Billionaire CEO and philanthropist Richard “Dick” DeVos learned the power of hard work from a very young age. Although he grew up rich (his father is Amway Products founder Richard DeVos), his father was determined that neither he or his siblings would grow up to be spoiled, rich brats.
His responsibilities with the business started at a very young age. He and his sibling were assigned to duties such as greeting guests, provided beverages, carrying suitcases and other things to show responsibility.
After college, DeVos wasted no time immersing himself into the Amway business. He was determined to learn everything and moved to different department to ensure that he did.
In 1984, DeVos was named one of Amway’s vice presidents. Under his direction, Amway increased its foreign and domestic sales. When the DeVos family purchased the Orlando Magic basketball team, Dick stepped away from Amway to become CEO. Two years later, DeVos decided to rejoin Amway as CEO after his father retired. It was during his tenure that Alticor, the parent company of Amway was created. The company continued to expand operations and reported sales of $4.5 billion annually in 2002.
Feeling his work had been accomplished, DeVos left Amway in 2002 to build his own company, The Windquest Group. The company has holdings in the technology and alternative energy industry.
DeVos and his family are among the wealthiest and most philanthropic in the U.S. They give generously to a number of causes and are huge supporters of charter schools and voucher programs. DeVos and his wife, Betsy DeVos, newly appointed Secretary of Education for the Trump Administration, have been at the forefront of educational issues in the state of Michigan for nearly 30 years.
The DeVoses firmly believe that all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, should receive a quality education. DeVos opened the West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010, for children who are interested in math, aviation and science.
In 2006, DeVos ran unsuccessfully to unseat Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). He ran on a platform of employment, which he says had sank to Mississippi levels. After closing the gap a few weeks before the elections, he ultimately loss by 8 percentage points.