Dick DeVos loves his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he has been a part of many different efforts to improve his city. As the son of the founder of Amway, and the former CEO of the company, he has leveraged, both, his knowledge and income to make important changes to Grand Rapids. Close to three decades ago there was a plan that was gaining steam to build a sports and convention arena in the city that would be used for multiple purposes. While many others began to support the idea, he knew better.
The sports and convention arena was going to be built just north of the downtown area of Grand Rapids, and this alerted him to what he needed to do. Instead of just voicing his opinion about the negative aspects of building such an arena, he got on the phone ans started making phone calls. During his lobbying effort, he managed to help with the formation of Grand Action, which is a group comprised of business leaders in Michigan that have worked to make the city of Grand Rapids a better place. Over time, they have done so by being a large part of the construction of buildings like the DeVos Performance Hall Michigan State University’s medical school, and many others.
The reason Dick DeVos was so adamantly opposed to the idea of the sports and convention arena was because he had witnessed something similar in Detroit way back in the 1970s. What took place then was the building of the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills, and its construction ended up being a huge mistake when the Detroit Pistons and Lions decided to leave the city. Dick DeVos could have just waited and let the city make its own mistakes, but like a good businessman and caretaker of Grand Rapids, he decided to get involved before a lot of time and money was wasted.
This wasn’t Dick DeVos’s first rodeo, because he was also the key person who was responsible for bringing Southwest Airlines into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Instead of just wooing Southwest to Grand Rapids, he ensured that the airline company would offer non-stop flights of the city. Dick DeVos is also the co-founder of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is nonprofit charter school. The school started out with 80 students but is now bursting at the seams with 600 students who are interested in the aviation industry.
To learn more, visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/.