January 14

Eric Lefkofsky – Changing The Way We Treat Cancer

Statistics show that forty percent of adults in the United States will face cancer at some point in their adult life. These statistics show that cancer touches everyone personally or through someone they know at some point. The National Cancer Institute, estimated that in 2014 nearly 14.5 million people in the U.S. were living with cancer. It is projected that this number will jump to over 19 million by the year 2024.

People like Eric Lefkofsky and his company Tempus are looking to change these projections. Tempus is taking the lead in the innovative field of data-enabled precision medicine. Technology is advancing all around us and one would assume it is advancing in the medical field as well. But when it comes to data collection and digital technology, there was something missing. Eric Lefkofsky learned this first hand when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and he set out to do something about it.

As a firm Tempus, had a goal of changing the way cancer care was being delivered. Their platform has been created to analyze a patients clinical and molecular data. There were several hurdles Tempus had to overcome in developing this technology. One being the expense of information. Since the future of fighting cancer seems to be directed at treating it on the molecular level, Tempus has tried to combine information in order to provide the effective cancer treatments.

Eric Lefkofsky, currently resides in Chicago where Tempus is headquartered. He serves as a member of the board of directors for Lurie’s Children Memorial Hospital of Chicago and is on the board of trustees for The Steppenworth Theatre of Chicago. Eric still hasn’t reached the age of 50 and is very accomplished. He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Despite his education he never became a lawyer, instead he found himself involved in the dot-com movement and very successful at it. He has held a number of teaching positions and is currently an adjunt professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

January 9

Lending a Hand with Dick DeVos

A plan was formed in 1991 in Grand Rapids to build something that both Dick and Betty DeVos didn’t quite approve of. Since the sports complex in the works didn’t fit with their ideas and their goals, they decided to fight the building commission and lobby against the idea completely.

 

 

The campaign against this new sports facility was the factor that led to a new group formation called the Grand Action. This group, full of business leaders, helped with the construction of the DeVos Place Convention Center and the DeVos Performance Hall, among other things.

 

 

Though the Grand Rapids skyline was changed after these buildings were completed, and the DeVos family have spent much of their lives as adults trying to change various policies and institutions. Since they are a wealthy and powerful family, the DeVos’ have major political influence, especially when it comes to changing state laws for both labor and education.

 

 

Betsy DeVos, who is the major influencer for these movements, has been pushing for charter school expansion, and at the same time, her husband, Dick, created a law that changed the birthplace of organized labor to a state where union membership is not an employment condition any longer.

 

 

However, their influence doesn’t just extend from Republican politics, but it also moves beyond that to other things. For several years, the DeVos family has donated at least $138.7 from their family foundation to various programs like culture, health, arts, churches, and more than all center on reform for education and scholarships for the private schools that Betsy pushes for so often.

 

 

The couple even donated up to $12 million toward the construction of a children’s hospital, naming it after Dick DeVos’ mother, Helen. She was the wife of the co-founder of Amway Corporation, Richard DeVos. The children’s hospital that they donated to has helped families seek treatment in their area instead of having to drive too far away places.

 

 

So far, education reform has been the biggest initiative of both Betsy and Dick DeVos. They are even beginning to push their advocacy toward other states in the country, providing them with more choices for private school education.

 

 

Even though Betsy DeVos is now the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dick DeVos is the CEO of a firm that he started himself. This firm is a holding company for many businesses in the Grand Rapids area. Since he flies quite a bit, Dick DeVos has even helped bring the Gerald R. Ford airport back into the public eye by leading several business leaders to help with the growth. Learn more:

 

 

Overall, Dick DeVos has been a tremendous asset to several groups and councils over the years. He has helped resurrect places like the airport and more by using his skills and expertise, and he has been a supporter of his wife since their marriage. Learn more: http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/12/01/michigan-parole-reform/94075318/

 

January 3

Jim Larkin

When it comes to the history of labor activism in Ireland, one of the most prominent names is that of Jim Larkin.

Born in 1876 in Liverpool, England, his working career began early. At just seven years of age, Larkin would work afternoons following his school day so his poor family could have some extra money. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/ and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

He was a teenager when he started work as a sailor and dock worker, and soon became a foreman.

It was during this time that Larkin developed an interest in socialism, which led to him joining the Independent Labour Party. In 1905, he took part in the Liverpool dock strike to protest what he saw as unfair treatment of the workers. It cost him his foreman’s job, but Larkin wound up becoming a full time organizer for the National Union of Dock Labourers.

Sent to Belfast in 1907, Larkin’s accomplishments grew. He unionized the dock workers there, united Protestant and Catholic workers, and even had the Royal Irish Constabulary strike. He ultimately went on to form the Irish Labour Party.

One of his biggest undertakings came in 1913, when he led 100,000 workers in the Dublin Lockout, which lasted eight months and ended with the workers receiving the right to fair employment.

During World War I, Larkin helped organize anti-war protests in Dublin, then left for the United States to help the growing communist movement there. In 1920, he was jailed for criminal anarchy.

After three years behind bars, Larkin was released and sent back to Ireland. Shortly after his return, he organized the Worker’s Union of Ireland.

Jim Larkin passed away in his sleep in 1947 at the age of 71. A statue was erected in his honor on O’Connell Street in Dublin, and a street in his hometown of Liverpool is also named after him. Larkin is also the subject of poems, books, and songs by groups like Black 47 and the Dubliners.