Dick DeVos- From CEO Of Amway To Change-Maker

Dick DeVos and his wife both come from money. They each inherited millions from their families. This, however, did not stop them from working hard and making a name for themselves. They are both major donors for the Republican party and have a love and passion for educational reform.


Younger Years


Dick’s father founded the Amway company. While he was younger, he worked hard to move his way up to the top of the company as the CEO. While working, he found out there were some plans being made to create a new convention center and sports arena in the Grand Rapids area. He was not happy about this because he was sure it would ruin the city.


Forming Grand Action Group


In order to try and stop the plan of the convention center, Dick DeVos started making calls to other business leaders in the area. These business men all have buildings across the skyline of the city and were equally afraid the new convention center would be detrimental to them.


Dick DeVos Finds Way To Put Airport On Map


Many years ago, Dick decided to call the AirTran CEO out of the blue. For most people, this would result in not getting through. Thankfully, the fact that Dick’s family owns the Orlando Magic basketball team helped get him a good conversation with the CEO. The reason for calling him was to try and work out a plan to get Grand Rapids Airport as a stop for the airlines.


Mr. DeVos had been originally tasked with trying to bring Southwest to the area. He got a stroke of good luck shortly after successfully getting flights to the city by AirTran. The airline was bought out by Southwest just a few months later.


In the middle of 2013, Southwest finally decided to add stops in St. Louis, Denver, Orlando and Baltimore. The addition of these stops brought in more passengers than the national average. This success led to many upgrades at the airport including a business center, upgraded bathrooms, easier security check-ins and new restaurants.


Dick’s wife is currently the United States Secretary of Education. Between Dick, Betsy and their oldest son, there was a bigger reason for wanting to bring more flights and success to the Grand Rapids airport. The corporate hangers in the airport are where the family started their first aviation charter school in 2010. The hanger is also where Dick stores his beloved aircraft collection.


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