Entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard “Dick” DeVos has a long and profitable work history both at home and abroad. He developed a great work ethic by growing up in a family that stressed the importance or working hard and giving back to the community.
DeVos is the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. Even as a child, DeVos worked in some capacity with his father’s company, whether it was simply greeting guests or serving coffee during business meetings.
The Grand Rapids native graduated from Northwood University with a degree in Business Administration. He began working full time for Amway and rotated around to different positions to learn every aspect of the business. By the late 1970s, DeVos had been promoted to vice-president. During a period when Amway was floundering, DeVos enlisted a scorched earth program to cut waste and streamline the company into a more globally competitive entity.
He was appointed CEO in 1992. Through his leadership, Amway saw profits overseas grow from 5 percent to 50 percent. After acquiring the NBA Orlando Magic basketball team in 1991, Devos took over the day to day operations for his father, who stepped down as CEO. The team, which was at the bottom of the league, was completely turned around and profitable inside of three years.
DeVos is also known for his charitable contributions. A number of press outlets define him as kind, affable, humorous and one of the best businessmen in the U.S. After stepping away from Amway, DeVos created the Windquest Group. The company is on the forefront of energy, technology and manufacturing.
DeVos, and his wife, newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, have worked hard within the state of Michigan to ensure that all children receive a good education. He is a huge proponent of the voucher system and charter schools. His charitable foundation has given millions of dollars toward grants and the Education Freedom Fund.
In 2008, Devos ran unsuccessfully to unseat incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm (D). He ran on a platform of job creation and education. Although he closed the race substantially toward the end, he lost by 8 points.