The Continued Hard Work Of Dick DeVos Has Paid Off For The City Of Grand Rapids

Dick DeVos is an American businessman, pilot, and philanthropist who has been working for many years to make life better for people in Michigan and the United States. Before the Gerald R. Ford International Airport became the thriving airport that it is today, he made a deal to bring in AirTran. He convinced the airline company to offer nonstop flights out of Grand Rapids by calling its CEO on the phone. Months later, AirTran was bought out by Southwest, and he got right to work convincing the airline to continue service in Grand Rapids.


Being the savvy businessman that he is, Dick DeVos put forward the idea that Southwest should not just stay at the Gerald R. Ford International but that it should increase its offerings. After this, the airline began to add more flights at the airport, and the airport continued to be a success to this day. What many people don’t know about the deal that DeVos made is the fact that he agreed to take part in convincing Southwest only if he could do it his way. He didn’t want it being widely reported because he needed time to make a deal in private with the airline, and this worked out greatly.


Dick DeVos has been a large part of many other deals that have helped to improve the city of Grand Rapids. In the early 1990s, he helped put a stop to a plan that could have been disastrous for the city. At that time, there was talk of building a multi-use sports and convention center near the city’s downtown region. He got right on the phone and began to build a lobbying effort. His efforts helped to build Grand Action, which is a group of business leaders that have been very influential with the success of the city.


Dick DeVos knew that the idea for the convention center and arena was a bad one because his experience told him so. During the 1970s, he witnessed the financial distress that the building of the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills had created for Detroit. The problem wasn’t the arena itself but had to do with the fact that the Detroit Lions and Pistons later left the city. Thanks to Dick DeVos, the city of Grand Rapids didn’t have to learn the same lesson as Detroit had. Today, Grand Rapids has, both, an arena and separate convention center and is thriving thanks to the hard work of Mr. DeVos.


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