The Early Life and Career Journey of Dick DeVos

Dick DeVos has built himself an impressive profile as an entrepreneur and author from Michigan. He is the son of Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway and the former CEO of the Consumer Goods Distribution Company between 1993 and 2002. Dick DeVos ran for the Governor of Michigan in 2006 on a Republican ticket but lost to Jennifer Granholm who ran on a Democratic ticket. According to Forbes, his father ranked as the 67th wealthiest person in the U.S., with a net worth of around $5.1 billion. Dick DeVos is married to Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education in the United States.

 

Dick DeVos was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and went to the Forest Hills public school system. DeVos became involved in his family’s business way back in his childhood. Dick DeVos and his brother, Doug, would be assigned to welcome attendees during Amway’s annual conventions. They would also assist in ferrying guests to play waterski and tennis and clear plates during gatherings. That evolved into entertaining guests and even giving product demonstrations. Dick’s relentless efforts at Northwood University earned him a degree in Business Administration. He later enrolled in the Harvard University for Executive Study Programs. Dick DeVos has been honored with doctorates by Northwood University and Central Michigan University. Dick DeVos was recently recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Northwood University.

 

Dick DeVos’ career journey unfolded in 1974 holding various executive roles at Amway Corporation. In 1984, he worked his way up to become Amway’s vice president, responsible for overseeing operations in 18 countries. Under his belt, Amway scaled globally and tripled its foreign sales to exceed domestic sales for the first time in history. Overseas sales accounted for about 5% of overall sales when Dick DeVos joined Amway in 1986. By the time he left Amway six years later, foreign sales had grown to 50% of total sales.

 

Philanthropy

 

Dick DeVos supports charitable initiatives through his philanthropic arm, Dick and Besty DeVos Foundation, a humanitarian organization that has donated millions of dollars to educational, civic, and religious organizations since 1990. Its grantees include Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Grove City College, ArtPrize Grand Rapids, West Michigan Aviation Academy, and the Education Freedom Fund. Dick DeVos spearheaded the development of the nation’s first aviation charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2011. The idea of starting an aviation charter high school came up with Betsy DeVos.

 

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