The Geek Group
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The Geek Group's Logo
|Headquarters||Leonard Street Labs|
Chairman of the Board
|Board of Directors|
The Geek Group is a not-for-profit educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan with over 50,000 members around the world. Based in the American heritage of an industrious attitude and dedication, The Geek Group seeks to provide opportunity for all people through programs designed to foster lifelong education, vocational access, and creativity in technology. The group opened to the public on 1 January 2014.
The Geek Group started up in 1994 at the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan as a group of friends experimenting with university surplus equipment such as old computer parts. They grew over a few years into a small company, which they named The Geek Group and became a federally certified 501(c)(3) non-profit company.
The Geek Group is sponsored by many companies, the majority of them small businesses local to the Group, but also some larger companies such as Rustoleum. The Group supplements this donation income by charging for some R&D services.
Grand Rapids Location
The Group moved to Grand Rapids in December 2010. Their current campus, known as The Leonard Street Labs, is a 43,000 square foot facility situated on Leonard Street NW.  The huge building was originally a YMCA and more recently, a place of religious worship.
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The Geek Group maintains a robust youtube presence, serving as an extension of their digital education program. As of 2018, The Geek Group had over 94,000 subscribers and 650 videos. In addition to technical tool training videos, The Geek Group regularly produces several educational video series. 'Equipment Autopsy' where various items of tech or household gadgets are taken apart with a view to educate the viewer on 'how stuff works'. 'Will It Fry' is a series of videos that investigate how certain day-to-day objects will stand up to extreme high voltage or extreme heat. Your Dinosaurs Are Wrong features toy dinosaurs sent in from viewers around the world, and the staff explains why these toy models are not accurate representations of how the dinosaurs would have appeared.
On January 2, 2014, a fire partially destroyed the group's High Voltage Lab, and deposited soot all over the lab. A grub screw on a Tesla coil rotary spark gap was not tight enough, resulting in a tungsten electrode which it was holding to move out of its socket and strike one of the stationary electrodes due to no ongoing maintenance schedule. This resulted in a chain reaction with bits of molten tungsten being flung from the spark gap unit, which then caused a nearby capacitor array to catch fire and subsequently melt. From preliminary analysis, Project Gemini (a 200,000 watt Tesla coil demonstration) looks to be the originating cause, and completely destroyed, and Project Thumper (a high impulse generator) was damaged. The fire was so hot it melted aluminum racks. Although no one had been hurt, the building was closed to the public once again for repairs.
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