The Remarkable Dick Devos

Dick and Betsy are both a couple and business partners who have invested most of their time doing their best in changing policies, institutions and helping the society, especially in education-related areas. Their political influences have played a great role in inducing the changes and reforms, not forgetting their wealthy status too.

 

The aviation school is at Gerald R. Ford International Airport and it has thrived with over 500 students coming from seven countries to get to the airport. The school is tuition-free and operates with a per-student allowance which is from the state just like other Michigan charter schools. The school has three classes that have graduated so far and the last class’s average SAT score was above the statewide average score making the school be listed top 10 Countrywide. The Devos couple has donated funds and given non-interest loans to help in equipping and in the expansion of the school buildings.

 

The number of black and Hispanic students in the institution has increased considering the number of black or Hispanic people in Kent. A room is set aside for the Muslim students who wish to pray to make it crystal clear that there is no discrimination in the institution. The school has over 150 planes and it provides classes in every grade including pilot instruction, electronics, plane maintenance and history. Students who make flights by themselves wear white shirts distinguishing them from the rest of the students who wear blue shirts.

 

Dick’s persistence and the urge for a better tomorrow made him call the CEO of Air Tran Airways to convince him of the great fortunes that would come from improving Grand Rapid’s Airport and change the outlook of air travel in West Michigan. He invited the CEO of the inexpensive carrier into a meeting which yielded the decision to run an array of flights out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and Southwest bought the carrier months before Air Tran began their operations in Grand Rapids. Mr Devos had become lucky.

 

He has been a very supportive husband to his wife both in politics, charity work and in business. He helped his wife in her campaigns and numerous reforms she had been involved in like the expansion of the publicly funded independent schools and in providing scholarships for students in private schools while he pushed for the law that would make Michigan a free to work state for everyone where union membership was no longer a requirement during employment.

 

Most of his activities revolve around aviation due to his passion for aviation and business. In fact, most people call him an aviation geek and a pilot. He is a tough man who even when knocked down by any kind of challenges, he stands for what he believes in until it succeeds. Those who know him can confirm that he is a big-hearted person, very dedicated to his work and a good person to emulate. He has remarkable experience and knowledge in aviation and he has helped open doors to prosperity for many companies and individuals.

 

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Betsy DeVos – Article Recap

Betsy DeVos, the education of secretary for the United States, is a force to be reckoned with. Ms. DeVos is known as a driven, persistent and effective political fighter in her home state of Michigan. Having little experience with politics, Ms. DeVos had a rough entry into Washington. She lacked confidence in her Senate confirmation hearing, where she seemed to be completely uneducated on basic education terms, let alone department policies and growth assessment. She was made a mockery of in late night comedy regarding her weak answers and her suggestion that some school officials should carry guns because of grizzly bears. However, her gallant effort to publicly shake off the humiliation.

 

While she is fairly new to the political game, Ms. DeVos has been an advocate for Charter Schools and School Vouchers into private school for years. She has spent decades acting as a Republican donor, with her born into fortune of billions, to fulfill her vision to improve public education by creating competition and school choice. However, the use of school vouchers allows public funding to be taken from public schooling and funneled into private, and often religious education. That means public funds are given to private groups. Detroit, Michigan has the largest concentration of charter schools because of Ms. DeVos’ efforts. However, these schools are low-performing, and the supply exceeds the demand. Detroit public schools are still among the worst schools in America.

 

There is definitely a bright spotlight on Ms. DeVos currently. With her millions in philanthropy to support a failing cause, her lack of prior experience in the political game, and her weak answers at the start of career in Washington there is much speculation on her success under the Trump administration. However, critics and admirers believe that she will catch up to speed in no time.

 

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Strategic Planner Dick Devos

Urban strategist Dick DeVos formed Grand Action, a group of Michigan businessmen who changed the Grand Rapids skyline and the direction of the city. He did not lose his city to urban sprawl. DeVos called Air Trans Airways and convinced them to fly nonstop to Orlando, Florida, from the Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford International Airport. His success led to $45 million in improvements to the Grand Rapid’s airport: new security and check-in procedures, new business centers, and the expansion of local restaurants.

