Entrepreneur Dick Devos

Dick DeVos may not get the press conference that his wife, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, receives, but he has been just as highly involved in Grand Rapids and Michigan politics over the past 30 years.


DeVos first got involved in local politics when he didn’t like the way city leaders were shaping his beloved city of Grand Rapids. City leaders were proposing to build a convention and sports center outside of the city and DeVos feared the move would leave downtown desolate just as a similar move left Detroit’s inner city streets empty.


The businessman, who was on track to become the CEO of his father’s Amway Corp., empire, decided to make some calls. Soon, a coalition of business leaders formed the lobbying group Grand Action. The group pushed for more growth downtown. The result was several large and successful projects resulting in the Van Andel Arena, the DeVos Performance Hall, the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Grand Rapids City Market and the medical school at Michigan State University.


The next project for DeVos was bringing growth to the Grand Rapids airport. The goal was to get nonstop flights to include the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. DeVos used some connections to contact Air Tran Airways CEO. A visit to the Michigan airport led the CEO to run some nonstop flights from Grand Rapids.


DeVos, a pilot himself, set his sights on bringing Southwest to the airport. He was given an opportunity when Southwest bought Air Tran. However, the hurdle was in convincing the air carrier to increase direct flights rather than end them.


Southwest added non-stop flights to St. Louis, Baltimore, Denver and Orlando in 2013.


DeVos’ love of aviation carried over to his wife’s passion for charter schools when the couple opened the nonprofit charter school West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010. The school, located at the airport, has more than 600 students from seven surrounding counties attend.


The businessman’s aviation knowledge and experience landed him a post with the Trump administration in 2017. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao appointed him to the 13-member Management Advisory Council. The council offers direction to the FAA on issues like spending, long-range planning, and policy.


The position is a voluntary position.


Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.

Orange Coast College

A former Orange Coast College professor donated a hefty $1-million for the construction of a new planetarium. The planetarium will include a Foucault pendulum, which is a device that showcases the rotation of the Earth. College Administrators are excited to say that they will be hosting the only Foucault pendulum in all of Orange County.


Retired professor Mary McChesney, 91-years old, is more than happy for making this planetarium possible. She said that it is open to all OCC students, as well as the community for scientific learning. McChesney gifted the money in high-respect for the memory of her deceased lover, Adelyn Bonin. Bonin was an instructor at the college as well, teaching German.


McChesney was a professor of English and Spanish at OCC for 33 years and was a regular benefactor for many years. As a way of showing an enormous amount of appreciation for the school, she donated a million bucks. The planetarium is expected to be open by the fall of 2018.


Orange Coast College was founded back in 1947. Classes began in the fall of 1948 and gives students the ability to study for art and science associate degrees. These associate degrees are expected to be completed within 2 years of study. This community college is oftentimes used as a stepping stone to university admissions, and provides certificates upon the successful completion of certain classes. OCC admits roughly 24,000 students and is the third largest community college in Orange County.


OCC is popular amongst locals and includes clubs and sport teams, as well as an organized Associated Student Body. Local housing is expensive and the college currently does not provide on-campus living. This is made up by the amount of successful students from OCC transferring to prominent universities such as the University of California and California State University.


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Betsy Devos; Changing The Educational Landscape

Betsy DeVos, the 11th and current Secretary of Education of the United States is all set to renew the state’s involvement and interest in the development of education for America.

She has been actively involved in the movement for the right to one’s choice and school preferences, having been an advocate of school voucher programs, school choice and charter schools as well as her help with the Reformed Christian Community.

Betsy Devos rose to the title of Republican National Committeewoman of Michigan from the years 1992-1997, during which time she also held the position of chairwoman for the Michigan Republican Party between 1996 to 2000, and even ended up being re-elected for the same in the year 2003.

Devos has been a long and faithful advocate for the Detroit charter school system and became a board member for the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

It’s hardly surprising that she be the pick for Secretary of Education considering that she’s also been board chairwoman for Alliance for School Choice and Action Institute, heading all matter children related.

DeVos, raised and born in Holland, is no stranger to leadership, having been exposed to her father, Edgar Prince’s vast empire at a young age.

The vast wealth that she has been pivotal in creating and maintaining over the years has not blinded her loyalties to her faith and alma mater, having made significant donations to Calvin College, the Christian Reformed school run in Michigan, which she attended after the Holland Christian High School.

Her deep concern for the future of education is apparent in her massive philanthropy and activism of the same; it’s about time America embraced the unique insights a businesswoman has to offer to the world of learning.

DeVos has many a time mentioned her passionate vision for every family in the United States to have a broad choice of education. This includes the privatization of education, diversion of public funds to religious and private schools and the installation of voucher programs for schools. She also mentioned the need for digital learning and homeschooling as accessible options under her movement titled ‘educational choice’. Read more news on CNN.


The failure of securing voucher legislation in the year 2000 in Michigan did not deter this resilient couple team, who went on to tackle the issue at a grassroots level, an alternative that many in her position would consider beneath themselves. The couple then went ahead putting together a large number of non-profit organizations and fundraisers, pushing their agenda at the local level in a practical and endearing way, winning the hearts of American households. Follow Betsy on Twitter.