Dick and Betsy DeVos, the Power Couple of Southwest Michigan

Dick DeVos got on the phone about as soon as he found out what developers wanted to do in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The plan was to build a major sports and convention center — so far, so good — in the ‘burbs.


It was that last part that was the deal-killer as far as DeVos was concerned. He’d seen what happened when major real estate development abandoned a city’s center. He had to look no farther than across the state, at Detroit, for motivation.


Downtown Detroit had been basically hollowed out when such landmark structures as Pontiac Silverdome and the Palace of Auburn Hills had drawn traffic out of the city center. That, as far as DeVos was concerned, wasn’t going to happen to his Grand Rapids.


He and his wife, Betsy, had some leverage, after all. The DeVos name had been well known in southwest Michigan since Rich DeVos, Dick’s father, put the company formerly known as Amway in the public consciousness. Today, the extended family serves as energetic business leaders, philanthropists and civic-minded doers in the region.


That’s why Dick DeVos could pick up the phone and help form Grand Action, a strong team of civic leaders who felt as he did about bringing prosperity to downtown Grand Rapids rather than gutting it through ill-conceived development.


Grand Action got things done. In addition to getting DeVos Place Convention Center brought downtown, the group also used their muscle to add the Michigan State University College of New Medicine, Grand Rapids City Market, the Van Andel Arena and other jewels to the city skyscape, making the Furniture City a showcase of mid-sized American metropolises.


Philanthropic Endeavors


The DeVoses are perhaps best known as philanthropists, particularly in the realm of education. The power couple has donated more than $140 million through the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.


On the education front, DeVos funding has resulted in the establishment of the state-of-the-art West Michigan Aviation Academy (Dick is an avid pilot) and the Education Freedom Fund. The purpose of this entity is to fund private school tuition for underprivileged area students.


It was for Betsy DeVos’s well-known passion and achievements in opening up schooling opportunities for all that she was appointed U.S. Secretary of Education in the Trump Administration.


Aiming High


In addition to founding West Michigan Aviation Academy, Dick DeVos moved his beloved city forward by taking a leadership position in getting an airline now part of Southwest Airlines to add air routes from the city’s Gerald R. Ford International Airport. As part of this endeavor, DeVos was able to help raise $45 million for capital improvements at the airport.


In recognition of DeVos’s flight-related accomplishments, he was appointed to the Management Advisory Council of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Dick and Betsy DeVos have both used their financial resources, their passion and leadership instincts to improve the education, healthcare, arts and culture and even the aesthetics of southwest Michigan–and to benefit the nation beyond.


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Wes Edens Builds on Professional Success

An ultimate goal that many people have is to eventually own a professional sports team. While this is a goal that normally will not be achieved by the average person, there are some luckly and successful people that are able to achieve their ultimate dream and goal. One individual that has continued to have a very successful career and has been able to reach this top goal is Wes Edens.

Today, Wes Edens is best known for being the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. He was able to purchase the company, along with a business partner and group of investors, for $550 million in 2014. Along with that, he was able to promise the city of Milwaukee that he would keep the team in town and would see it grow successfully. He was since able to build a new stadium and has overseen the team reach one of the best levels of success in more than 40 years. Since purchasing the team, the value has increased to more than $1 billion. More about of Wes Edens at nba.com

While he is now best known for being a top basketball owner, Wes Edens first had a very long and successful career in the field of finance. He started his career in the financial industry after graduating from Oregon State University. He then worked for a variety of top firms in New York City, including BlackRock and Lehman Brothers. In these roles he continued to take on more responsibility and also saw his professional success grow.

At one point, Wes Edens was tasked with taking over Springleaf Financial Services. This company was previously weakened by the credit crunch and overall financial bubble burst in 2008, but Edens was able to improve it dramatically. In just under ten years, he was able to see the value of the company increase by more than 27 times the original value.

Since this time, Edens has also taken on a variety of other similar roles that have allowed him to build on the same professional success. This has seen him lead more organizaitons that are in the financial services or other similar fields.

Related Article: https://www.bizjournals.com/newyork/potmsearch/detail/submission/6455155/Wes_Edens


Adam Milstein Says; Anti-Semitism Is On the Rise in Non-Traditional Spheres

According to Adam Milstein the prolific Jewish commentator and author of several publications, the world is experiencing an increase in the number of people who are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel. He says that groups of radicalized Muslims aim at destroying Israel. He further observes that the anti-Jewish radicals use every means at their disposal to spread anti-Semitism culture. It is, of course, common knowledge that anti-Semitism has been around for many years. However, the difference is that those who were never anti-Semitic are becoming increasingly so.

The Radical Left Has Joined the Fray

While the radical left has always overtly fought the existence of the state of Israel, the radical left has only joined the bandwagon in the recent past. Anti-Semitism is being used as a uniting factor among Muslims who were otherwise on opposite ends of ideologies. It is now the basis of radical Islam. There are distinctly different sources of anti-Semitism today that have united only for the purpose of hating Jews and Israel. Adam Milstein says that while anti-Semitic feelings were more overtly manifested among the people of Europe, North America is the latest statistic of countries that are experiencing increasing anti-Semiticism. North America has increased its number of those who hate Muslims tremendously. The country is currently witnessing increasing numbers and groups that are forming alliances between radical Muslims and the radical leftists with a vicious hatred for the growth of the Zionist state. Some of the heinous actions carried out by radical Muslims include stoning women, executing members of the gay community, abuse the rights of the minorities and simply does not provide for feminist expressionism. It shuns women in almost every public forum. Such ideologies should have been sufficient fodder to make the far left to ponder and become wary of the activities of the radical right. Surprisingly though, in what Adam Milstein terms as a union of odds, the radical lefts turns a blind eye to the blatant abuse of human rights. The sheer hatred of western influence. They have no space or sympathy for western practices such as freedom of speech and pluralistic nationalism.

