In 1991, there was an idea being floated in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, business community of building a multi-purpose arena north of the city. Dick Devos, who was working his way up in Amway, the company founded by his family, at the time, was against the idea. He had seen firsthand the devastation to the Detroit community when Detroit’s professional sports teams moved their games to facilities away from the downtown in the 1970’s, and he didn’t want the same thing happening in Grand Rapids.
His lobbying led to the formation of the group Grand Action, which over the years has been highly effective at fighting sprawl and led to the construction of numerous community centers, stores and other buildings in the Grand Rapids downtown. As a result, the downtown is now thriving economically and has an impressive skyline.
Dick Devos has also long been involved on the state and national levels when it comes to advocating for the causes he cares about. He was a key figure behind Michigan’s move towards becoming a state where union membership is not a condition for employment, and he has given substantially to Republican efforts across the nation.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos is one of the heirs to the Amway family fortune and has worked in a leadership role for the Amway corporation for much of his adult life; he is now the CEO of his own business firm, The Windquest Group. Outside of his financial work, he is an accomplished pilot and was recently appointed to serve on the civilian panel that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration. Married to Education Secretary and Charter School advocate Betsy Devos, he has long been a key player in pushing for changes in laws pertaining to labor and education.
One of his proudest achievements was the work he did to promote the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. Along with other business leaders, Dick Devos worked behind the scenes to attract Southwest Airlines to the airport, and this has been a tremendous boon for Western Michigan in general and Grand Rapids in particular.
Working with his wife, Dick Devos combined his passions for aviation and education by co-founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010. This academy prepares students for careers in the aviation industry; Devos himself is licensed to fly helicopters, single-engine airplanes and jets.
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