Failed candidate for governor of Michigan and scion of the DeVos family, founders of Amway and major funders of Republican and conservative causes.
Dick DeVos is the oldest son of Richard DeVos, Sr. , the co-founder with Jay Van Andel [1924-2004] of the privately owned Amway Corporation. The Amway Corporation is a network sales company which distributes its health, household and personal care products through dealers, who in turn recruit second level dealers, second level dealers recruit third level dealers, etc., with the final level dealers typically being the consumers of the products that move through the product chain.
DeVos began work in the Amway Corporation in 1974, holding positions of various levels of responsibility in many of the company’s operating departments. In 1984, he was promoted to vice president of the company’s operations in 18 countries, probably to gain experience outside of the family owned firm. In 1989, he left the firm to start a new business venture, The Windquest Group, a company involved in the manufacture and marketing of storage and closet organizers.
In 1991, he was appointed by his father, to manage the National Basket Association’s Orlando Magic Basketball franchise, which had been acquired by the DeVos family. While doing so, he also remained involved in the management of the Windquest Group.
Two years later, in 1993, he returned to the Amway Corporation as its president, succeeding his father. In 2000, he oversaw the restructuring of the Amway Corporation. An umbrella firm was established, named the Alticor Corporation. It comprised the Amway Corporation, the Quixtar Corporation and the Access Business Group. Under the new structure of Alticor, the firm expanded its operations to more than 50 countries and territories in six continents.
In 2002, Dick DeVos retired as president of Alticor to devote full time to his private venture, the Windquest Group, as its president, and to political causes.
In 2006, DeVos decided to enter politics, and ran for governor in the state of Michigan on the Republican ticket. At that time he was considered to be the wealthiest man to run for the governorship of Michigan. He utilized his wealth to finance his quest for the governorship, spending as much as $40 million of his own money for the campaign.
Although money is usually very important in political campaigns, in this case, the money proved to be of little help. DeVos lost the election to Jennifer Granholm, the Democrat, by a 14 point margin.
Dick DeVos is married to Elizabeth (Betsie) Prince, a daughter of Edgar Prince, the founder, owner and president of the Prince Corporation of Holland, Michigan. Elizabeth's brother, Erik Prince, was the founder and president of the Blackwater private security firm, located in North Carolina, and active in security services in Iraq and elsewhere. Dick and Elizabeth DeVos have four children, named Rick, Elissa, Andrea and Ryan.