You don’t always think of Grand Rapids, MI as the place where billionaires are born from, but in the case of Dick DeVos he’s made quite a business impact in that community. Dick DeVos is married to Betsy DeVos, someone you may have heard of that was recently picked by President-Elect Donald Trump to head the Department of Education.
Dick and Betsy founded The Windquest Group, an investment firm that owns a majority of shares in a number of local companies including The Stow Company, Huron River Ventures, AOBiome and ArtPrize. Dick and Betsy have been longtime Republican Party activists, including running for office several times in their careers.
Dick spent most of his early career working for Amway Corporation, the company his father co-founded. His father is Richard DeVos, a highly successful businessman in his own right, and a philanthropist and author of several books.
Amway Corporation is a distributor of several household and health product brands, and as a multilevel marketing company they allow people to go into business for themselves reselling the products.
Dick helped run several company operations, until he became an executive at the age of 29. He would later become CEO when his father stepped down, and under his leadership Amway started several subsidiaries and branch companies, and generated billions in sales.
Dick DeVos can be credited for a lot of projects that went into revitalizing downtown Grand Rapids and led through Grand Action Committee. He also ran for chair on the Michigan State Board of Education, an office he held for two years as part of an effort to change the education system.
He and Betsy started scholarship programs through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation to help underprivileged families afford private schools. They later helped start scholarships for college students enrolling in business programs, and also started their own charter school the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick became unhappy with the way that then Governor Jennifer Granholm was enacting policies, so he decided to run against her in the 2006 race. He failed to beat her out, but he did start more efforts to enact conservative legislation in Lansing.
He helped bring in a right-to-work law in 2012, and has supported right-to-life groups. Dick and Betsy also helped fund the renovation of the Kennedy Center’s art institute which was shortly renamed for them after. Dick has also ran in and won the Chicago-Mackinac sailboat race.
Learn more about Dick DeVos: https://about.me/dick.devos