 

Southwest Airlines

 

Southwest bought AirTran Airways a few months later and negotiations began again. Southwest previously refused Dick’s invitation to locate a transportation hub in west Michigan. DeVos managed to keep Southwest Airlines in his hometown airport by demonstrating Air Trans’ success. Southwest expanded the nonstop flights between Grand Rapids and Orlando, Florida, and added nonstop flights to the Baltimore Washington International Airport in Baltimore, Maryland. Southwest Airlines also added nonstop flights from Michigan to Denver, Colorado, and St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Forbes Magazine

 

Forbes Magazine voted Dick and Betsy DeVos 26th among America’s Top Givers in 2016. With inherited family money, Dick and Betsy DeVos spent most of their lives changing institutions and policies. As GOP mega-donors, they’ve influenced state laws and improved the standard of living in Grand Rapids. In 2012, Dick DeVos successfully converted Michigan to a right-to-work state. Michigan employees are now free to choose whether they want to belong to a labor union. Dick and Betsy DeVos donated $12.5 million for the construction of the $103 million DeVos children’s hospital named for Dick’s mother Helen. Michigan families no longer have to drive to the Mayo Clinic for specialized pediatric medical care.

 

West Michigan Aviation Academy

 

With his wife Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of the United States Department of Education, Dick DeVos opened an aviation charter school, West Michigan Aviation Academy, in 2010. He donated the school’s first airplane and lent $3 million in the form of no interest loans to the school for flight simulators and other equipment. The aviation charter school encourages minority and low income children to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The nonprofit charter school flourished into a 600-student public school on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Placement in the West Michigan Aviation Academy is determined by public lottery because applications always exceed the number of openings. The tuition-free public school receives $7,500 per child from the state of Michigan every year, and the DeVos Family Foundation has contributed more than $7 million to the school.

 

FAA Oversight

 

On September 28, 2017, Dick DeVos was appointed to the FAA’s Management Advisory Council by the United States Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. The oversight board advises senior FAA officials on strategic planning, policy and decision making, spending, and regulatory procedures. His three-year appointment is strictly voluntary, and he’ll remain a pilot and board member of his aviation charter school.

 

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

 

“Dick will be a tremendous asset to the FAA Management Advisory Council. [His] deep roots in aviation as a pilot … [made him] an outstanding partner with our airport. He’ll bring strong leadership skills and industry insight to the FAA” according to Jim Gill, CEO of Ford International Airport.

Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos and her family have been very influential in the education world. Before she became Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos was a strong advocate for school choice. She’s become very philanthropic active within the educational community. She and her husband are the leaders of the Windquest Group, which is a group that invests in new technology, clean energy and manufacturing. The DeVos family foundation has risen to the ranks of the Koch Foundation, becoming one of the top conservative contributors over the last few decades. Some of the foundation’s money has gone to a number of conservative leaning organizations and groups.

 

Betsy DeVos’ influence can be felt within Michigan as well as the United States. Betsy was politically driven during her time in Michigan and the foundation gave more than $44 million worth of political donations. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Betsy and Dick DeVos chaired the DeVos Family Foundation. The family’s foundation supports two Christian schools and helps fund the Education Freedom Fund. The EFF gives scholarships to low income children so they can afford private schools. DeVos and the foundation also helped fund various organizations including the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Betsy DeVos also once chaired the Michigan Republican Party.

 

Betsy DeVos previously served as chair of the American Federation for Children. DeVos was also part of the think tank established by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Betsy DeVos also funds healthcare and different art programs. DeVos financially supports the pediatric oncology at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The DeVos has given nearly $750,000 to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy and even authorized another $1 million for future funding. DeVos has contributed $10,000 to the Institute for Justice, which funds school choice lawsuits all over the country. DeVos Foundation contributes to several colleges and universities as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As part of their love of the arts, the foundation holds the ArtPrize which is an art competition that takes place in Grand Rapids each year. The DeVos family established their foundation more than 17 years ago. Their driven by building a stronger community through local community projects.

 

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