Dick Devos

For a number of years, the Devos family has been giving to charity and education in Michigan. The family has been political before at the state level, but now as Betsy Devos becomes the 11th US Education Secretary, she has finally crossed over into politics. Her husband Dick Devos has followed suit. However, his aspirations have always been political. Although he was unsuccessful in his governor run for Michigan in 2006, he has pursued a career in politics alongside his wife.


Now, he will finally get the chance to work in Washington. As of September 2017, he has joined the Management Advisory Council for the Federal Aviation Administration. Many do not realize this but Devos has a long history in aviation and has been helping the local airport in his hometown of Grand Rapids for over two decades. Devos received praise from the CEO of Southwest and CEO of Gerald R. Ford International Airport for the nomination.


The nomination comes after the FAA had created the council as an advisory board for upcoming policies and regulation changes. President Trump had challenged the agency during his presidential run by stating that airports in other markets were far more advanced than America’s own aviation industry.


The FAA has been announcing policy changes throughout 2018. It has also announced changes to technology in certain areas, such as the announcement for the $40.9 million new tower at GSO. However, the council has been advising the FAA on a variety of new growth ideas, which is where Devos plays a major role.


After all, it was Devos who helped turn around a failing airport in his hometown. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport received a $45 million renovation fund after many years of help from Devos. The former CEO of Amway went the extra mile to help out his colleague and friend the CEO of the airport after the re-launch in 1999 of the airport proved to have no effect on ticket sales.


Devos saw that there were greater opportunities for the airport following a phone call to AirTran Airways in 2001. He talked to the CEO about adding more destinations. He specifically saw opportunities for areas that business travelers frequented, such as Orlando, Vegas, St. Louis, and Denver. The AirTran Airways CEO also saw that opportunity and eventually opened up these flights. Now the Gerald R. Ford International Airport had some real destinations, which immediately resulted in an increase in ticket sales.


For over a decade, Devos has been working with the CEO of the airport, contributing where he can to help with expansions. He talked to the CEO of Southwest when the company bought out AirTran Airways in order to persuade him to not take away any of the new terminals. That proved to be lucrative as well. Southwest eventually expanded much more at the airport and even contributed to the $45 million renovation to be completed in 2018.


The expanded airport would have an exclusive business traveler’s center, as well as an upgraded food court and new technology throughout the airport. This was the type of progress that got you nominated to the FAA’s Management Advisory Council. The council is comprised of 13 members from business, transportation authority, and airline executive backgrounds. The nomination was praised by the CEOs of several companies, including the CEO of Southwest.


Now that Devos has been working with the FAA for about a year, he has had some time on Capitol Hill. He joins his wife, the 11th US Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, who has been working in Washington since her appointment in 2016. She has taken on education reform, a cause which is also close to Dick Devos’ heart. It’s the reason why he co-founded the pilot training school West Michigan Aviation Academy in his hometown of Grand Rapids.


Devos will continue to meet with the council for another two years. The council meets once every quarter.


Visit http://www.dbdvfoundation.org/about to learn more.

Banking Industry, Entrepreneurs

Luiz Carlos Trabuco Wins 2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year Award

Luiz Carlos Trabuco has come a long ways. From a starry-eyed kid looking for his first job in the banking world to one of the most powerful CEOs in Latin America, Trabuco has risen from the corporate world’s basement to its executive suite.

This remarkable career was given a fitting capstone in 2015, when Trabuco won the Isto E Dinheiro Entrepreneur of the Year Award, recognizing his achievement in completing the acquisition of HSBC Brazil.

But despite his many accomplishments, Trabuco’s reign as head of the largest bank in Brazil has not been without detractors. Between 2009 and 2015, Bradesco, the bank that Trabuco had been with for over 40 years, had seen a nearly halving of its market cap. Trabuco, at first, had little success in carrying out his goals of creating organic growth within the firm. By 2013, many shareholders were calling for his resignation amid a rapidly falling stock price, shrinking market share and the perceived mistake of allowing chief rival Unibanco to merge with Itau, knocking Bradesco back to a distant second-place in the rankings of Brazilian banks.

