GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ husband has been appointed to the top civilian panel advising the Federal Aviation Administration.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Thursday that Dick DeVos is one of seven new members on the Management Advisory Council. The 13-member group advises the FAA’s senior management on policy, spending, long-term planning and regulatory matters.

Dick DeVos played a large role in improving Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Michigan. He led a group of business leaders who worked to convince Southwest Airlines to offer routes out of the Grand Rapids airport, an accomplishment credited with spurring passenger growth and lowering airfares.

“Dick will be a tremendous asset to the FAA Management Advisory Council,” Jim Gill, CEO of the Grand Rapids airport, said in a statement. “He has deep roots in aviation as a pilot, and he is an outstanding partner with our airport. He will bring strong leadership skills and industry insight to the FAA.”

The DeVoses also founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter school at the airport that prepares students for careers in the aviation industry.

Dick DeVos also is the former president of direct sales giant Amway, which his father co-founded. He is currently the CEO of The Windquest Group, a Grand Rapids-based holding company.

Appointees to the FAA advisory board voluntarily serve 3-year terms and are expected to retain their public and private sector roles. The group meets quarterly.