Dick DeVos to Headline AeroOne Summit in Downtown Rochester in September

The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan has announced global business leader and aviator Dick DeVos will kick off day one of the third annual AeroOne Summit on Sept. 4 at the Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester.
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Dick DeVos and a student at the West Michigan Aviation Academy inspect and airplane. // Photo courtesy of Dick DeVos

The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan has announced global business leader and aviator Dick DeVos will kick off day one of the third annual AeroOne Summit on Sept. 4 at the Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester.

The former CEO of Amway and founder of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, DeVos is a certified jet aircraft and helicopter pilot, and a former member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council.

He also established the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan, a private organization funded by area companies that saw the importance of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids to the region’s economic success.

DeVos will introduce a series of panel discussions between industry and academia focused on the critical need for aerospace talent development. The summit will continue through Sept. 6.

“Today’s students are the future of aerospace,” says DeVos. “This is a high-demand, good-paying career field that requires a robust talent pipeline. Aerospace in Michigan has enormous potential. I’m excited to be a part of AIAM’s efforts to strengthen an industry I love here in my home state.”

The AeroOne summit will feature international and domestic companies, speakers, OEMs, suppliers, and thought leaders engaging in keynotes, panel discussions, and small group roundtables with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

The focus of the summit is to foster essential relationships for building a strong aerospace industry. Due to limited attendance capacity, early registration at aerooneshow.com is recommended.

“Dick DeVos has shown unwavering passion for both aviation and education,” says Tony Vernaci president of AIAM. “He has a deep understanding of the aerospace industry as a whole, and is passionate about developing our future leaders. We’re thrilled to welcome him to AeroOne.”

DeVos’s work in the aviation sector has had an impact nationally and statewide. His efforts on behalf of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids have resulted in more affordable airfare, more flight providers, and the airport’s elevation as a regional hub for air travel that contributes more than $3 billion annually in economic activity in the West Michigan region.

During his three-year term with the FAA, he advised senior management on policy, spending, long-range planning, and regulatory matters.

The West Michigan Aviation Academy, a tuition-free public charter high school which DeVos founded in 2010, prepares more than 600 students each year for high-growth employment fields and provides them an opportunity to earn their pilot license while enrolled in high school.

The students also receive mentoring from local industry experts from companies like Delta Air Lines and Gulfstream, as well as learning about piloting, designing, and problem-solving within the aviation industry.

The AeroOne talent panel discussions are an extension of the work of the Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan’s charitable foundation founded in January 2023.

The AIAM Foundation is a response to growth within the aerospace industry, which has generated a significant need for more suppliers and talent. The goal of the AIAM Foundation is to help bolster the aerospace industry — and with it, the state’s entire economy — by strengthening Michigan’s people, companies, and communities.

To register for AeroOne or secure a showcase table, visit aerooneshow.com. Attendees can book hotel rooms at Royal Park Hotel for September 4 and 5 at a deeply discounted promotional rate.

AIAM is a nonprofit, member-driven industry organization. It is a platform for aerospace leaders in the state to work together on a common set of priorities to strengthen and support the continued growth in the industry through talent attraction and new investment in Michigan.

The AIAM Foundation supports aerospace expansion across Michigan. Efforts include creating a diverse talent pipeline, especially among students in underserved and rural communities; strengthening small, under-resourced companies and helping them navigate the complexities to successfully compete in aerospace; and raising awareness of the important impact of aerospace in Michigan.