Oakland University alumnus starts COVID-19 testing company


Evan Tsang is co-creator of Task Force Lab, a COVID-19 testing company that’s based in California.

In an effort to “serve our community,” Evan Tsang, an Oakland University alumnus, partnered with Erik Bogaard and created Task Force Lab, a California-based COVID-19 testing facility.

In early March, Tsang was faced with bleak options, like many Americans, when COVID-19 began to spread in The United States. He could either have “months of watching Netflix,” or he could create a story to “tell our grandkids,” and he chose the latter.  

“We’re not happy with how our nation seems to be responding to this, and we said, ‘what are we going to do?’,” Tsang said. 

Healthcare workers were immediately at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Tsang had a different skill set. He received his Master of Science degree from OU in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) in 2008.

While in the career field, Tsang gathered experience working for several technology-based companies — beginning with General Motors and, most recently, Skylar Consulting.

He had a steady stream of work until the pandemic pushed him out of work, briefly — Tsang was laid off in early spring. The unemployment rate increased in record breaking time when COVID-19 began spreading in the U.S. — people lost their jobs faster in three months than in the two years of the recession in 2007. 

“This economy is going to take a hit, but — probably — the one thing that isn’t going to go bad is the need for testing,” Tsang said. “As this pandemic has evolved, particularly in our country, it’s been clear that that’s a bigger and bigger need.”

Although Tsang had worked with notable companies in the past, he didn’t see himself as an “entrepreneur” until recently. 

“I never saw myself as a person that was going to start a company… but it’s possible,” Tsang said. “It went from that’s what other people do to it’s possible.”

Initially, Tsang expected Task Force Lab to be funded, but there wasn’t enough interest in the company. This didn’t deter Tsang and Bogaard for long though, because they knew there was a demand for COVID-19 tests.   

“In the midst of being unemployed, I went out and spent a bunch of money to buy a [testing] machine,” Tsang said.

Task Force Lab specializes in RT-PCR tests, “real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test” so they’re able to return results in 48 hours or less.

Aside from efficiency, Task Force Lab is also a convenient option because it’s focused on group testing (businesses or group homes), and the testing site is able to come to its patients within their areas of operation.

Now, Task Force Lab has tested more than 10,000 people in five different areas in California — Altadena, Santa Monica, Rancho Palos Verdes, Aliso Viejo, Irvine and San Jose. Their goal is to soon be able to test 1,000 to 1,500 people each day. 

“It’s not bad for a couple guys that just started a couple months ago,” Tsang said. 

Although Task Force Lab has growing interest in the community, Tsang admitted that its future is murky because COVID-19 testing has an unclear expiration date.

For now, Tsang and Bogaard aren’t looking far into the future, but at their community around them.   

“At the end of the day, we’re really focused on what we can do now,” Tsang said.


Photo Courtesy of Evan Tsang

Evan Tsang is co-creator of Task Force Lab, a COVID-19 testing company that’s based in California.