Dick DeVos; An Advocate of Transformation in Business and Social Circles

Dick DeVos is a man driven by a positive attitude. He believes that it is possible to achieve anything if one is determined and strong-willed. These principles are well-illustrated by his personal and professional story-lines. The 62-year-old businessman has been actively involved in transforming, reforming, and introducing institutions and policies in Michigan and other areas. He has employed a unique advocacy approach that has led to positive results in both social and business fronts.


Dick DeVos has also received immense support from his wife, Betsy DeVos. She was appointed the Education Secretary by President Trump. In fact, the President mentioned that his decision to choose her was driven by her advocacy role in improving the education sector. Dick and Betsy established the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which has been the primary vehicle for their philanthropy work.


Mr. DeVos demonstrated his natural leadership abilities while serving as the CEO of Amway between 1993 and 2002. His father, Rich DeVos had, co-founded the company. After steering the company through the different seasons in business, he started his company, The Windquest Group. It includes other companies like The Stow Company; Boxed Water is Better and Coppercraft Distillery.


Mr. DeVos’ business approach was instrumental in turning around Grand Rapids’ airport. His meeting with the CEO of AirTran Airways led to the nonstop flights out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The low-cost carrier later began service in Grand Rapids before Southwest bought it. He held successful meetings with Southwest which accepted to include direct flights to Denver, St. Louis, Baltimore and Orlando from Grand Rapids.


It is this endeavor that led to his appointment to the Board of the Federal Aviation Administration. His profound interest in aviation as a pilot also reinforces his appointment. Mr. DeVos did not have the opportunity to fly commercial planes due to his commitments as the CEO of Amway.

His excellent mobilization skills led to the formation of Grand Action, a group of business leaders in Grand Rapids. The group is credited with the developments in the town including Michigan State University’s medical school, the DeVos Performance Hall, the DeVos Place Convention Center, and Van Andel Arena among others.


However, things have not always been rosy for Dick DeVos. He unsuccessfully vied for the Governor’s seat. Voters also rejected his push for the creation of tax-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools. It has however not distracted him from pursuing his goals.


Together with his wife, Betsy, Mr. DeVos have been strong advocates for Charter schools. They established Great Lakes Education Project, which engages in school-choice advocacy and political activities. It led to the development of West Michigan Aviation Academy by Mr. DeVos. The nonprofit charter school has seen tremendous growth in student population and necessary amenities.


Dick DeVos is also well known within the political circles through their financial and ethical support. Through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, he has donated over USD 138.7 million. The money has supported an array of initiatives including arts and culture, education, leadership and policy, health, and churches among others.


To learn more, visit http://dickdevos.com/news/.

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