Dick DeVos: Transforming Grand Rapids Skyline

The DeVos clan considers the city of Grand Rapids as their home. The DeVos clan is one of the richest families in the United States, and they own a huge number of properties and businesses across the country. Dick DeVos is one of the key members of the family, who served as the former head of Amway. He is the husband of the current United States Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and they have been working together to uplift the lives of the people living in Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos is known for his influence not only in business but also in politics, and one of the most recent demonstrations of his power can be traced in 1991 when he stopped the city government of Grand Rapids from their plan of building a multi-purpose sports arena and convention center outside the downtown area.



He was the chief executive officer of Amway that time, and he spoke with the people who were behind the idea of building the large structure outside the city. He told them that their idea would not flourish, and the structure could also become a liability for the city. He has given the arenas in Detroit as an example and convinced the government officials not to follow their plans. Instead, he encouraged the city officials to focus on developing the downtown area instead. Because of the influence exerted by Dick DeVos, a group started to emerge, calling for the construction of grand structures near the city’s core. The DeVos heeded on the call of the group and sponsored the construction of numerous arenas, facilities, and entertainment venues. The Van Andel Arena and the DeVos Place Convention Center was among the first projects to be sponsored by the DeVos family, and after it was built, several other constructions followed, including the realization of the DeVos Performance Hall, and the Grand Rapids City Market. The Michigan State University also benefited from the sudden rebirth of construction within the city, and they were able to build their medical school with the help from the DeVos clan.



The people of Grand Rapids credited Dick DeVos as one of the driving force to the city’s transformation. He stated that he wanted to see the place where he grew up to become more modern, and the construction of several edifices within the city would help it generate new economic activities and attract more investors to the city.


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