IDAHO FALLS – For the past two nights, we’ve taken an in-depth look into the life of Melaleuca president and CEO Frank VanderSloot.
VanderSloot says he always wanted to have a private life but he has become one of the public figures in Idaho so his family and his opinions are often in the spotlight.
“If you’re gonna step out and take an active role in the community, part of the price you pay is publicity whether you want it or not,” says VanderSloot.
VanderSloot knows some people disagree with his opinions and others may not even like him but he believes it’s all part of the job when you’re one of the most powerful men in Idaho.
“You can’t be the largest private employer in town without publicity and sometimes publicity is bad because people disagree with you,” says VanderSloot.
Frank is passionate about his beliefs and passionate with his work.
“are you a tough guy to work for?” asks reporter Nate Eaton.
“I think I’m a pretty tough guy to work for. I’m really candid with people. I expect a lot. I ask a lot. I believe that people are rewarded well when they know where they stand,” says VanderSloot.
Frank feels his employees are generally happy working for him and that they experience the most growth under demanding circumstances.
It’s those same ideals that Frank uses in his family.
“I believe in teaching kids to work hard,” says VanderSloot.
13 years ago, Frank met his second wife Belinda. They were introduced over the phone and Frank was impressed.
“I just thought, ‘Here’s somebody who I could learn from and grow from,'” says VanderSloot.
Belinda had eight children and Frank had six. It was only a matter of me before they got married and had 14 kids under one roof.
“I found a lady who had no guile and who had a tough life. She’s very tough, very strong, and a very good mother,” says VanderSloot.
Although the couple is worth multi-millions, they’ve always made their kids work for what they want.
“We don’t buy them anything. They gotta buy their own stuff but we’ve said we’ll pay half. So if somebody wants a video game, now it’s gotta be the appropriate video game but as long as it’s something that’s not gonna hurt them, we don’t say, ‘Yes you can’ or ‘No you can’t’…we say, ‘Can you afford it?’ and we’ll pay half,” says VanderSloot.
And the same rule applies for college, wedding receptions, and missions.
“Why not just give it to them?” asks Eaton.
“I think that you can destroy kids,” says VanderSloot. “Giving them stuff… I don’t think that’s the way to happiness.”
Most of Frank’s kids have grown up and moved away. His youngest will soon leave on a mission and then he and Belinda will begin to travel more with their ever expanding worldwide corporation.
“There’s other countries to open up. There are several new products on the horizon,” says VanderSloot.
In that rare moment when Frank does have free time, you’ll most likely find him on the ranch.
“If I get a chance, this is where I come,” says VanderSloot on his ranch. “The cows don’t want anything, they don’t complain about anything, they look peaceful and I think they are happy. Cows are happy almost all the time.”
You could probably say the same thing about Frank.
He knows who he is, he’s passionate about what he believes in, he’s grateful for the people around him, and he’s excited for the future.
“We’re so blessed as a family. We’re so blessed and I think in many ways we’re so spoiled,” says VanderSloot.
One of Frank’s favorite activities is the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.
He says he puts it on to honor war veterans and help everyone remember their sacrifice.
Next summer, the program will be different as the voice of Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, Wayne Richards, passed away earlier this year.
Frank says the show will go on next year, but it obviously will be a little different.