Born and raised in Houston, Texas, George Kiel currently serves as the President and Executive Director of the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation nonprofit organization. A graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, Kiel received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Print Journalism. He honed his broadcasting skills by doing an internship with FOX KTBC – a local Austin, Texas news station – while also writing for the school newspaper and playing basketball on the university’s team during his senior year of undergrad.
Drawing upon his former career as NiceKicks.com’s Editor-In- Chief (September 2008-April 2016), Kiel built a loyal fan base; his social media following is close to 80,000 over all platforms. During his eight years at the aforementioned footwear-based site, Kiel developed into a public figure through his interaction and work with various notable athletes and celebrities, such as Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Nas, Allyson Felix, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dwyane Wade. He reached readers and viewers across the world by creating and hosting some of the site’s most viewed video series on YouTube, which can still be seen today:
- Sneak Peek – a video series that provides a look inside of athletes, celebrities and well-known sneaker enthusiasts’ shoe closets.
- Sole Access – a series that shared a behind-the- scenes, all-access look inside the locker rooms of various sports teams around the nation.
- Kicks On Court Weekly – a web series with exclusive interviews, reviews and up-to- date coverage on the footwear happenings around the NBA.
Kiel has also contributed to SLAM Magazine, Complex Magazine, NBA.com’s Hoop Magazine and has been quoted in the New York Times (twice) in addition to the Baltimore Sun (three times). He has also provided commentary on current topics for the San Antonio Spurs’ live webcast, ESPN on three different occasions and served as a guest reporter on BET’s 106 and Park. Kiel was named a Top 10 Black Innovator of 2015 by MVMT at the 2016 SXSW Interactive Festival this past March.
Kiel founded the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation and the Kick & Roll Classic 3-on- 3 Basketball Event – the biggest sneaker-themed basketball event in the USA – as a promise to honor his mother, Debra Kiel, who passed away from colon cancer in March of 2014. The 501(c)(3) organization, which began in January of 2015, is at the forefront of engaging the young generation to have conversations about colon cancer, the second leading cause of all cancer-related deaths. On behalf of the foundation, Kiel started the “Blue Knots” initiative, a campaign that encourages people to integrate blue shoelaces in their shoes – especially during the month of March, Colon Cancer Awareness Month – to honor those who have been afflicted by the disease and bring worldwide consciousness to colon cancer. The initiative is only two years old and has been supported by thousands through social media (#BlueKnots).
Kiel lives in Austin, Texas with his fabulous wife, Latashia, and their beautiful, ever-so- joyous daughter, Virginia Kiel. He and his wife are members of the marriage ministry group at Greater Mount Zion in Austin, Texas. They also lead a weekly bible study group called “Circles of Marriage” as part of GMZ. Only two time periods during the year pause Kiel’s everyday life: the NBA Finals and Shark Week.
Kiel is super excited about the start of coiski and is incredibly fortunate to have two standup partners in Norris Groves and Jon Zmikly.
Norris Groves Jr. is a visual enthusiast and a key contributor to the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas where he developed a keen appreciation for fine arts and sports after being enrolled in several programs as a young child. In the course of obtaining his high school diploma, Norris ultimately realized he wasn’t the second coming of Michael Jordan and chose to rely on alternative talents as a means for establishing a career.
Following high school, he enrolled at Sam Houston State University, a school known for its media program, with its most illustrious alumni being 60 Minutes and CBS anchor, Dan Rather. During his time at SHSU, he discovered his affinity for film and design and received his bachelors degree in Mass Communications: Broadcast Production with an emphasis in English. These days were integral to his development, as Norris served as a photographer for local events, as well as a tour videographer for two different event promotional organizations.
Accumulating a repertoire for a unique shooting style, he often found musical figures, such as Macklemore, Big Sean and Grammy Award winner Kendrick Lamar, aimed in the viewfinder of his camera lens. This ultimately opened the door to a vast network and awarded Groves an exceptional stage for his work to be recognized.
Following college, NiceKicks.com – the number one trusted sneaker publication – offered Groves a Digital Media Director position to help build their video content and place their visual thumbprint on the industry. There, he met George Kiel and together the two excelled creating a platform that featured over 500K video subscribers.
Along with curating content that featured cultural figures such as Nas, Olympic Gold Medalist Allyson Felix and
5-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant, Norris also holds NBA Media credentials that, not only grants him sideline access to regular season games, but NBA All-Star weekend and NBA playoff festivities as well. In addition to his tenure at Nice Kicks, Groves has contributed for several media outlets and companies, such as Hypebeast, SLAM Magazine and Xbox.
When he’s not operating cameras, creating digital graphics or interviewing athletes twice his size, you can find Norris furiously yelling at the television while watching a Game of Thrones episode. He also enjoys indulging in ridiculously gluttonous meals found on his ‘100 Things to Eat Before You Die’ list.
