Bringing positive change to all walks of life, Billionaire Dick Devos

The year was 1991 when a plan to develop a multi-purpose sports and convention arena in Grand Rapids, north of downtown, was released to the public. During that time, Dick Devos was working for Amway Corporation, owned by his family, and he was not for the construction of the convention arena. He reasoned that the project could be destructive to the area just like Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills were also destructive in Detroit after the Lions and Pistons moved elsewhere.

Due to his campaign efforts against the building of the sports facility, Grand Action was born. Grand Action is a body of business heads who were partially responsible for the construction of the DeVos Place Convention Center, DeVos Performance Hall, Van Andel Arena, Michigan State University’s medical school, and the Grand Rapid City Market.

Dick and Betsy Devos have spent a good part of their adult lives trying to bring positive changes to institutions and policies. They both have political influence aiding them to push for changes in state laws that affect education and labor. In the recent past, Betsy Devos triumphantly pushed for the enlargement of charter schools while Dick Devos designed the 2012 law which transformed Michigan to a right-to-work state doing away with the precondition that one had to be a member of a union to be employed.

Besides his political influence, Dick Devos is a charitable man, actively involved and contributing to philanthropic causes. The Dick and Betsy Devos Foundation has donated roughly $138.7 million to arts and culture, health services, leadership programs, churches, and not to forget the policy initiatives aiming at education reforms and private school scholarships. Also, Dick and Betsy Devos made the foremost donation of $12.5 million to a project for the building of a children’s hospital, named after Helen Devos, Dick’s mother, worth $103 million in the Spectrum Health System.

The Devos’ are big on education reforms and in conjunction to this, they founded an aviation charter high school, West Michigan Aviation Academy, at Grand Rapids International Airport. The school has aviation classes in every grade which include history, aircraft maintenance, electronics and pilot instruction. The school’s population has increased from just 80 students to about 600 students. The Devos’ goal drives their philanthropy in the education sector, that of having children from less privileged families have the same opportunity their children had.

In other news, the US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao reported that Dick Devos was on the list of the seven new members of a panel that oversees the Federal Aviation Administration. Here, together with the other panel members, he advises the FAA’s senior management on spending, policy, planning and regulatory issues.

 

Follow Dick DeVos on twitter.

Marc Sparks – Wow

Marc’s passion has always been to build companies stemming from concepts that others think cannot be explored. He maintains numerous portfolio companies within his private equity firm – Timber Creek Capital, LP. Taking any initial idea, he seeks to establish not only business models but company cultures as he develops short-term goals with long-range growth plans. He manages by example, setting patterns for the team to follow. His door is always open; employees meet in “real time”. Everyone calls his instant access Sparks Speed. He figures: By the time he spends setting up a meeting in reserve conference rooms, he could easily resolve a challenge instead.Learn more : http://thebrotalk.com/bro-recommendations/dallas-entrepreneur-marc-sparks-spills-must-visit-list-wineries-dfw/

 

Marc’s book, “They Can’t Eat You,” was a pain for him to write. Within its pages, he shares absolutely everything — warts and all. He feels as if anyone reading the book may learn more from his unsuccessful ventures than from the later successes. It’s easy for him to say, “Look at me: I began my own software company and sold more than $200 million in products annually”. Yet he humbly states that he is always learning, and that he is – at the end of the day – another human being; such humility dominates his life.

 

His colleagues convinced him to write his current book, and he wants his written experiences to bless others in turn as he has been blessed with so much in the last 30 years. His book is made for entrepreneurs who lose hope and cannot get across the finish line with their dreams. People often ask Sparks two questions: “Are you not afraid to lose?” and “How do you do this?”Learn more : http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/marcsparks

 

He humbly replies by stating that the poorest he can ever remember being was when he had to purchase groceries from a gas station using his Texaco credit card. He remembers that, even when he was poor, he was still excited about his life and the journey to come. Call it ignorance or a gift from God: Sparks is simply not afraid to lose it all.

 

Do not misunderstand his main point: He loves to win but knows that he cannot win them all. This is life we’re talking about, after all. He has never said that he wanted to become a millionaire. Being rich – to him – implies having good health, enjoying a healthy family, spending quality time with friends, building successful business ventures from scratch, working with multiple excited staff members at once and having countless satisfied customers. Now that’s a great day. Sparks believes that God gave him a unique shut-off valve for eliminating fear; he has such minimal fear that he sometimes wonders whether there’s something wrong with him.Learn more : https://www.facebook.com/marc.sparks1