Posted in Education

The National Dick DeVos Brand: Self-Engineered Agent of Change

Dick DeVos, husband of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and former president of Amway Products, is known in the circles he travels as a man who strong-arms his way into just about everything from airports and arenas to worker’s rights and Washington, DC.


At one time, plans for a sports and convention arena north of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, was intercepted by Dick DeVos. He lobbied to stop the development because he deemed it ‘detrimental’ to the city. However, the replacement plans were DeVos’ own multi-purpose sports and convention arena, complete with his family’s name brand as the star attraction.


When DeVos is determined to take credit, he doesn’t do much by way of asking, and much more in the line of telling. Along with the arena and convention center also came a performance hall, a city market, and Michigan State’s medical school. If it has to do with education and labor, the DeVos brand name is somewhere close by.


When it comes to education, the DeVos’s are determined that more disadvantaged children have access to educational opportunities through school choice voucher programs.


Outside of Dick DeVos’ dreams and philosophies, rejection and loss seem to underscore his intentions no matter how well-meaning, but inside his own self-made world, the DeVos family name simply refuses to give up.


As the tug of war between school choice and traditional public school systems rages on, DeVos’ doesn’t hesitate to make his own brainchild, a love of education and aviation, a trademark for opportunism. The West Michigan Aviation Academy, a private charter school operating on public funds, also receives a large portion of its funding directly from the DeVos family.


Though DeVos is said to keep his personal politics out of school matters, he did decide not to call the parent association group a PTA and he did decide on the types and colors of clothing for male members of the Academy.


It seems a matter of opinion as to what, exactly, “school choice” is when the private lottery and vouchering systems are so limited, or limited to what the DeVos’ family thinks education should look like.


Dick DeVos, who tends to craft himself as a textbook case ‘change agent’, is going to need more than a few model charter schools to convince his political opposition that his personal interests are in alignment with the taxpayers who are footing the bill for public education.


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Posted in Music Entertainment, People, Youtube Celebrities

Alex Pall on Staying Current and Staying True To His Values

The Chainsmokers started, out of all possible starts, by Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart quitting their jobs. It only took four years for the duo to become a breakout band, and they are now very successful. The key to their success? To never make the same song, and to throw themselves into their work in a way that most mainstream DJs don’t.

Alex Pall sings on their recent song “Closer”, as part of a duet with alternative artist Halsey. Pall was ecstatic to work with Halsey on this song, as Halsey is unapologetically herself, similar to Pall and the Chainsmokers. In singing on “Closer” as well as producing it and co-writing it, Pall broke the formula wherein singers and producers don’t have much of an attachment to their own music beyond providing the vocals.

“Closer” is thematically about a hookup with an ex-girlfriend where the singer realizes that they know everything about the person and that it doesn’t seem like the hookup will work out very well. The thing about this song, as well as other songs that have been written and produced by the Chainsmokers, is that while it’s universal, it’s unique. The Chainsmokers refuse to limit themselves to just one genre and refuse to stick themselves in boxes.

When describing his job as an artist, Pall says that it’s ultimately a journey of self-discovery – especially in the way that he has formatted his career. Pall and Taggart have always observed what is going on around them, and work to stay true to their values while staying current and updating their music with modern culture in mind. Pall describes his journey as a musical artist as shaping his own identity and says that he wants his listeners to relate to his music on a deeper level.

Pall hopes to continue capturing the attention of his listeners, who mostly come from the 16 to 25-year-old demographic and are all over the world, including the Philippines and South Africa. They ensure to make their music captivating to everyone, including kids and those over thirty. And if they keep on going like they currently are, they’ll have no problem.

Posted in Music Entertainment, People

Clayton Hutson: Face the Music

Music on its own is an art. The heart and soul of the artist. Their dreams and fantasies. All packed in three minutes of melody. However, it takes much more than soul to package and deliver this music to the masses. It takes a lot of late nights, early mornings and commitment. Clayton Hutson is a captain of industry. He has built a stellar reputation for aesthetic perfection. His expertise and skill, amassed over years of working in different capacities, are unmatched.


He attributes his success to hard work and grit. He gives his whole self to his craft and encourages his artists to do the same. This family-oriented individual is appreciative of enthusiasm and political correctness. However, he would toss those out for politically incorrect pure talent. The sound engineer believes in the importance of family and prefers to glide over the small stuff, to let nature take its course.


Clayton is a well-informed man. According to him, technological advancements have done a lot for the music industry. Long gone are the days when all a concert had to offer were big screens with projected images. Lights are lighter and more portable now. Technology has provided a world of options. He goes a step further and lays his ideas out on CAD design. This way he is able to tell if it should be tweaked or tossed. It is ingenious ideas that have elevated him over the years from a mere production manager at Getagrip Touring Inc. to the formidable man he is today.


An excellent entrepreneur has been in the industry for more than two decades. During this time, he has worked with touring outfits. From these stints, he gained experience and a network of professionals. He has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BFA in Theatre Design from Central Michigan University. Clayton Hutson is a believer in the power of attitude. He strives to keep the right attitude at all times. It is this quality that has him arriving first at concert venues to do a thorough audit of all aspects. He seems to have reached the peak of his career but Clayton Hutson is not slowing down anytime soon. Learn more: