These days, Dick DeVos may be best known as the husband of Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. But he’s a force in his own right. Currently the chair of Spectrum Health System’s board, Dick DeVos was also CEO of Amway from 1993 to 2002. Like his wife, he has long been active in the world of Republican politics, too.
Dick DeVos successfully campaigned to end the stranglehold that unions had on labor in his home state of Michigan. It’s due to his advocacy that it’s now a right-to-work state, where you don’t have to be a union member to get a job. He has long campaigned to help level the playing field for the average person in his home state. Learn more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos
Along with his wife, Betsy, Dick DeVos is still a big advocate for change to public education. To him, the issue is personal. In his lifetime, he’s seen Michigan go from an economic powerhouse to a state that struggles to function. In Detroit, he’s seen well-intentioned plans go badly awry. In his home city of Grand Rapids, he’s seen the public schools go from great to barely functioning. With his wealth and connections, he felt a responsibility to make a difference.
DeVos is also very interested in the world of aviation. He not only has a pilot’s license, he takes a keen interest in the industry overall. Grand Rapids is home to an international airport, and he knows it’s crucial to the area’s economy. He’s been a big part of the revitalization of Gerald R. Ford Airport, which drew more traffic through Grand Rapids. Along with his wife, Dick DeVos co-founded an aviation charter school. It gives students the skills they’ll need to work in the aviation industry.
In part because of this, Dick DeVos was recently appointed to the Management Advisory Council of the FAA. This is a volunteer position, and one that he is proud to serve in. Over the next three years, he will help to oversee the Federal Aviation Administration. With Dick DeVos on board, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is confident that this iteration of the Advisory Council will do great things.
Apart from his new appointment, DeVos will continue his business and philanthropic endeavors. Today, most of his time is taken up by his role as head of the Windquest Group. This is a holding company that invests in innovative new products that have the potential to disrupt their categories. Examples of Windquest Group projects include The Green Machine, which converts waste into fuel, and Boxed Water is Better.