How Dick Devos Helped Grand Rapids

Dick Devos, who is married to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, is known for his drive to make changes for the better in our society. He has done a lot for his local community and for education around the country.


Dick Devos, while he was the CEO of Amway, opposed a multipurpose sports center that he believed would be detrimental to Grand Rapids. He lobbied hard against it, and he organized a group to work on fighting it and creating buildings that would help Grand Rapids instead.


Dick also started a charter school, The West Michigan Aviation Academy. This charter school helps young people become pilots. Both Dick and Betsy have worked to expand private education. One of their main projects is supporting initiatives that would offer tax vouchers to private schools. School choice is a big issue for them.


Dick Devos has helped out his community in many other ways. For example, he helped with getting the local airport in Grand Rapids to be successful. As the CEO of Orlando Magic, which was located down the road from Air Tran’s headquarters, he put in a call to Airtran and convinced them to visit the airport. Eventually, Airtran was bought by Southwest. They ran flights to and from Ford Airport. Devos was charged with bringing Southwest to Grand Rapids. His efforts in doing so helped bring the airport more fame and recognition. Of course, he had a personal incentive for doing so, as the airport was the home of his charter school.


Dick Devos was chosen to be one of the civilians on the panel overseeing the Federal Aviation Administration. There are seven civilians on this panel. Their job is to oversee the FAA and regulate their strategies and spending. Civilians meet four times a year. They are volunteers, and they serve for three-year terms. One of the reasons why he was chosen was his success in making Gerald R. Ford so successful.


The West Michigan Aviation Academy has also been seeing success. Although it started out with just a few dozen students, it now has over six hundred students. Of course, Betsy fully supported this school, just like she supported many other private and charter schools.


Dick and Betsy founded the Great Lakes Education Project, which focuses on school choice in Michigan. They also helped start school choice programs in twenty four states.


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