The Geek Group

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Coordinates: 42°59′07″N 85°41′28″W / 42.985264°N 85.69111°W / 42.985264; -85.69111

The Geek Group
The Geek Group Logo
The Geek Group's Logo
Abbreviation TGG
Formation 1994; 24 years ago (1994)
Founder Chris Boden
Purpose Education
Headquarters Leonard Street Labs
Coordinates 42°59′07″N 85°41′28″W / 42.985264°N 85.69111°W / 42.985264; -85.69111
Region served
Official language
Chairman of the Board
Paul Kidwell
Vice Chair
Chris Boden
Executive Director
Lis Bokt
Key people
Matthew Nickels
Amy Stratton
Jason Minkus
Kathryn Christopher
Main organ
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.[1] 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[2]. The group opened to the public on 1 January 2014.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed] 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.[3]


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.[4]

Grand Rapids Location[edit]

The Group moved to Grand Rapids in December 2010.[1] Their current campus, known as The Leonard Street Labs, is a 43,000 square foot facility situated on Leonard Street NW. [5] The huge building was originally a YMCA and more recently, a place of religious worship.

YouTube popularity[edit]

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[6]. 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.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b "Guidestar Profile- The Geek Group National Science Institute". 20 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Mission Statement – The Geek Group". Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  3. ^ "Exempt Organizations". IRS. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  4. ^ Dwyer, Dustin (1 February 2010). "Geek's Dream Lab Could Create Jobs in Michigan". NPR.
  5. ^ Radigan, Mary. "Geek Group is renovating former West YMCA as new headquarters". MLive. Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  6. ^ "thegeekgroup". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  7. ^ "Fire At The Geek Group". Hack A Day. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "Fire damages Geek Group in Grand Rapids". WZZM13. January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2014.

External links[edit]