Dick DeVos Engaging in Actions of Consequence in West Michigan
Dick DeVos has had an extensive career as a West Michigan businessman, investor and political activist supporting conservative causes. As the son of Amway co-founder, Richard DeVos, Dick DeVos has had a significant resource at his disposal in the form of an inheritance, which he’s dedicated to several causes, including the arts, health services, churches, leadership and education reform.
As a West Michigan and Grand Rapids businessman, Dick DeVos has served as the Amway CEO, been the founder of the privately held Windquest Group investment firm and been an initiator of the Grand Action business group designed to revitalize the city center.
The business group, initiated in response to what DeVos recognized as a misguided convention center and sports arena proposal, ultimately redid the downtown skyline with Van Andel Arena, a medical branch for Michigan State University, the Grand Rapids City Market, the DeVos Performance Hall and the DeVos Place Convention Center.
In his political efforts, Dick DeVos, along with his wife, Betsy, has been active in both labor and educational reform. DeVos was instrumental in giving Michigan a right to work status. And both he and Betsy DeVos, the former U.S. Secretary of Education, have been strong advocates for private school vouchers and charter schools as alternatives to standard public education.
As donors, the couple made pediatric care locally accessible with a $12.5 million contribution to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital while donating $138.7 to community development and political reform.
Among his endeavors, Dick DeVos has been active in aviation. As a helicopter and jet aircraft pilot, DeVos combined the charter school concept with aviation to create the West Michigan Aviation Academy, based at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The school provides students from around the region with both a standard education and extended classes in technology and flight instruction in the school’s Cessna 172’s.
Dick DeVos has also applied his wide-ranging business and political background to his appointment to the FAA Management Advisory Council, advising on topics like planning and spending, regulations and policy.
DeVos was also successful in making Grand Rapids a transportation center, establishing direct regional flights while reinforcing operations with legacy carrier, Delta, and expanding passenger volume and local economies.