| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Features

RapidChat: Casey DuBois

Ever since the launch of GR Makers in 2013, Casey DuBois has been carving a path for GR's innovation community. As a self-proclaimed "connector," he emphasizes to his peers that want to built upon their skill set, "you may not be able to develop the skills yourself, but you can connect with people who can help you with it."

Ever since the launch of GR Makers in 2013, Casey DuBois has been carving a path for GR's innovation community. As a self-proclaimed "connector," he emphasizes to his peers that want to built upon their skill set, "you may not be able to develop the skills yourself, but you can connect with people who can help you with it."
Rapid Growth: You have dubbed yourself as a “connector." What does this mean to you?

Casey DuBois: It vastly revolves around my involvement in the community. I love networking and talking with people. There is a lot of talent in this community and getting people together can inspire personal and professional growth.

RG: When did you first realize there was a demand for professional connectors?

CD: Almost a decade ago I was reading an article on LinkedIn that talked about connectors and it was almost like it was written about me. The way I interacted with people, connected them to the right experts in their field, and supported their professional development matched the qualities of the connector defined in that article.

RG: What role did you play in the organization of GR Makers?

CD: I grew up within the automotive parts business, but then I got into computers and technology. Because of this, I started hosting weekly meetings for people who wanted to build upon their skill sets (like myself) regardless of what they were versed in. People would come in and describe what their interests were and I would connect them with others with like interests. We started with eight to 10 people and quickly grew to 70 weekly attendees. At that point, I partnered with Mutually Human and started the official GR Makers organization.

RG: This then led you into being a part of the Grand Rapids Inventors Network?

CD: Correct. The last few years I have been much more involved with GR inventors. It is the same kind of group of the makers, but these people have an idea that is even further along. We talk with inventors about their ideas and how we may be able to help them move it forward.

RG: Do you have any personal inventions that came from your involvement with GRIN?

CD: As a part of all the inventors and makers groups I started my own gig in 2011: Selfie Stand GR. It’s like a photo booth, but has a unique feature: it can directly post to FB. Rather than paying for Facebook advertising, we post these images directly to a business’s page and drive organic traffic there. People love to share their experiences with others and it gives them a way to interact directly with that location—whether a coffee shop, bar, or wedding venue.

RG: Where might we have seen the Selfie Stand being used?

CD: One of my favorite success stories is with City Built Brewing Company. When they first opened up, the Selfie Stand drove a lot of traffic to their Facebook page. It was really cool because they created more awareness of who they are and how to find their Facebook page in the first place. It continually works for the business; every minute of every day. You can find us at coffee shops, special events, and wedding locations all over greater Grand Rapids.

RG: Is there anything or anyone you to whom you accredit your spirit to invent?

CD: My maker and innovator spirit comes from my grandfather who started the model shop at Steelcase. As an engineer, he taught me you don't need to buy new things; you can always fix what you have. It wasn’t until he passed away that I learned he had 23 worldwide patents with Steelcase. He was very humble and a handy person; it kept him very active. I truly believe he lived to be 96 years old because he kept going and kept doing.

RG: Do you have advice for people that are looking to get more connected with specialized groups within their community?

CD: There are so many wonderful meet-up groups that specialize in different interests. In order to learn more, you go to the meetings and connect with others that are passionate about the same things. While you may not be able to develop the skills by yourself, with the help of others you can be successful. Grand Rapids is an amazingly collaborative community and there is always somebody willing to share their knowledge.


Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media. 

Images courtesy of Casey DuBois.
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts