Lister Wilson

Dick DeVos: Passion for Education Reform

Dick DeVos is a businessman who came from the wealthy DeVos clan. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dick DeVos has been taught how to become a successful entrepreneur in his early years. His father, Richard DeVos, wanted him to follow his footsteps, so he did everything that he can in order for his son to enjoy life, and sent him to the best schools that managed to mold him into the person he is today. Dick DeVos managed to finish schooling where he earned his degree, and later on in his life, he met Betsy DeVos who would become the future United States Secretary of Education. The two got married, and together, they built their own fortune. They still give back to the community as a form of philanthropic work by giving away vouchers and other forms of educational assistance to children who wanted to study but do not have the means to do so.



The fortune of Dick DeVos can be traced back to his early days, working for Amway, one of his father’s companies. He worked in different departments inside Amway, holding different positions. He was assigned in research, manufacturing, marketing, sales and finance, and because he was doing his job perfectly, he got promoted little by little. He quickly climbed the corporate ladder and became Amway’s vice president in just a short period of time. He proved his worth by working hard and smart in order for the company to post triple sales during his term as the vice president. The company’s annual sales also rose from 5% to 50% during his six year term. Dick DeVos had the chance to retire early because he already managed to save enough money for his life and decided to step down as the company’s vice president.



Dick DeVos decided to try another career after being a corporate executive, this time joining the Orlando Magic basketball organization and did his best to support the team. His family purchased the franchise in the year 1991, and as they play their games, Dick DeVos felt that the career was not for him. He returned to Amway and replaced his father as the company’s president, and he did everything that he can to beat the previous records that the company made under his leadership as the previous vice president. He succeeded into delivering his plan, as Amway managed to post higher sales, and he was already responsible for the company’s intrusion into the global market. Amway’s presence in the international scene resulted into a new point of growth, and they managed to open branches in more than 50 countries. Amway was also restructured under Dick DeVos’ term as president, and they rebranded into Alticor.



Aside from being a corporate executive, Dick DeVos, along with his wife, is also an active philanthropist. They have given away $139 million to different groups and organizations that are fighting for the educational reform in the United States. The two landed on the 24th place of Forbes’ list of the top givers in America.