Grand Action, a group of business executives in Michigan, which is credited with changing the skyline of Grand Rapids was formed through the initiatives of Dick DeVos. This group was initially established in 1991 to prevent the construction of a sports complex and convention plaza in the city.
Apparently, Dick got hold of the news that this project was already on the drawing boards and he does not want it to progress. Why? He doesn’t want Grand Rapids to suffer the same fate that downtown Detroit experienced when the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Lions abandoned the city for another more suitable place for their headquarters.
When the two professional sports club left Detroit, their two home courts, the Palace of Auburn Hills and the Pontiac Silverdome were standing idly, with no sports fans to serve. That left Detroit hanging with an empty bag. And this wouldn’t happen with Grand Rapids, Dick DeVos thought. He spiritedly worked against the project, calling business associates and exercising his political clout to block the construction of the project.
Now Grand Rapids has a different skyline, thanks to the work done by Dick. This incident helped to prove that Dick is an active agent of change. This approach in life is shared by his wife, Betsy. Both belong to well-heeled families in Michigan, being major donors of the Republican Party. At the time Dick was fighting against the sports arena project, he was on his way to being the CEO of his family-owned Amway Corp., a well-known retailer of consumer items all over the world.
Currently, he belongs to the civilian panel that supervises the activities of the Federal Aviation Administration. Dick is not actually new to this job being an experienced pilot. His inclusion in the panel was announced by Elaine L. Chao, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation on Sept. 28, 2017.
Dick is now working with the Management Advisory Council which is composed of 13 members, seven of which are civilians like himself. The council is giving advice to the senior management of FAA regarding regulatory matters, long-term planning, spending and policy. Gregory Martin, FAA spokesman said that collectively, the council charts the agency’s strategic course.
Dick, together with other appointees to the council, will be given three years to server their terms. They are not required to relinquish their other private and public sector positions. The council meets every quarter to discuss important matters relating to the FAA and whatever is on their agenda.
Dick and his wife Betsy are also busy with their charitable works. Their DeVos Family Foundation has reportedly granted $138.7 million to various interests such as arts and culture, policy initiatives focused on educational reform, leadership programs, scholarships for private schools, churches, and health and human services. The two have also given donations amounting to $12.5 to Grand Rapids towards the construction of a children’s hospital under the Spectrum Health System. The hospital was named after the mother of Dick, Helen DeVos. This hospital has provided many conveniences to the poor parents of its children patients.
Follow Dick DeVos on twitter.