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Popular Entrepreneurs Among Those Honored as 2014 Outstanding Business Leaders

January 8, 2014

Northwood University will honor Richard DeVos Jr. and David Gilmour as two of eight nationally known business men and women at its 34th Annual Outstanding Business Leader (OBL) Awards Gala at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday, February 1st 7:00 p.m.. Tickets are $375 per person. For high resolution photos, biographies, and individual press releases for all of the honorees, please visit the: Outstanding Business Leader Online Newsroom

As a proud graduate of Northwood University and President of Amway from 1993 to 2002, Dick DeVos held responsibility for all aspects of the company’s operations in 50 countries and six continents. In his final fiscal year of service, Amway reported sales of $4.5 billion.  Prior to assuming the Presidency, he served as Vice President of Amway International where he held responsibility for the company’s operations in 18 countries outside North America. Under his leadership, the company opened new markets and tripled international sales to exceed domestic sales for the first time in the company’s history.  DeVos became President and CEO of the Orlando Magic when his family acquired the team in 1991, a role he held for three years.

Along with leadership in the world of business, DeVos has been a leader in a wide range of community initiatives. Having started the Education Freedom Fund, DeVos, who served on the Michigan State Board of Education, is also Founder and Chairman of the Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan (RAAWM), a private sector initiative dedicated to providing world-class commercial air service in the region. He has led as chair/co-chair various Grand Rapids area downtown revitalization and regional health care improvements including a $75M downtown area, a $212M convention center, a $130M heart hospital, a $90M medical school and a $30M Downtown Market.  He was the Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan in 2006.

With his New York Times best-selling book, “Rediscovering American Values” published in 1997 and available in seven languages, DeVos exemplifies Northwood University ideals by celebrating the principles that make America great and that shape who we are, how we live, and how we treat each other.

David Gilmour

Canadian-born David Gilmour has enjoyed phenomenal success throughout his entrepreneurial career. In 1969, he and longtime partner Peter Munk founded the South Pacific Hotel Corporation (SPHC) which quickly became the largest hotel chain in the region. A decade later, the conglomerate was sold and the partners formed Barrick Gold Corporation, now the most profitable and largest gold-mining firm in the world. The entrepreneurial pair followed this venture by forming a real-estate company called Horsham Corporation, which was to become TrizecHahn, and today is one of the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust companies in North America.

Gilmour is also the founder of FIJI Water LLC, which in 2004 he’d led to become the fastest-growing premium beverage company in the United States and a main contributor to philanthropic endeavors on the island of Fiji. The feat earned the conglomerate and Gilmour, an officer in “The Governor General’s Horseguards” of Canada, the United States Senate Department’s 2004 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) which was presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

It was in 1971 that Gilmour first developed his love for the island of Fiji. While on a trip to review SPHC operations, he discovered the 2,200-acre island of Wakaya, and was so taken with its lush, unspoiled natural beauty, that he purchased it in 1972. In 1990, he and his wife Jill formally shared their paradise with the world as they unveiled The Wakaya Club, their exclusive resort. Designed and decorated by Jill, The Wakaya Club is a four-time winner of “Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report” Grand Hideaway Award. It was for these and other philanthropic Fiji efforts that Gilmour was presented the 1998 “Order of Fiji” from president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Never one to rest on his tropical laurels, Gilmour founded VIV Publishing LLC, in 2007, a media company that introduced an entirely new concept in women’s magazines: a health and lifestyle publication called VIVmag distributed exclusively in digital form. He then expanded his thrust into the world of publishing the same year by acquiring Zinio, the leading digital publishing, retail and distribution platform for magazines and books. Zinio pioneered paperless distribution, and has introduced responsible and innovative digital-marketing practices to the print industry for a variety of distinguished publishers. Since Gilmour’s acquisition, Zinio has introduced a series of ground-breaking new technologies for the global marketplace, rolled out operations across Europe and Latin America, and doubled both its publisher client and consumer bases.

Northwood University annually recognizes a select group of men and women for their business achievements and for their support and exemplary leadership of the communities in which they live and work. These individuals serve as role models for Northwood University students, all of whom are engaged in the study of business management and who aspire to successful careers. In the 34 years since the program’s founding, more than 300 business leaders from more than 30 states and several countries, representing dozens of industries and fields of business expertise, have received the Outstanding Business Leader Award.

On Friday, January, 31st. 1:30-3:00 pm, the day of the gala presentations, Northwood University students will ask questions of the OBL Class of 2014, as well as past honorees, at an afternoon forum held at Northwood University Florida. The forum provides the opportunity for honorees to share anecdotes relating to the obstacles and challenges they encountered while on their personal road to business success, as well as remedies relating to how they overcame them. For additional  information please call (561) 478-5539.

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