Dick DeVos was born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan. He is the son of Richard DeVos Sr. Richard DeVos Sr was listed in Forbes Magazine as the 67th richest person in the country in 2012. He founded Amway, which became a worldwide organization. Dick DeVos and his brother assisted in building the company from the ground up.
Dick DeVos watched the Amway empire grow in his home as a child. He and his brother played a role in building Amway from the very beginning. As children they took on every small task needed to make clients and employees feel comfortable about the operation. The DeVos brothers would do everything from washing dishes to taxing people around town. Dick DeVos later went on to Northwood University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He attended Harvard Business School, as well as Wharton School’s Executive Study Programs. However, he did not stay until completion. Dick DeVos did go on to receive honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University, Northwood University and Grove City College.
Dick DeVos’s involvement with Amway evolved over time. In 1974 he came on to the company in a official capacity. DeVos worked in several different departments including manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance and research development. By 1984 he had elevated to the position of Vice President. Dick Devos’s leadership lead Amway to operations in 18 different countries. This opened several markets to foreign and domestic sales. Such activities were a revelation in the company’s history.
The DeVos family eventually acquired the Orlando Magic, which is an organization within the National Basketball Association. The sale was complete in 1991. Richard DeVos Sr initially appointed himself president and CEO. However, he divided the ownership of the company between his children evenly.
Dick DeVos stepped away from the operations at the Orlando Magic and returned to Amway to succeed his father. The company continued to grow. It built up to operations in 50 different countries. Dick and his brother Doug are noted for taking Amway to a global level.
DeVos was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education. However, he would resign in only two years of his eight-year term. His return as CEO of Amway proved to be the conflict of interest. Dick Devos was appointed to the Grand Valley State University Board of Control by Governor John Engler. DeVos and his wife continue to be heavily involved in education. He and Betsy became co-chairs of the Education Freedom Fund in 1993. It is a fund that provides scholarships to families in need around Michigan. The program allows applicants to attend schools of their choice. The Children’s Scholarship Fund provided 7.5 million to the Education Freedom Fund. Dick and Betsy DeVos decided to match that contribution. Now their organization covers the administrative cost of the process.
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