Dick Devos is the CEO of The Windquest Group, a company based on Grand Rapids for a number of businesses which include The Stow Company, Boxed Water is Better and Coppercraft Distillery, and also a one-time president of Amway, a company involved in direct sales, founded by his father Rich Devos. He is the husband of Betsy Devos, the US Education Secretary, the eldest son of Rich Devos and a firmly embedded aviation geek as well as a pilot.
In 1991, at the time he was the CEO of his family’s Amway, an idea of building a sports arena at the northern downtown was brought to him publicly in Grand Rapids and he was totally not for the idea. He was worried that the construction of the sports arena would cause damage to the downtown Grand Rapids. He campaigned against the construction of a convection arena and a number of business leaders who were pushing for the construction of the arena, performance hall, Michigan State medical school in the university, Grand Rapids City Market and the arena, formed a Grand Action.
Devos and his wife Betsy have done a lot in reforming institutions and changing policies to suit the needs of the society and their unquestionable political influence has come in handy in changing state laws that affect labour and education. Devos pushed for the formation of the law that stated clearly that union membership was no longer a requirement during employment, which transformed Michigan form the origin of organized labour to a state where everyone has the right to work. His wife pushed for the expansion of publicly funded private institutions.
He has done various charitable actions especially due to motivation from his wife and they have together helped families from poor backgrounds in ensuring their children get the best and safe learning facilities by providing sponsorship opportunities for such children. The family report to have donated over 138 million dollars to arts and culture, health services, leadership programs and churches from 1989-2015. During the construction of a children’s hospital named after his mother Hellen Devos in the Spectrum Health System, Dick and his wife lead in the donations in 2006.
His journey has had its equal share of challenges. Sometimes back, Devos sponsored an amendment of the constitution to give room for tax-funded vouchers for students so that they could attend private institutions but the voters rejected it. A few years later he contested for the governor’s seat against Jennifer Granholm and he lost. These challenges have only made him stronger and wiser in everything he does.
Dick has been passionate about education which is among Devos’s largest initiatives. He founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010, a charter school at Grand Rapids International Airport, that helps get students ready for the aviation industry. He played a major role in the convincing Southwest to give routes out of the Grand Rapids Airport, with a group of other business leaders, leading to the transformation of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He is a good person who is dedicated to seeing everything he touches prospers both in business and his community.
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