Dick DeVos is an entrepreneur and billionaire who was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he has always done everything he can for the city that he loves so much. In 1991, while many others supported a move to construct a sports and convention arena near the downtown of Grand Rapids, he opposed it. He had seen the same kind of plan fall apart before when the city of Detroit decided the to build the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills. This took place during the 1970s and became a huge financial drag on Detroit when the Detroit Lions and Pistons left the city. This is why DeVos began a lobbying effort against the building of a similar type of arena in Grand Rapids.
During this time, Dick DeVos helped to put together the Grand Action group. This group contains important business leaders from the area who care about the city, and these leaders have been the main reason why many buildings in the city have been built. Because of Grand Action, Michigan State University’s medical school was built along with the DeVos Place Convention Center and Van Andel Arena. While the rest of the nation simply knows DeVos as the former CEO of Amway, the state of Michigan knows him for his amazing deeds that have always made the city a better place.
Some years back, Dick DeVos put the time in to convince the CEO of AirTran Airways to run nonstop flights out of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Just a few months after he did so, AirTran Airways was purchased by Southwest. DeVos had already been given the job of trying to get Southwest to come to Grand Rapids, and now he could do so with an advantage. Before this, Southwest had turned down opportunities to add flights to the Grand Rapids area. Instead of pleading with Southwest, DeVos told them that he believed they should not just continue to offer flights out of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, but that they should add more. This ended up working out for DeVos and Southwest because the airport’s growth was twice the average of the rest of the United States.
There are many more stories like this that involve Dick DeVos. The man also ran to serve as the governor of the state of Michigan, but, unfortunately, lost to the incumbent. That never slowed him down, but, instead, motivated him to do more for his home state and city. In recent years, he has started up an aviation charter school with his wife, Betsy DeVos. The school is located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and there is a waiting list to get into it because it is that popular.
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