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What we need to know about Dick Devos

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Have you seen the latest from Washington? The newest political powerhouse couple stars the US Education Secretary Betsy Devos and her husband Dick Devos, who was recently appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. The civilian board is comprised of 13 members who come from all different backgrounds. Some are from transportation authority backgrounds while others come directly from the aviation industry, such as airline executives.


But how does Dick Devos fit into this political scene? For one, he is a professional pilot with a license to fly jets and helicopters. He has had a passion for aviation that started when he was young and has carried through his professional business years. As he has been working in Grand Rapids for many years, he struck up a relationship with the CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, helping the CEO with the growth of the entire airport for the past two decades.


While Devos has had plenty of business experience from being the CEO and president of Amway, he has also started his own company and is known to be a serial entrepreneur, in addition to being a devoted philanthropist. Most notably, you can see the Devos Family Foundations in the downtown area of Grand Rapids, where the powerful couple built a performing arts center, convention center, and multiple facilities for education and family health.


Now Devos turns his sights to the aviation industry with his appointment to the new council.He will be working on budgets, policies, regulations, and future growth ideas to present to the FAA council each quarter. This coincides with his work that he is doing with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport currently. For the past 20 years, he has been working to expand the airport. At first, he worked with Air Tran Airways to bring in new flights that would draw new traffic.


A $45 million renovation will now be completed at the airport by the end of 2018. The new areas include a business traveler center, food court area, and major tech upgrades throughout the airport. The new airport expansion will allow for more accommodations for business travelers, which is exactly what Devos was thinking when he started working with business leaders and airline executives to expand the airport back in 1999.


Devos will be meeting with the FAA and council throughout the next two years.


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Rocket ship education is a public charter school that made a name for itself with the excellent test scores and diverse learning system. Preston Smith who is also the Executive officer founded it in 2007. Since its establishment, the network aims at providing quality education for its students. The public charter school aims at attaining education prosperity for public schools by improving the quality of teaching in the school. As an example, the school has incorporated various education systems and conveniently selected those that will aid in learning progress while still maintaining administration expenses at low levels. A recent study conducted at Stanford University shows that consistent attendance by the English learners is bound to boost student achievement and also adequately prepares the students for college.

The school has so far opened a total of 27 public schools that have presented good performance results. This performance success is due to the readiness of the organization to ally with community groups, students, and the parents to establish a working and efficient system. Various business leaders have also volunteered to take up financial responsibilities through funding, investments, and provision of technology to support the educational achievement of public schools like Rocket ship education. Together these parties are set to improving the quality of teaching in public schools.

The parents in Rocket ship education are highly involved in the operations of the school. During the construction of the school’s branch in South East Washington, parents followed up with the building of the school. They were involved in the launching of the school and also took part in the hiring process of the teachers. The parents who have a say to their children future gave reviews on interviewed teachers, and the principal took their reviews into consideration while recruiting teachers.

The parents also organize community meetings where they discuss on pressing matters and ways on how to improve on the Charter’s education system. Recently, a group of 374 parents, including parents from Rocket ship education drafted a letter to the MNPS demanding for the educational needs of their kids. The parents wrote off complaints about the schools that are not performing well and recommended the board to take action.