Dick DeVos is one of the top businessmen from America. His work with Amway earned him significant praise for leading global sales worldwide. His father, Richard DeVos Sr., just recently passed away in 2018. He was 92 years old. Now, Dick DeVos will be leading the way. His family has grown in the past few years, taking on political offices, growing their philanthropy, and starting new entrepreneurial work.
DeVos has always been talented in business. It wasn’t just about his connections. His ability to develop strategies to help businesses also provided Grand Rapids with the resources to pull itself out of a down market. Now, Grand Rapids is a thriving city in western Michigan. For many years, the city was in trouble, just like many pockets of Michigan that used to thrive.
Western Michigan was hit hard by the loss of GM in the 1990s. As the hometown of Dick DeVos and Betsy DeVos, Grand Rapids became a focal point for the family who wanted to help out businesses in downtown as well as nearby schools. Together, Dick and Betsy DeVos donated over $139 in funding to cultural arts, education, healthcare, and economic needs to the area.
This included building the DeVos Performance Hall, DeVos Place Convention Center, and many other areas around western Michigan. These areas changed the face of the city and also helped it to grow forward, bringing it out of a stagnant economy. However, there was a second part to this place that has credited Dick DeVos with putting Grand Rapids on the map.
Before the 2000s, Grand Rapids was in trouble. There were many businesses pulling out of downtown because there was no activity. DeVos sought to change that along with many other business leaders who were in a committee called Grand Action. Together, they built up areas around Grand Rapids, including the Andel Arena.
DeVos also wanted to focus on the airport nearby. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport had just re-launched in 1999. DeVos saw that it was still struggling to make ticket sales every day. The CEO wanted DeVos’ help, so the businessman reached out to his contacts at the airport, which included the CEO of AirTran Airways. He convinced the CEO over one phone call to add new flights to their terminals at the airport.
These new flights bolstered additional sales and attention for the city, eventually leading to such growth that the airport expanded with a $45 million fund. The airport just did 3.26 million passengers in 2018.
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