims to create vouchers for students who want private school scholarships out of the people’s taxes. In 2006, Dick DeVos lost to Jennifer Granholm, the incumbent governor. Still, the Devoses are not in the habit of giving up.
Betsy is now the current Education Secretary and Dick DeVos has recently been tapped as Federal Aviation Administration top board member. The former Amway executive was appointed last Sept. 2017 to the FAA board to oversee its civilian panel. Dick is among the seven other new members who were announced by Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of the Department of Transportation. The Management Advisory Council of the FAA is composed of 13 members. It gives advice to the senior management of the FAA regarding regulatory matters, long-range planning, spending and policy matters. Gregory Martin, spokesman of FAA said, this 13-member council directs the agency’s strategic course.
Members of this team have 3-year terms and serve as volunteers. They are not required to relinquish their private and public positions while serving their terms. Members are required to meet every quarter. In his position at the top of the board, Dick DeVos will again be able to have the opportunity to make a change in the policies, regulations, directions and almost everything that the FAA does. This is in keeping with his overall approach of being an agent for change.
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