President-Elect Donald Trump has begun forming the key pieces of his administration, the departments of defense, labor, energy and education. Heading the Department of Education is a long-time defender of school of choice and wife of Michigan entrepreneur Dick DeVos. Betsy DeVos has worked hard to make private schools more affordable, and she and Dick have given millions in charity to various social activist groups in western Michigan.
They are also the founders of The Windquest Group, an alternative investment firm with holdings in local Michigan businesses and in clean energy solutions. They both have been avid supporters of politically conservative groups.
Dick DeVos comes from a Michigan family with a long history of business and philanthropy. His father is Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, a man who has also given away millions to his community, and also owns the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Dick learned the value of hard work growing up and helping run the family business, and once he graduated from college he started managing various company departments. Learn more about Dick DeVos: http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2016/04/devos_company_gets_new_ceo.html
He became a company executive at age 29, and when his father stepped down in 1993, he became Amway’s CEO. He served that position for about 10 years, helping open the doors into new markets, and raising over $4.5 billion in sales profits in his last year as CEO alone.
Dick DeVos stepped down in 2002 from Amway and has focused on running The Windquest Group ever since. Dick decided to get involved in public service in 1990 when he ran for the Michigan State Board of Education. Read more:Richard DeVos – Family , Family Tree | Celebrity Family
He and Betsy started fighting for education reform, and in the coming years they started the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation which became an endeavor to raise scholarship funds. They soon were forming other groups including Children First America and the Education Freedom Fund.
They also at one time tried to pass a law allowing for a private school voucher program that didn’t quite pass. They did start their own charter school in 2010 called the West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Dick also was part of an effort to rebuild and revitalize Grand Rapids called Grand Action Committee, a project that oversaw construction of a sports arena, museums and theaters in the downtown area. He even ran for governor in the 2006 race against then Governor Jennifer Granholm but fell a little short. He did help pass a right-to-work law in 2012 against all opposition by labor unions.