Rick DeVos Visits O’More College of Design

Rick DeVos

I met with Rick DeVos this past week when he visited O’More College of Design. DeVos is not what you would expect for someone who has half of a city with his family’s name on prominent places in his hometown of  Grand Rapids,Michigan. Dressed in jeans with a white shirt and tennis shoes you would never guess that Devos’s grandfather was the founder of Amway. But the only mention of his family was when we were talking about aviation. His father,Dick Devos started an aviation high school called West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids.

What brought Devos to Franklin? He is now one of the latest members to join the O’More College of Design board. David Rosen,President of O’More College of Design and Devos met during Rosen’s time at Kendall College in Grand Rapids.  The two forged a friendship based off the desire to further mission of arts collaboration with Kendall College.

“I hated to see him(Rosen) leave Kendall College,O’More is very lucky to have him here,” said Devos. So when Rosen made the call to visit Franklin and become a part of the O’More College of Design board,Devos quickly said yes to a great opportunity and a great guy. “As a board member I hope to give insight and ideas in terms of what I’ve learned about entrepreneurnal ventures and how to fuse some of that thinking into the school. How can you equip the students to be more effective as business people.”

DeVos has started two companies:Art Prize which is an art competition in Grand Rapids where art is in the eye of the beholder and open to all who create art. A winner is chosen by public vote and  expert jury each with a prize of 500,00 taking place each fall.

Along with Art Prize Devos formed Start Garden – venture capital group. With Start Garden, he seeks out new companies and will in a shark tank type of way decide which companies will receive seed money of 5,000. “It’s really a way to see what they can do with the money,said Devos. “Five thousand dollars is not a lot of money when you are starting a company but you have to know where to start and how to start small when beginning a business.”

From there they evaluate the companies to see where they are and examine the possibility of  further investments. We asked about one of the most interesting start-ups. Reindeer Camp which is a reindeer cam offering live streaming of two college students where they feed and take care of the reindeer to prepare them for their big event.  Similar to Santa tracker as they prepare the reindeer for their big night on Christmas.

Visiting Franklin for the first time,DeVos got an injection as to what makes O’More College of Design so impressive with the opening of the O’More Show House,O’More Fashion Show and a sampling of downtown Franklin with visits to Cork and Cow and Gray’s on Main. DeVos says he is very impressed with the talent of the students and the natural beauty of Franklin.

As the O’More students graduated this past weekend,we asked DeVos if he had any advice to pass along.

“Sometimes people get caught up in the big vision and its good to have that big vision but its also  good to be able to break that down in what’s the next small steps you can take to get there-what’s the next small take you take toward your bigger vision.  That act will often make your course correct to where you need to be and help you  learn how to take  calculated risks.”

Thanks so much to Rick DeVos for taking time out to speak with us. You can learn more about Art Prize and Start Garden on their website.  To learn more about O’More College of Design,visit their website.

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