The Truth of the Matter

According to Adam Milstein, the writing is on the wall. There is increased anti-Semitic radicalism. Milstein says that there is an urgent need for Jews and their friends to rise up and reverse the anti-Semitism trends.


Andrea McWilliams Points The Way To A Bright Political Future In Texas

Andrea McWilliams has a name the majority of political individuals with even a scant knowledge of Texas will know and respect; McWilliams seems to have been around the Texan political world for a long, but this is largely because of her first major role as a Chief of Staff taking place when she was just 21 years of age. Now better known as one of the leading lobbyists in Texas and the U.S. as a whole, Andrea McWilliams has formed her own company, McWilliams Governmental Affairs Consultants that she manages along side her husband, Dean.

One of the great passions of the life of Andrea McWilliams has been her commitment to philanthropy, which she has made a top priority through her work with a number of foundations and groups at a national and state level. As a board member Andrea McWilliams has worked for a number of not for profit groups, including the Rise Across Texas Challenge and the Elizabeth Ann Seton Hospital; the philanthropic work conducted by Andrea McWilliams has also brought her ever closer ties to her home town of Austin, Texas, where she has presided over the Inherit Austin group as President.

The people of Austin, Texas and far beyond can look at the work of Andrea McWilliams with pride as she has been a major reason why a number of the top political campaigns of recent years have been successful in the Texas legislature. The work completed by Andrea McWilliams has included her work to make sure a cancer research package providing upwards of $3 billion in funding made its way through the Legislature in 2007; her success has also seen a number of important business and trade campaigns find success as she has successfully crossed party lines to inspire deals to be made for the good of the people of Texas.


The Life, Career, and Success of Anthony G. Petrello


Anthony G. Petrello is popularly known as the Chief Executive Officer as well as the Chairman of Nabors Industries Ltd.

Nabors is one of the biggest oil drilling company in the United States. It is a private help firm, and it operates in Louisiana, Gulf Coast Alaska and Texas. Petrello joined the company in the year 1991 as a board member and the Chief Operating Officer. He served the two positions until 2011 when he was appointed to head the company as well as the Board.

About Petrello

Petrello attended Harvard Law School where he got a Juris Doctor degree, and later he went to the University of Yale to pursue a master in Mathematics. These two degrees have played a prominent role in Petrello’s career. Petrello also serves as the board member of fuelfix.com, MediaOnDemand Inc., Texas Children Hospital, Stewart & Stevenson LLC and Huston Museum of Fine Arts. He is also a member of Nation anal Petroleum Council and Council on Foreign Relations. Petrello’s career has been quite successful, and he chooses to join philanthropy as a way of giving back to the community.


Petrello has involved himself in various charity projects and served as a board member of various charity organizations. These organizations include Texas Children’s Hospital and Pwinkle foundation. The pediatric facility happens to be is one of the largest hospitals in its category in the United States. Pwinkle Foundation deals with cancer patients to help them live a quality life despite living with the pain of cancer. Pwinkle Foundation was founded in the year 1983, and since then, the organization has helped thousands of cancer patients especially children with medicine and medical care. Petrello role in the organization is to bring up ideas that will help in transformation of the services offered by the foundations and help it grow and reach more people in need


Tony Petrello’s career can be termed as successful and fruitful, his appointment to head Nabor’s Industries Ltd was an as result of his excellent performance and leadership while working for the company. He later involved himself in charity as a way of giving back to the community after having a successful career.

Read more about Anthony Petrello at http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/12/nabors-ceo-cfo-take-big-pay-cut.html

Philanthropy Is The Heartbeat Of Dick And Betsy DeVos’s Foundation

Dick and Betsy DeVos are the founders of The Windquest Group, a Grand Rapids based technology investment firm, and local activists who founded the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. This foundation has been responsible for effecting change primarily in Michigan’s education system, but has also been a part of healthcare, environment, and other business reforms at the local level. According to Philanthropy Roundtable, Betsy is a dedicated grassroots believer who has fought for local control of education, and opportunities for underprivileged children to have better quality education. Dick and Betsy have been longtime warriors for the Michigan Republican Party, and for conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Acton Institute.


Dick DeVos was raised in a family that worked hard on a family business, and gave back to the Grand Rapids community as well. His father, Richard DeVos founded Amway, one of the largest direct selling companies in the US, and would later purchase the NBA’s Orlando Magic whom he still owns to this day. Dick DeVos learned the family business very well and started managing various outlets of it at just 19, not long after becoming executive vice president along with his brothers Dan and Doug. He eventually became CEO when his father stepped down in 1993, and through his leadership Amway reached into a many new markets, and grew it’s profits near $5 billion. He retired from Amway in 2002 and became more involved in politics and charity work, along with his wife Betsy.


Dick DeVos wrote the book Rediscovering American Values in 1998, a best-seller that highlighted the importance of charity and moral virtue in addition to pursuing the American dream. He and Betsy helped start the Education Freedom Fund to bring more private and charter school vouchers to lower income families, and finance scholarships for students. They also started a first-of-its-kind aviation charter school that educates high school age young people in aircraft and piloting, as well as mechanics and skills that can be used in the workforce. The DeVos’s also gave a large donation to the Kennedy Center’s art institute, which was shortly renamed in their name.