Businessman and philanthropist Richard “Dick” DeVos is one of the richest men in the U.S. His family is behind one of the most successful MLM companies the world: Amway. Although the company was co-created by his father, Richard DeVos Sr., Dick’s contributions have helped the company thrive.
DeVos began working at the company in 1974 after graduating from Northwood University. After holding a variety of positions within the company, he was appointed vice-president 1984. After his father stepped down, he took over the role as CEO. DeVos wasted no time revamping the company from top to bottom. Through his efforts, Amway’s profits soared and the company earned more money than it had in decades.
The family purchased the Orlando Magic basketball team in 1992. DeVos took over the reigns as CEO in 1996. The team, routinely one of the bottom-dwellers of the NBA, was turned around through DeVos’s leadership.
After stepping away from Amway and the Orlando Magic, DeVos started his own company: The Windquest Group. The privately held investment management corporation has holdings in technology and manufacturing.
DeVos and his family is heavy into philanthropy. Through his foundation, he and his wife, Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos, have given millions to Michigan school choice programs. DeVos believes that school vouchers and charter schools are fundamental in helping low-income children receive the best education possible. DeVos and his family also give generously to a number of Christian-based schools.
Three years ago, DeVos opened the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter school for children of limited financial means who love aviation and technology.
In 2006, DeVos launched a Republican campaign to unseat Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He ran on the platform of better education and the declining job climate in the state of Michigan. DeVos spent $35 million of his own money. Just two weeks before the election, some polls had DeVos neck in neck with Granholm. He eventually lost the election by an 8-pt margin, 48-40. DeVos says he used the loss as a learning tool and despite the crushing defeat, he will consider running again in the near future.