Dick DeVos Impacts Michigan
Richard Marvin DeVos Jr., more commonly known as Dick DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955. At a young age, he would help out with the family business, Amway. Some of his tasks at Amway over the years included clearing plates during gatherings and later evolved into speaking in front of groups and giving product demonstrations. For college, he attended Northwood University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He started to attend Harvard Business School, but never got the chance to finish.
During his college career, Dick worked in many different types of positions in various divisions. Some of the divisions that he worked at included research and development, marketing, sales, and finance. Then in 1984, he became one of the vice presidents for Amway. In this role, Dick was put in charge of the company’s operations in 18 countries. During his time as vice president, the company was able to open many new markets and tripled their international sales.
The DeVos family then went on to acquire the Orlando Magic basketball franchise in 1991. After the family had bought the franchise, they choose to put Dick as the president and CEO of the team. He would hold these roles into 1993 when he rejoined the family business. Dick took the role as President of Amway from 1993 to 2002. In this role, he was responsible for every aspect of the company’s operations that spanned across six continents and 50 countries.
In 2000, Dick oversaw a large amount of corporate restructuring that led to the creation of Alticor, and several other subsidiary companies. During this restructuring over 1,300 jobs in Michigan were cut. This downsizing was done to expedite the return of profitability and to prevent further downsizing from happening. In August of 2002, Dick chose to retire from the company.
After his retirement from Alticor, Dick became the President of The Windquest Group. This group is a private equity investment firm that was founded in 1989. At the Windquest Group, they specialize in investing in technology, clean-tech, manufacturing, and nonprofits. According to Dick, the Windquest Group chooses to invest in technologies that are environmentally sound while also being economically sustainable.
In addition to his several business roles, Dick has also been the leader of a wide selection of community initiatives. One of these initiatives includes the Education Freedom Fund. This fund has been able to award more than 4,000 scholarships to underprivileged children in the state of Michigan.