Category Archives: NBA

Dick DeVos’ Stow Company Hires New CEO

I read that Frank Newman retired as CEO of The Stow Company, although he remains a board of advisors member for the company. The company is owned by Dick and Betsy DeVos, and Dick has already appointed a new CEO: Phil Dolci. The company is a subsidiary of Amway’s holding company, The Windquest Group, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dolci has excelled as a business leader for more than 23 years in marketing and product manufacturing. He was CEO at Crosman Corp before this, a world class design, manufacturing, and distribution company that produces products for shooting sports. So, in my opinion, Newman is certainly quite qualified to lead the company.

Dick DeVos remains the Chairman of the Board at The Stow Company. He made a statement in which he praised Phil Dolci as being the exactly right person to drive the company’s presence and future growth in the home organization products sector. He also thanked Frank Newman for his years of good leadership. Dolci has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He first obtained his BA in economics at the University of Chicago. He has worked in executive positions in several other companies, including Sanford – a Newell Rubbermaid company, Kraft Foods, Dean Food, and U.S. Playing Cards – a Jarden Corporation company.

Amway was founded by Dick DeVos’ father, Richard DeVos, Sr., in 1959. This is where Dick DeVos, Jr., got his entrepreneurial chops and also his first model of a philanthropist in action. He was the CEO of Amway and headed the operations of the consumer products company starting in 1993 and continuing up until 2002. He ran for the office of Governor of Michigan in 2006. He attended the renowned Harvard Business School, from Northwood University he earned his degree in Business Administration, and he holds a number of honorary doctorates. He graduated from Forest Hills public school and has always been very involved, along with his wife, in education initiatives. He also completed the Executive Study Programs at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is one of the wealthier American businessmen with a net worth of $5 billion.

Both Dick and his wife Betsy have promoted many education causes, especially in the area of education reform. The couple’s philanthropy continues a DeVos family tradition of giving generously to schools, such as Michigan’s Christian school, the Potter’s House. They also have donated to a Grand Rapids aviation trade school, called the West Michigan Aviation Academy. Their Education Freedom Fund gifts low-income students with tuition scholarships to private schools. Read the Dick DeVos Wikipedia Page.

The Atlanta Hawks Are Soaring

For almost a decade the Atlanta Hawks have lived in complete mediocrity. It was following their acquisition of Joe Johnson that things finally started to turn around. In 2002 Bruce Levenson acquired the team and by 2007, with the acquisition of Al Horford alongside Joe Johnson, the squad started to seriously turn things around. In 2014 we saw Atlanta win 60 games and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 50 years. Now Levenson has opted to sell his ownership in the team in order to move on to other ventures, leaving Atlanta in a rather precarious situation.

The No Superstar Build
The NBA is often built around the idea that superstars rule the league. If you don’t have a superstar, according to this theory, you cannot be a legitimate contender. Last season the Hawks won 60 games despite the fact that no player scored even 17ppg on the team. Paul Millsap led the squad with a 16.7ppg average. However Atlanta’s entire starting five averaged double figures with Dennis Schroder coming off the bench for an additional 10. The team rode their well rounded line up farther than anybody could have guessed and now, after making it to the ECF, fans are wondering if Atlanta can repeat.

The biggest question Hawk fans are asking, in the wake of Levenson’s departure, is how will Atlanta hold up for another year with high expectations. The Hawks historically haven’t held on to long term success and they’ve struggled at times to progress in a logical manner. Losing Demarre Carroll and Mike Scott this past offseason, one to free agency and the other to drug issues, is likely going to shake things up enough to cause issues. Not only is their line up going to be different but the rest of the squads around them have gotten much better.

Take, for instance, the Miami Heat. Last season Miami was a bottom feeder thanks to LeBron’s departure and injury issues to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. This past offseason the Heat resigned Wade, resigned Goran Dragic, and acquired both Amare Stoudemire and Gerald Green. This team, if healthy, could seriously contend in the Southeast. Then look at Washington. Washington acquired Jared Dudley, Gary Neal, and Ramon Sessions to round out their bench. Another year of evolution for John Wall and Bradley Beal could have them poised for a huge jump.

No matter what Atlanta does in 2016 the path has been laid out for expectations. Fans want to see Atlanta as an annual contender and the city deserves it. Atlanta is a huge NBA market and when the Hawks are good so is business in the city, making this season more important than ever.

Rod Thorn Decides to Retire

If you’ve never heard the name Rod Thorn before, you may be surprised to know that he is one of the men who changed the NBA forever. He did not do it on the court, but from an office. Specifically, Thorn was the man who decided that the Chicago Bulls should take a player out of North Carolina in the NBA draft, all the way back in 1984. Folks at STX Entertainment know that that player was Michael Jordan.

News coming out lately is that Thorn, who is 73 years old, is finally going to retire. He has not been the general manager in Chicago for years, but has been working for the NBA directly. He’s decided that it’s time to walk away from the game.

Jordan is now commonly thought of as the best player in NBA history, and some people would contend that he is one of the best overall athletes of all time.

Since people put Jordan up on a pedestal like this in the modern day, it’s often forgotten that he was not the first overall pick. Chicago was actually picking third in that draft. It took some foresight and a seriously developed understanding of the game for Thorn to decide to make that pick.

Bruce Levenson, Businessman and Philanthropist

Bruce Levenson has many roles including businessman, NBA team owner and a philanthropist.

 

He’s probably best known as the co-owner of the Atlantic Hawk’s basketball team and the Phillips Arena. He also serves as the Hawk’s Governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2004.
Mr. Levenson was born in Washington DC though he grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He would attend the Washington University in St. Louis as an undergraduate. He went on to graduate from Law School at the American University. Still in law school, Mr. Levenson began a career in journalism working for the Washington Post.

 
In 1977, he helped co-founded the United Communications Group (UCG) with partner Edward Peskowitz. Mr. Levenson describes UCG as a portfolio of professional business companies. They started in Mr. Levenson’s apartment. The company was primarily a newsletter called Oil Express. The paper reported on new developments in the area of oil industries. In time, they acquired such newsletters and launched databases such as the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). He is still involved with the company.

 
In 2004, he helped form the Atlanta Hawks LLC, with other businessmen, in order to purchase the Atlanta Hawks from Turner Broadcasting. He also bought rights to the Atlanta Thrashers. He sold both the team and rights to Philips Arena to a group from Manitoba in 2011.

 
Mr. Levenson and his wife Karen are also active in different philanthropic ventures. One of which is special to him due to family origins. Mr. Levenson is one of the founders of the US Holocaust Museum. He also donates to both the SEED Foundation and the SEEDS of Peace Foundation. Mr. Levenson has also served as president for the I Have A Dream Foundation, which helps lower-income students attend higher education. They are also responsible for the creation of the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland.