Dick DeVos’s Career Story And Activities Behind $139 Million In Charity

Dick DeVos is a member of one of Michigan’s wealthiest families and has been one of Grand Rapids’ most impactful philanthropists. The groups Dick and his wife Betsy have supported include Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan, Mars Hill Bible Church, ArtPrize, Calvin College, Willow Creek Association and Northwood University. Dick and Betsy have usually avoided the question of just how much they’ve given to these groups, but when the moment of truth arrived during Betsy’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education last month, it became known that they gave $139 million in total lifetime charities, most of which excludes political contributions. It’s not been unusual for a member of the DeVos family to open their wallet to social causes as the family’s giving as whole is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

 

Dick DeVos is the co-Chairman of The Windquest Group, a company that owns several Michigan-based energy, technology, home improvement, food service and venture capital businesses. He recently had Phil Dolci appointed to lead The Windquest Group’s Stowe Company and also bought Coppercraft Spirits. Dick originally worked for Amway Corporation, a multilevel marketing company his family owns that sells all their products through independent business owners and allows them to make commission income. Dick started at the company after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Northwood University and served as vice president from 1984 to 1989, and then rejoined as CEO from 1993 to 2002. During those years he oversaw the expansion of company distributions into new markets overseas.

 

Most of Dick and Betsy’s well-known philanthropic activities began in the early 90s when they started the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation. Their main concern was education and they started the Education Freedom Fund and Children First America to supply scholarships to underprivileged students and their families. But they also took an interest in charter schools and started the Great Lakes Education Project in 2003 and later raised the funds to open a special charter school with an advanced aviation and technology curriculum known as the West Michigan Aviation Academy. They also started a scholarship program for graduate college students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

 

Dick DeVos was a key figure in bringing commerce and tourist attractions into downtown Grand Rapids while he served as Chairman of Grand Action Committee. He and Betsy also got involved with organizations such as Heritage Foundation and Action Institute and Betsy even chaired the Michigan Republican Party for a short time. Dick DeVos decided to become further involved in politics in 2006 when he felt it was time to change the direction that current lawmakers and then Governor Granholm were taking the state, so he ran in the gubernatorial election that year but came up short. He did later become an influential figure in the passing of the 2012 right-to-work bill. Dick DeVos also contributed to a pollution study project at Lake Macatawa.

 

Mike Baur Helps to Jumpstart Fintech Companies With His Accelerator program

Mike Baur is leading the way in digital technology by supporting young entrepreneurs and their Fintech startups. Baur founded the Swiss Startup Factory in 2014 as a way to work hand-in-hand with the most brilliant Fintech developers and invest in the market by supporting their startup companies with their accelerator program. Digital product entrepreneurs are invited to present their developments during the pre-selection process in order to receive consideration for their startup Accelerator Program and become apart of the Swiss Startup Factory corporation umbrella. The purpose of program is to carefully select the digital technologies while they are in the startup phase and launch them into a chain of highly respected and successful digital corporations.

As a former Clariden and Sallfort banker, Baur serves as the Founding Partner of the Startup Factory while performing as the appointed Deputy Managing Director of CTI Invest, one of the Factories’ partnering corporations. CTI Invest is a leader in innovative startup financing and will therefore compliment The Swiss Startup Factory’s mission. The two companies will join forces to organize events, collaborate on their internet presence and train the entrepreneurs behind the startups that, if selected, will be organized within the startup factory corporation business structure.

One of the events that the Swiss startup factory hosts is called the Startup Accelerator program. This three month long event provides invaluable service, coaching, mentorship, financing and product evaluation to the thriving entrepreneurs. Through collaborative partnerships, the factory serves as an well-rounded entrepreneurial network that startups can utilize in order to propel their digital development endeavors. The Factory even provides office space that the chosen entrepreneurs can utilize during their development while the Factory exhibits their talents to potential investors.

Mike Baur is not only one of the partnering founders of the Corporation, he also serves as an investor panel speaker for the WorldWebForum Next Generation Semester Closing. Through is speeches, Baur educates startup founders on the ins and outs of the Fintech industry while motivating them to challenge their own creatively in order to fulfill their concepts. Baur is skilled at identifying innovative concepts and molding them as they are guided through the rigorous establishment process and helping them to navigate the obstacles that hinder most of their competitors. He has worked diligently to invest in and advise owners of startup and has succeeded in launching several successful startups such as Strucked, Blinkers, Carhelper and Beaconsmind. Without Baurs’ leadership, partnerships and internal knowledge of the startup business sector, these and other companies would not have realized the accomplishments they have

Squaw Valley Chief Executive Andy Wirth Is The Epitome Of An Ironman On A Mission

When the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Andy Wirth, went skydiving one Friday morning, he thought it would be another great day feeling the rush of air around him as he made his way to the ground. But that particular Friday was different. The conditions on that October Friday were less than ideal, and Wirth had to maneuver and land in a vineyard. When he landed, a pole that was holding up one of the grape vines cut through Wirth’s arm.

He had to deal with that traumatic experience all alone. Fortunately, Wirth knew what to do thanks to his training as a backcountry ranger for the Rocky Mountain National Park years ago. Wirth stayed calm, stopped the bleeding, and waited for help. Help came, and Wirth’s arm was saved.

Andy Wirth is the kind of guy that can handle situations like that one. He has the knowledge and the experience to oversee one of the top ski resorts in the world, and he does while he is training for some Ironman competition or training to run a marathon. Wirth is the epitome of an Ironman and a well-trained athlete, but he happens to be one of the most influential executives in the ski resort business.

As President of Squaw Valley Ski Resorts, Andy Wirth is called upon to make decisions that impact not just his ski resort, but all the ski resorts in the area. That is one of the reasons Wirth was named the board Chair of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.

The Chair of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board of Trustees is dedicated to bringing more airline service into the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Andy has served on the board for a couple of years, but he was recently named the Chairman.

It’s hard not to go to Lake Tahoe and not see the impact that Wirth has made in that community over the last six years. Andy is involved with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. Wirth is also a member of the Truckee River Watershed Council, and the McConkey Foundation. Andy Wirth is known around the ski industry as a man that will accomplish anything he can for the ski and resort industry as well as for the Lake Tahoe community.

When people think of skiing in Northern California, they think of Squaw Valley first, and Andy Wirth is one of the reasons they think that way.

Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://www.cbs.com/shows/undercover_boss/photos/1000242/season-4-episode-11-sqauw-valley/

Securus Technologies Says Fraud By Global Tel Link Inexcusable

Global Tel Link (GTL), one Louisiana’s largest provider of inmate communications, is in hot water. Apparently, in its last nearly two decades of contracting with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, GTL has bilked customers to the tune of nearly $3 million.

The fraud, abuse and lack of integrity of GTL was called to attention by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC). After discovering the abuses, Dallas based Securus Technologies — also, one of the largest providers of inmate telecommunications — decided to release a series of reports outlining the abuses. “We were shocked to find out the extent of the fraud and how long its been going on,” said Securus Technology CEO Rick Smith.

Smith says Securus will release a series of articles over the next few weeks in an attempt to shame GTL into doing right. GTL’s behavior was not only wrong but fully intentional, according to a LPSC official.

Smith went on to say that it doesn’t matter how long ago it happened. He used Bernie Madoff as an example, citing “I don’t care if he defrauded people 50 years ago, I still wouldn’t want to do business with him now.

The infractions committed by GTL are extremely severe. Common practices include over-billing clients by fraudulently padding call time, double billing of calls, interfering with clocks to artificially increase time and ignoring FCC regulated caps in order to charge more money per minute. Louisiana taxpayers were billed over $2 million for the fraud.

Prison insiders say this is one of the worse cases of fraud they have ever witnessed. “It makes the entire telecommunications industry look bad,” said Smith.

GTL did not respond to requests for a interview.

Coriant Appoints Technology Expert Shaygan Kheradpir

A few months ago, Coriant announced its new CEO and Chairperson of the Board, Shaygan Kheradpir. He was appointed to this position after working closely with executive team since the beginning of 2015. Shaygan was working at Marlin Equity Partners serving the role of Operating Partner. He is mandated to drive the company’s growth strategy as well as strengthening service delivery to its clients. Shaygan succeeded the former President Pat DiPietro, who will become the Vice Chairman of the company. Additionally, DiPietro will assume his earlier role of Operating Partner at Marlin.

Shaygan Kheradpir is a proven expert in the technology industry, with extensive experience in business and executive. His expertise and leadership skills will be critical for Coriant as demand for technological services has created new market opportunities. According to Shaygan, he was attracted to Coriant because of its extensive portfolio of solutions in data networking, global reach, leading innovations in technology and the growing client base of tier one network operators.

The outgoing President of Coriant, Mr. DiPietro, said it is a great honor to work with Shaygan because he is recognized across the industry for his caliber. Shaygan’s strategic analysis and his ability to execute of ideas are going to drive Coriant’s growth to the next level.

About Shaygan Kheradpir

Shaygan is a business executive and a technological specialist who has worked in this industry for more than 28 years. He has worked in various sectors like telecom, financial and technology. He started working at GTE Corporation, but was eventually appointed CIO at Verizon after GTE and Bell Atlantic merged. He was one of the executives at Verizon, where he innovated and developed many products like FiOS, a leading infrastructure program in the United State.

Shaygan’s next appointment was at Barclays, where he was responsible of developing TRANSFORM program, which was supposed to equip the bank in preparation of the 21st century. This program was implemented in 50 countries, and 150,000 staffs. After he left Barclays, he joined Juniper Networks as the Chief Executive Officer, where he created a strategic plan for the expansion and growth of its market. Info on http://www.fiercetelecom.com/press-releases/veteran-executive-shaygan-kheradpir-brings-deep-industry-experience-and-exp.

Shaygan Kheradpir: Coriant’s New C.E.O.

Coriant, which is an innovative networking solutions supplier with a proven record of supplying network operators that are the leading in countries that are over 100, has appointed Shaygan Kheradpir as its C.E.O. and Chairman of the Board. He had previously worked with the company’s senior management from early this year. He had been an Operating Partner at the Marlin Equity Partners. He is expected to leverage his involvement with the company’s operations and strategic planning. He assumes his new position with an aim of driving the company’s growth strategy as well as strengthen its focus on the solutions that do matter most to Coriant’s customers in the present competitive and highly dynamic end-user markets. He is to succeed Pat DiPietro, President and CEO, who is expected to transition to the post of the Vice Chairman and Operating Partner at Marlin.

Shaygan Kheradpir

He is a leader with a proven record as well as an extensive business, operational and industry experience. His expertise and leadership will play an important role for Coriant as the demand for the end-user applications that are data-intensive which are driving the expanding market opportunities. This includes the 100G to the multi-terabit coherent metro as well as long haul transport deployments, cloud infrastructure build-outs, hyper-scale data center and mobile backhaul upgrades with the evolvement to 4G and 5G. Shaygan is a technology and business leader, who is recognized with an executive experience that runs for 28 years in the industries of technology, financial and telecom.

He started off his career with a stint at GTE Corporation, he was later appointed as Verizon’s EVP, member of the executive leadership team dealing with system modernizations, innovation,efficiency and pioneer product initiatives. This included FiOS which forms an infrastructure program in the U.S. that is one of the largest infrastructure programs with over $20 billion capital investment. He then joined Barclays as a Chief Operations and Technology Officer as well as served as a bank executive Committee member. During his time at Barclays he was in a leadership position when the company initiated the TRANSFORM program. After this role he was appointed CEO, Jupiter Networks where he was involved in developing an Integrated Operating Plan for it and executed strategic growth markets for High IQ Networking and Cloud Builder. He holds a Ph.D., Masters and a bachelor in Engineering, Cornell University. Learn more about this appointment here.