Jon Zmikly was born and raised in the great state of Michigan (also known colloquially as America’s High Five!) where he perfected his first God-given talent: shoveling snow. He attended Central Michigan University and received a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts in 2006 with the high aspirations of documentary filmmaking, or at least becoming the next American Gladiator.
Reality hit hard when his first “big boy” job consisted of chipping paint off the side of a crane for the U.S. government. It was then that he realized it was time for a Texas-sized change. In 2007, he packed up his rust-stained Dodge Intrepid and followed the sun out west to pursue his master’s degree at Texas State University.
After taking digital media grad courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, Jon began to study the internet’s effect on traditional media. He researched social media, web communication and online video only to come to the conclusion that the internet was, in fact, more than just cat videos and dancing babies. Jon experimented with new technologies as a grad student and even landed a blogging internship with SXSW Interactive.
By the time he graduated in 2009, Jon was ready to start teaching others the ways of the web and started teaching web design and other digital classes at his alma mater.
Jon now teaches digital media classes in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University. He’s also what one might call a “content manager” and editor for the school’s website, blog and social media accounts. When he’s not mass-communicating it up, he also serves as the youth pastor and webmaster for San Marcos Community Church, as well as freelance web projects.
While his life seems to change every couple years or so, one thing that never changes is Jon’s full devotion to Jesus Christ. He loves talking about what God has done in his life, and he knows He has an ultimate plan for each one of us.
Social Media Strategist
When Dezmond Moore was a young child he moved from Frederick, Maryland to Austin, Texas and learned what it meant to “Keep It Weird” becoming a full-fledged “Austinite”. While attending Akins High School, Dez realized he had a strong passion for media when he joined the school’s newspaper staff and became Editor-in-Chief. After graduating high school, he moved twenty minutes down Interstate 35 to study Public Relations and Communication Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Currently in his final year of undergrad, Dez works with the university’s radio station in the social media department firing off hot tweets and also as a Resident Assistant on campus positively impacting first-year students as they transition into college. Dez has amassed many networks due to his involvement on campus and from that began working with the Kiel Colon Cancer Foundation. From there, his social media savviness and passion for advancing his knowledge within digital and social media led him to an internship position with coiski media. Dez anticipates graduating in May 2017 with his Bachelors of Science in Public Relations.
Dez has two young siblings, Daizy and Xzavier, that he strives to inspire daily. Both of Dez’s parents and multiple family members are deaf making him fluent in American Sign Language. In his free time, Dez loves to train Mixed Martial Arts and is currently 2-1 as an amateur MMA fighter. He has an affinity for collecting sneakers, Washington Redskins football, and Raising Cane’s chicken fingers.
Tyrone Void Jr.
Tyrone Void Jr., better known as TeeJay, was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, but raised in Copperas Cove. Though growing up in Texas instilled a great appreciation for football, TeeJay developed his love for basketball at a very young age. A love that has carried on and grown throughout his life. Along with sports, TeeJay also acquired a passion for writing in his childhood years, with his first writing being sermons due to his desire to be a preacher. As those desires faded, the writings evolved from love letters to various elementary, Jr High, and High School love interests to enjoying writing essays during High School English classes.
That passion for sports and writing blossomed in a random Creative Writing TeeJay used to dodge a literature class during his freshman year in college. From there, he went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Exercise & Sports Science and a minor in business from McMurry University; which has nothing to do with writing. While working full-time in sales in Atlanta, he completed his Master’s in Sports Marketing at University of Central Missouri. That led him back to Austin for an internship with the Austin Toros and Longhorn Sports Marketing.
As the internship with Longhorn Sports Marketing came to an end, TeeJay randomly came across a Facebook posting asking for part-time writers on a popular blog. Randomly, he submitted an inquiry, which led to an interview that in turn lead to a full-time position at Nice Kicks. While there, he realized that he and George had already known each other from pickup games at the local 24 Hour Fitness gyms. He also met Sid at Nice Kicks.
While there, TeeJay was featured in Unboxing videos, and became the face of video content such as Live Look and The Shoe Horn, a weekly 10-minute show discussing the hottest sneaker news of the week with a twist. TeeJay also became known for his Op-Ed pieces during his run with Nice Kicks, and created well establish columns, such as College Kicks on Courts, and A Day in the Life, with the most prominent being a minute to minute account of release of Teyana Taylor’s Harlem GLC sneaker in 2013.
TeeJay now spends the bulk of his time as a High School Teacher and basketball coach (mentor, psychologist, disciplinarian, etc. because that’s what coaching teenage boys entails) in the Greater Houston area, and watching his beloved Tarheels basketball team frustrate him to no end.