In 1991, Dick DeVos was on his way to enjoying a career as CEO of his family’s company, Amway Corp. One moment changed Mr. DeVos’ life and the lives of so many others that he’s helped since then. That year a plan was publicly discussed in Grand Rapids. The plan was about building a multi-purpose convention and sports arena north of downtown Grand Rapids.
Mr. DeVos Didn’t Hesitate to Lobby Against the Plan
Mr. DeVos could have remained focused on his tasks as CEO, but that isn’t his way of doing things. He is someone who is willing to step in and right things that are going wrong. That’s exactly what he did when he heard about the plan. Mr. DeVos picked up the phone and started lobbying against the plan to build the convention center and sports arena.
He had seen this happen to other cities in Michigan. For instance, the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills had been downtown Detroit for years. In the 1970s, the Pistons and Lions, left downtown Detroit and hurt the city forever. It was a lesson, Mr. DeVos would explain as he looked back at his decision, that wasn’t lost on the people of Grand Rapids.
Mr. DeVos Campaigned Against the Sports Facility and Convention Center to Protect Downtown.
In no way is Mr. DeVos anti-business or growth. He wasn’t going to let Grand Rapids fall victim to the same fate of Detroit. That’s why he campaigned the plan. He formed a Grand Action. Grand Action was a group of business leaders who came together for a common cause: keep the arena and convention center from the north location.
Grand Action was Successful in Changing the Grand Rapids Skyline Forever
Yes, Mr. DeVos knows success. He and the Grand Action plan were successful in keeping the convention center and arena from the planned location north of Grand Rapids. He and the business leaders who helped him are credited with changing the city’s skyline and stopping the suburban sprawl that would have occurred if the plan became reality.
Mr. DeVos and his Wife have Spent Much of Their Adult Lives Helping Other People
As the heirs to two family fortunes, Mr. DeVos and his wife, Betsy, have spent much of their lives trying to positively change policies and institutions. They are mega-donors to the GOP. Betsy was appointed education secretary by President Trump. They’ve worked hard to put positive major changes in state laws that have affected labor and education.
For example, Mr. DeVos successful engineered the 2012 law that gave employees the right-to-work in the state. This meant that union members could no longer be a condition of employment in the Michigan.
One thing Mr. DeVos never wants is accolades. He helps people and positively changes the laws to help everyone. Whether it is creating his own charter school to help low-income children learn about aviation or changing downtown, Mr. DeVos is always there when people need him.
Read http://dickdevos.com/news/ to learn more.