www.mybaycity.com April 17, 2007
Rotary Article 1572

Dick DeVos Addresses Rotarians

Recent Republican Candidate for Governor Talks About Michigan

April 17, 2007
By: Stephen Kent

Visit RotaryBayCity.org, web site of the Rotary Club of Bay City, Michigan


  • Bring a friend to Rotary. For prospective new members we have a supply of the "Rotary Basics" brochures that explain the organization very well.

  • The Golf Outing planning is well under way for the June 4 event. Visit www.RotaryBayCity.org for full information and an e-mail link to the Golf committee chair. This is the club's SECOND LARGEST fund raiser after International Night.

  • The Pinconning Club meets every Thursday at noon - Third Street Deli.


    • The Pere Marquette Depot work is under way. The Club has been invoiced for the first installment of $50,000 pledged to the project.

    • The District GSE Team to West Africa has posted pictures and a progress report on their blog. Check www.RotaryBayCity.org for team itinerary and the link to the team's blog.

    • International Night planning is well under way. This is the club's largest fund raiser. Helpers are always needed and welcome. Contact sub-committee chairs:
      • Larry LaPorte - tickets
      • Brad Kessel - sponsorships
      • Linda Heemstra - greeters
      • Mike Stoner - bar tenders
      • Barb Fisher - decorations, food and setup.

      Upcoming Programs (See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org)

    • April 24 Golf pros from the Saginaw Golf Center ABC12 Anchor Terry Camp

    • May 8 ABC12 Anchor Terry Camp's behind the scenes look at the Great Lakes Loons.

      Last Weeks program - April 17, 2007: Dick DeVos Speaks to Club

      Recent Republican candidate for Michigan Governor, Dick DeVos, spoke to the club about current events in Michigan and his vision for the future.

      Devos grew up in Michigan and now lives in Ada with his wife and four children. He began his career in 1974 working for the family business, Amway. By 1984 he was a Vice President with responsibilities for operations in 18 countries. In 1989, DeVos left Amway to start The Windquest Group. He acquired the NBA's Orlando Magic basketball franchise in 1991 where he was president and CEO. In 2000, DeVos became President of Alticor, the new parent company of predecessor Amway. In 2005 he announced his candidacy for governor of Michigan and ran against incumbent Jennifer Granholm.

      DeVos described himself as a "Michigan guy". He grew up in Grand Rapids. His objective in running for Governor was to use his skills and experience to make a difference in the state. He said that the usual first question he's asked is if he'll run again. "I haven't decided yet, but I'm willing if it seems right when the time comes."

      Commenting on what he learned in the campaign he said that, first, "The media occasionally gets it wrong". Secondly, "it's hard to be a gentleman when debating a woman." He said that fear is easier to sell than the truth and that trade and profits are too often treated as dirty words.

      DeVos also said that the campaign impressed on him just how big a state Michigan is. There are 83 counties and he traveled to all of them.

      DeVos said that his task now is to talk about ideas and to give one citizen's opinion of where the state should and can go. He said the election is behind us and it's time to put Michigan first.

      It's essential to look the future. One can't look in the rear view mirror all the time. The state must think of it's young people and create an environment which keeps them here.

      Noting that good people can come up with bad ideas, DeVos said that he's afraid some bad ideas are coming around again. He cited the success of Vermont where Howard Dean lead the change in insurance laws which have made that state the insurance business capital of the country. It was a good idea that worked.

      DeVos said the way forward is to do things differently, not to do more of the same. There are no silver bullets for Michigan's recovery. Leaders must turn over every stone to come up with new ideas.

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