Billionaire businessman Richard “Dick” DeVos has a lot on his plate these days. The Grand Rapids native was born into a family that stressed the importance of hard work and giving back.
DeVos is the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. For over fifty years, the Amway Foundation has been going strong. DeVos is credited with ushering Amway into the 21st century. After sales became stagnant in the early 1990s, DeVos took the helm as CEO. He was able to turn the company around within two years. “I had to make some tough decisions,” said DeVos. The tough decisions helped the company make a complete turnaround and today it is still one of the most successful and profitable MLM companies in the world.
DeVos has also served as CEO of the family-owned Orlando Magic basketball team. Although many felt that DeVos lacked the “chops” to run the organization, he proved them wrong, as the organization was one of the best run in the leaque. After running the team for over a decade, he stepped down to concentrate on his brainchild Windquest Group. Dubbed the Green Machine, Windquest Group invests in alternative energy sources.
DeVos and his wife Betsy are huge proponents of the state’s voucher program and charter schools. He believes that all children, regardless of their socioeconomic background, is entitled to a good education. DeVos recently opened the The West Michigan Aviation Academy for students interested in science, engineering and aviation.
In 2006, DeVos delved into politics. He made an unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. DeVos ran on a platform of education reform and the state’s economics. DeVos spend over $40 million of his own money on his campaign. Although he lost, voters on both sides of the aisle appreciated his passion and devotion to his home state.