However, Trabuco was determined not to give up. He kept his head down and continued looking for growth opportunities. After six years of brutally underwhelming performance, both in the firm’s stock price and in its businesses, Trabuco finally saw his golden opportunity. In early 2015, he got wind that HSBC was looking to get rid of its Brazilian assets. The global banking behemoth had been struggling in the super-competitive Brazilian market, and it was leaking cash as it continually had to support these money-losing operations with manpower, operating capital and the valuable time of its executive staff. HSBC wanted out of Brazil.

Trabuco Bradesco quickly moved to draft an acquisition agreement. He found that HSBC was a seriously motivated seller, and the negotiations proceeded quickly and with little friction. By mid-summer of 2015, Trabuco had ironed out an agreement, whereby Bradesco would acquire all of HSBC Brazil’s assets for $5.2 billion in cash. By the fall, the deal had closed, marking the largest transaction in the history of Brazil.

This deal would turn out to be a tremendous coup for Bradesco and Trabuco personally. In one stroke of the pen, he had instantly propelled Bradesco back to the number-one spot among Brazilian banks. This had a number of important strategic implications. Bradesco could now use its huge economies of scale in the retail banking sector to undercut its chief rival, Itau Unibanco, potentially driving them out of many of Bradesco’s markets or significantly stealing business away from them.

The deal also boosted Bradesco’s assets to more than $400 billion, allowing them far more options in both lending and making future acquisitions. Bradesco quickly capitalized on its newfound position of strength, running aggressive marketing campaigns and slashing prices and fees on a number of its banking products. The strategy, so far, is paying off handsomely. Since 2015, the company’s stock price has more than doubled. The bank has also started picking up its pace of true, organic growth for the first time in nearly a decade. Things are looking very much up for Trabuco and his financial empire.

In fact, some industry observers speculate that Trabuco’s real goal is to turn Bradesco into a hard monopoly on Brazilian banking. Everything he has done so far seems to indicate this may be his intention, from pursuing massive growth to very deliberately competing on cost alone across a number of products, using his bank’s sheer size to undercut rivals.

There’s no question that Trabuco and Bradesco will be a story to watch closely, for some time into the future.

Read more on Bloomberg.com

Entrepreneurs, real estate developer

Jason Halpern Has Announced Topping off of The Aloft South Beach

Jason Halpern is Principal, JMH Development. He has announced this topping off. This will be at the Aloft South Beach. It will be a 235-room hotel. This is scheduled to open in 2015. It will be based in the heart of Miami Beach.

Jason Halpern: Real Estate Entrepreneur

Jason Halpern has claimed that this project will be developed by JMH Development and Madden Real Estate Ventures. It will be making use of the historic Motel Ankara in an adaptive way. It will include a new eight-story tower too. Its construction will be handled by the Plaza Construction. The architect of the project is ADD, Inc.

After 2009, Aloft South Beach will become the first hotel that is newly constructed and opened in South Beach. It will be offering significantly much larger rooms. These will be averaging more than 360 square feet. This will be a huge difference as compared to its competitors.

Jason Halpern with Crunchbase Production

Jason Halpern already has a track record of being involved in restoring of historic structures. This is why topping off this building will be marking a major milestone. It will also indicate the beginning of another phase as the opening of the Aloft South Beach progresses.

This will offer a waterfront location that is quite premium since it offers access to Lake Pancoast as well as the Collins Canal, as these wrap around the property. This is located just a block away from the shores of Miami Beach. It will be located right in the heart of South Beach. This is just a few minutes away from the Miami Beach Convention Center. It will be quite close to several art galleries, as well as the Bass Museum of Art, numerous night clubs, restaurants boutiques, and marketplaces and so on.

Daniel de la Vega, Aviv Siso, Laura Garcia, Louis Buckworth, Thomas Juul Hansen and Jason Halpern

Jason Halpern also disclosed that the facilities here would include an outdoor pool, besides a roof deck lounge, along with a 24-hour fitness center besides 2,349 square feet of flexible meeting space that can hold business meetings as well as social gatherings. The hotel will be offering free access to local emerging artists and some of the hottest bands at the W XYZ® bars.


