Dick Devos of the Well-Known Devos Family

While many know Dick Devos as the son of Amway found Richard Devos, the businessman has had considerable success in his own businesses and entrepreneurship, as well as through philanthropy. Dick Devos started off as the Vice President of Amway in the 1980s, but he would eventually grow out of the position after leading the company to record-breaking sales numbers. He wanted something more challenging. He spent his time working with the business leaders in his hometown of Grand Rapids.

 

It was in this city that he would make some considerable changes to the city’s development and lead the area to become a greater metropolis in just a few short decades. There has been considerable growth in West Michigan stemming from these activities that Devos took part in during the 1990s.

 

This would include the construction of several areas around the business epicenter of Grand Rapids. At the time, many businesses were complaining of losing customers or not having any customers due to a lack of commerce and entertainment in the downtown area. Dick Devos joined with those business leaders to develop areas for a convention center, sports arena, and performance hall.

 

The Devos Place Convention Center would become apart of a larger plan to bring in business travelers to the area. Devos would also work with the local airport. While Grand Rapids had always had a smaller airport, it was at this time that Devos would look to expand it by talking to the airline executives at the airport. He started with AirTran Airways’ CEO in the early 2000s.

 

He presented his plan to the CEO as a way to bring in more revenue. AirTran Airways agreed and there were four new destinations added to the AirTran terminal at the Grand Rapids location. In addition, they changed the name of the facility to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport after a re-launch in 1999. This would further boost the airport’s traveler appeal.

 

By 2018, the airport had done a complete 180 and saw 3.26 million passengers going through the airport in 2018 alone. This change was just part of a much bigger expansion which started in 2016. The Gateway Transformation Project would be a two-phased project that would cost $45 million in renovations. The new airport would have much better technology and security with a complete business traveler’s area and upgrades to the food court. Now, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport has won awards for its forward thinking and technology.

 

Devos has been working with the FAA since September 2017, using his experience as a resource to help other airports overcome stagnant growth and get more funding for necessary renovations. Most airports are looking for funding to help bring new capabilities and beef up security without slowing down lines.

 

Devos will be meeting with the FAA for another year. The committee meets up once every quarter to discuss policy, budgets, and future plans for growth.

 

Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.

 

Dick DeVos: The Good in the Wealth of the DeVoses

Dick DeVos takes philanthropy seriously. As one of the members of the most affluent families in America, it’s unfathomable why Dick and his family came up with a decision of giving away millions of dollars, but they did. And their record is as impressive as you’d expect.

 

 

The wealth of the DeVos is no joke. Dick’s father, the late Richard DeVos Sr., was the co-founder of the multi-billion company Amway. It’s a multi-level marketing company that offers health, beauty, and home care products, which has received some criticisms over the years. But it didn’t stop the family from building a mammoth of a company who gave Dick’s father a net worth of $5 billion at the time of his death. That’s essentially where Dick’s wealth comes from. It’s where he gets his resources for the charities he supports.

 

 

Dick’s parents founded a charity called the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. The philanthropist took inspiration from his parents and created a charity of his own — something that he and his wife could call their own.

 

 

Dick’s wife happens to be the US Secretary of Education, Betsy Prince. Together, they founded the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, a charitable organization who has been in the service of the Americans since the 1980s.

 

 

The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation primarily focuses on school choice, but they also support causes in community health, arts, and neighborhood improvements. The foundation has awarded educational grants to several institutions. One of the recipients is the West Michigan Aviation Academy, an aviation charter school in Grand Rapids. They also support the Christian organization called the Potter’s House in Michigan and the Education Freedom Fund.

 

 

It’s clear that the DeVoses are heavy supporters of education, but they have also contributed to politically conservative organizations in their home state, including the Federalist Society, American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, Council for National Policy, Makinac Center for Public Policy, Acton Institute, and Traditional Values Coalition.

 

 

Ask Dick DeVos why he and his family do this and his answer will inspire you. He was once quoted saying, “…helping the poor and disadvantaged is a driving principle of their world-view and it’s reflected in the history of their foundation.”

 

 

Dick served as the CEO of the Orlando Magic, which his father bought in 1991. He now manages the Grand Rapids-based investment management firm The Windquest Group, which he also co-founded with his wife.

 

 

Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about  to learn more.

 

The New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

When Betsy DeVos accepted the nomination to be Secretary of Education, a chorus of opposition rose up to complain. Mrs. DeVos was a tenacious fighter for Charter schools and pluralism. She was a leading advocate for school choice that many people considered to be the opposite of public education. The opposition centered on Mrs. DeVos lack of connection to public education. They perceived that charter and school voucher alternative as a force that diminished public education. Mrs. DeVos disagreed.

 

– Strong Efforts not Strong Words

Mrs. DeVos has a reputation earned in the battles she fought and won in Michigan and across the US. She believes in Charter Schools, school choice, and educational pluralism. Secretary DeVos is not confrontational and does not use loud displays to get her point across to others. She is always polite, and she is always determined.

 

As a philanthropist and advocate, Mrs. DeVos places importance on the role of the family in a child’s education and that the family’s right to choose is an important consideration. In the debate that led to her confirmation, Mrs. De Vos made a firm stand. Her position was clear; the role of education in American society is undeniably vital, but there is no single source- no magical one-size fits all. Education is necessary; it is vital to the national economic and social well-being. Citizens cannot carry out the duties of citizenship without knowledge and understanding. Education is not confined to public schools, and it is not limited to schools at all. Life experience can be the best teacher that includes family, church, and other places that we learn.

 

– True to Her Roots

Mrs. DeVos grew up in Western Michigan in the Holland Michigan community. The area has a rich tradition that immigrated from Europe of Dutch Reformed Church and Calvinism. Mrs. De Vos had a private education that included matriculation through Calvin College. The Calvinist theory of educational pluralism influenced her religious and formal educational training. Pluralism recognizes the value of many forms of education including faith-based institutions.

 

– Diversity in Education

Mrs. DeVos made an appearance in Florida with the Rapper Pitbull. The occasion included recognition of one of the Charter schools that the music artist founded and sponsors. Charter education does provide a proven method for improving educational choices in a given community. For some parents, it represents an affordable option to a poorly performing public school system. The goal is to provide the best educational opportunity for our children. We have a long period to debate the pros and cons, but a child only passes through the system once.

 

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