Dick Decos was the CEO of Amway from the years 1993 to 2002. He is also known for being the man who forever changed air travel in and out of the Grand Rapids Airport. With just one phone call, he managed to talk the CEO of AirTran Airways into expanding their routes to running nonstop flights from Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Then Came Southwest
Next, he did the same with a little bigger airline, and Southwest Airlines proceeded to add direct flights from Grand Rapids to Baltimore, Denver, Orlando, and St. Louis during the summer of 2013. His success with bringing two new airlines to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport prompted some major upgrades to the tune of $45 million. Those improvements included new business centers and streamlined security check-in as well as new restaurants and restrooms. Completion was in 2018 and the airport is also home to Amway’s corporate hangars as well as the charter school that was launched by Mr. and Mrs. Devos in 2010, West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Family Fortune Heirs
Dick and his wife, Betsy, are the fortunate heirs to the fortunes of their two families. They have been spending much of their time trying to change both policies and institutions. They’re also mega-donors to the GOP and, in fact, their political influence has been the catalyst for some major changes in Michigan state laws that greatly affect both labor and education.
Education & Labor Changers
Betsy has been pushing quite successfully for expanding charter schools. At the same time, Dick has been engineered a law in 2012 that was responsible for converting Michigan from being the organized labor birthplace of to being a right-to-work state, making it one in which union membership isn’t a prerequisite for employment.
Next Up-A New Convention Center
The plan started back in 1991 in Grand Rapids. That plan was for building a multi-purpose arena for sports and conventions just north of the Grand Rapids downtown area.
Staunchly against the idea, Devos formed Grand Action, which is made up of a handful of business leaders. Together, they were behind the construction of DeVos Place Convention Center, the Grand Rapids City Market, Van Andel Arena, the Michigan State University medical school, and the DeVos Performance Hall. Those amazing structures have successfully changed the skyline of Grand Rapids skyline.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation reportedly donated $138.7 million to the arts and culture, several churches, and policy initiatives that focus on education reform, as well as health and human services, leadership programs, and scholarships to several private schools during the period from 1989 to 2015. They also made a donation of $12.5 million to the construction in 2006 of a $103 million to the children’s hospital, which is a part of the Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids. The hospital was named for Dick’s mother, Helen DeVos, who was the wife of Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.