Ric Devore: Banker with passion for the classroom

When profiling a high achiever in the world of high finance, one time-honored technique is to ask what book the executive is reading. But ask Ric Devore, PNC regional president for Detroit and southeast Michigan, and the answer isn’t an investing classic like “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” a technical tome like “Competition Demystified” or even a macho piece of strategic thinking like “Sun Tzu and the Art of War.”

It’s “Maisy Goes To Preschool.”

That’s the book Devore is reading these days to one pre-K class at Schulze Elementary on Santa Maria Street in Detroit. It’s part of PNC Financial Group’s $2.1 million Grow Up Great initiative to enhance arts and science education for pre-schoolers in the Detroit Public Schools. Devore heads the local foundation, which has partnered with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and the Detroit Parent Network. The effort supports another 23 groups through additional grants.

Then there’s the volunteer efforts of individual PNC employees.

“It’s my fifth year of reading at Schulze,” Devore said. “What’s unique about our bank is that our employees get 40 hours a year of paid time off if they donate that time to early childhood education. The other thing that’s really unique is that we do all our philanthropy locally. I chair the local foundation, and I think it ensures that the grants are localized in a way they might not be if a person was sitting in Pittsburgh with a spread sheet.”

Devore can bring that local touch as a native Detroiter. A graduate of Dearborn High, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, he’s remained in touch with his local roots even as his rise in the world of finance took him Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and 14 years at PNC’s headquarters in Pittsburgh.

“Growing up here in the ’60s, my brothers and I would compete in August to see who really did spot the new Mustang — and you had to be able to describe it,” Devore said. After taking a major role in PNC’s 2008 acquisition of Cleveland’s National City Bank for $5.58 billion, Devore spent 20 months integrating National City and was rewarded with the job of president of PNC’s southeast Michigan and Ohio operations.

“My dad, who was a World War II vet, said, ‘It’s great that they bought a bank so you could come home,’ ”Devore recalled.

In the last five years, Devore’s been proud to see Metro Detroit beginning to turn things around.

“I think Detroiters are not really catching on to how great a city they have and what a great opportunity this is,” Devore sids. “To be able to get in on the ground floor in 2010, I feel really blessed that I got to come home when I did. I feel really fortunate. You don’t get to go home very often.”

Brian J. O’Connor

Ric Devore

Age: 59

Occupation: Regional president for Detroit and southeast Michigan, PNC

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Michigan; master’s degree, Wayne State University

Family: Wife, Donna; one daughter and one son; and three grandchildren

Honored for: PNC Bank’s financial and volunteer support for Grow Up Great, a pre-K educational effort.