Highland Capital Management, L.P., Through James Dondero, Makes Grants towards Supporting the Legacy Campaign

Highland Capital Management, L.P., through its president Mr. James Dondero, pledged $1 million as a challenge grant towards supporting The Family Place. The pledge was made during The Family Place’s 21st Annual Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon in October last year. Highland Capital made the grant as a way of supporting The Family Place’s Legacy Campaign that sought to raise $2.8 million towards helping people affected by family violence within Dallas, Texas. James Dondero was one of the speakers at the event that went down at Hilton Anatole, a leading hotel in Dallas.


The Legacy Campaign


Highland Capital’s philanthropic donations are channeled through Highland Dallas Foundation, Inc. and the grant to the Legacy Campaign was no different. The foundation’s input into the campaign went a long way in reducing the deficit to The Family Place’s $16.5 million target. According to James Dondero, the campaign was of paramount importance, especially because family violence threatens lives of many people in Dallas.


The Legacy Campaign received support from all quarters. Some administrators in Dallas, such as Mayor Mike Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown mobilized all stakeholders in the region to support the campaign. The campaign also received a good reception, with the Dallas civic community joining hands to ensure that it ended on a high note. James Dondero was impressed by this gesture, saying that Highland Capital was proud to be associated with such a philanthropic society.


Pulling such a successful campaign within a year was not an easy task, something that James Dondero commended The Family Place for doing. His words were echoed by The Family Place’s CEO, Paige Flink, who added that the campaign was a good opportunity for the Dallas community to make an impact on other people’s lives.



More about James Dondero


James Dondero is a  legend in equity markets. He was one of the two founders of Highland Capital Inc. in 1993, and he has since served as its president. Besides that, he is also chairman of CCS Medical, Nexbank, and Cornerstone Healthcare. James also sits on the boards of MGM Studios and American Banknote.


James Dondero did his business degree at the University of Virginia. Prior to founding Highland Capital, he worked with organizations, such as American Express, Morgan Guaranty, and Protective Life.




Entrepreneurs, Philanthropist

The Role of Marc Sparks Timber Creek, LP


The role of business incubators is to ensure that startups get through the beginning; it is always the hardest. It is estimated that more than half of all the young businesses nose-dive due to lack of guidance and mentorship.

If every business got an incubator, then the number of the successful startups would rise. Marc Sparks is the founder of Timber Creek Capital a company that specializes in incubating startups and ensuring that they are successful.

Reason to why Incubation is Important

  • While business is under incubation stage, it saves lots of finances due to sharing of the facilities and other expenses. There are lower chances of making stupid mistakes that may lead to loss, and this keeps startups lots of money making them more likely to succeed and become a fully-fledged business.
  • Most of the startups have no prior knowledge in management. Incubators provide these startups with the administration tips since they are experienced and manage these firms in the early stages to avoid having them collapse due to management issues. Hiring a qualified manager can be expensive for a startup and by having incubators they can save the money for growth and expansion of the business.
  • Start-ups that go through the incubation, they make networks since most incubators handle various startup businesses at a time. Entrepreneurs get a chance to mingle and share ideas while they create networks which they can use in the future.
  • Also, incubation affects the economy of a country. The more the successful startups, the more the economy improves, and this affects the development of a country in terms of infrastructure and others public amenities.

About Marc Sparks

Marc is the founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Timber Creek, LP. He has been involved in some business before he founded Timber Creek and this has exposed him to business. Marc Sparks is also an author of a popular business book titled ‘They cannot eat you.‘ Marc focuses on helping budding entrepreneurs to achieve success by providing them with incubation group through Timber Creek, LP.

Other than just business, Marc Sparks is also a philanthropist. He has collaborated with some non-profit organization to help people get better and affordable houses. Marc also has his non-profit organization which focuses on providing kids with laptop computers.

About Timber Creek, LP

Timber Creek LP is one of the companies that budding entrepreneurs look after. The company provides these entrepreneurs with incubation services helping their business go through the startup stage where most people go wrong and end up with a failed business.

The company has helped several successful businesses and still it working to reach out more entrepreneurs and help them achieve their dreams.