In 1991, Dick DeVos caught wind of a plan to construct a multi-purpose convention and sports arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he began to lobby against it as soon as he could. The reason he opposed the convention center was that he believed it would not be a good thing for the downtown area of the city. He encouraged people to look at the lesson of how the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills hurt the city of Detroit when the Pistons and Lions vacated in the 1970s. His opposition to the convention center started up Grand Action, which is a body of leaders in business who were the main reason for the building of Michigan State University’s medical school, the DeVos Performance Hall, Van Andel Arena, and many others.
Dick DeVos and his Wife, Betsy DeVos, have always focused their efforts on changing state laws that effect labor and education to align more closely with their GOP leanings. Mr. DeVos was the reason for the 2012 law that changed the state of Michigan into a place where workers do not have to be in a union to get a job. While most people know Dick DeVos for his political opinions, the truth is he also donates plenty of his own money to culture and the arts, programs that build leaders, healthcare and services for people, churches, and initiatives that improve scholarships for private schools and the reforming of the educational system. His wife and himself donated $12.5 million to help with the building of a $103 million children’s hospital that was named after his mother.
Educational reform has always been a top matter of concern for Dick DeVos, and a lot of his focus has been to ensure that kids from poor families get the same opportunities as any other kid does. While he has met resistance, his wife and him have been able to make some progress, and now 24 states have vouchers for private schools, which gives parents more choices as to where their children can attend school. Recently, unrelated to the educational industry, Dick DeVos has been appointed to oversee the Federal Aviation Administration as a part of its top civilian panel. Along with 12 others, he will help to advise the senior management of the FAA on matters of spending, regulations, planning for the long-term, and policy. The position is voluntary and lasts for three years.
Dick DeVos was the President of Amway, in the past, which was co-founded by his father. He is now the CEO of The Windquest Group, which is a holding company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work on improving the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is known to most people who live in Michigan, and Jim Gill, CEO of Ford airport, expressed his belief that Dick DeVos will be a great asset to the FAA Management Advisory Council. Dick DeVos is also the co-founder of the charter school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which helps to get students ready for aviation related careers.
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