Dick was introduced to the field of aviation by his father, late Rich DeVos. Dick is a certified jet aircraft and helicopter pilot and over the years has become involved in various areas of the aviation field. 

Dick DeVos and his father, Rich DeVos

Dick has been a champion for the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and a driving force for its expansion over the past two decades years. In 2009, the airport had the second-highest average airfares in the nation. Dick was adamant that had to change. In 2010, he established the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan, a private organization funded by area companies that saw the importance of the airport to the region’s economic success.

Dick DeVos speaking with students in the West Michigan Aviation Academy hangar.

His work has resulted in more affordable airfare, more flight providers and the airport now being a regional hub for air travel. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport continues to see record-breaking passenger numbers year over year and contributes over $3 billion annually in economic activity in the West Michigan region. In 2022, the airport connected three million passengers a year to destinations worldwide.    

Dick DeVos and West Michigan Aviation Academy student inspect a plane

In 2010, Dick’s commitment to education and his passion for aviation, led him to open the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is located on the campus of the airport. With a curriculum rich in science, technology, engineering and math, the school focuses specifically on preparing their students for high-growth employment fields. The tuition-free public charter high school also gives kids the chance to obtain their pilots license while enrolled in high school. 

In 2017, Dick was appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council where he served a three-year term where he advised senior management on policy, spending, long-range planning and regulatory matters.