Some remember that in 1991, the city of Grand Rapids floated a plan to build a sport-convention center north of the downtown location. Dick DeVos was against the plan and lobbied hard to stop it. His reasoning was that that the new center would experience the same fate as the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit. Certain venues can attract sports teams that can devastate a city’s entire economy if they decide to pack up and leave.


The active campaign by Dick DeVos led to the formation of a group called Grand Action. This group consisted of area business leaders who were the influencing forces behind the construction of the Van Andel Arena. They were also behind construction efforts of the DeVos Place Convention Center and the medical school of Michigan State University.

Dick DeVos used his considerable influence to alter the skyline of Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos and his wife are both heirs to massive family fortunes. Their union has produced a power couple who have spent their lives attempting to steer policies and control the destinies of institutions.


Dick DeVos and his wife Betsy have also been heavily involved in pushing for charter school expansion in their state and others. While they are both actively involved in politics, they are also known for their philanthropic work in supporting causes for the arts and culture, and certain leadership programs. The DeVos family also devotes time and money to support health human services, churches, and policies that support charter school education.


Education still remains one of the family’s biggest initiatives. Dick DeVos founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The school teaches academics, engineering, and aviation. Students attending this school can benefit tremendously. Of course, the nation may very well need more such academies to train students as aviation industry personnel retire.


At the academy, students do experience a full academic life. Its clubs and activities help to build the surrounding community as well. Students can look forward to acquiring new skills and accumulating the experiences that will benefit them throughout their lifetime. The academy also offers athletic activities. Dick DeVos and family are a force to reckon with.


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