Sunburst Participates in Commuter Challenge for 10th year

Sunburst employees have been participating in Missoula in Motion's annual Commuter Challenge for 10 years.  Missoula in Motion encourages sustainable transportation, including biking, walking, busing, carpooling, and telecommuting.  Over 100 local businesses participate in the Commuter Challenge each year, with free breakfasts and coffee for participants along bike routes, daily prize drawings, and awards given to companies with the highest percentage of participants.  in 2010 and 2011 Sunburst won the challenge in the micro-business category, with 100% participation.  This year Sunburst is again on the All-Star list, with 9 of 10 employees participating.

Sunburst has a casual atmosphere where employees are encouraged to commute sustainably.  On any summer day you will typically see several bikes in the offices and open spaces at Sunburst.    Brandon Wasser is our sustainable commute star.  He rides his bike to work every day, regardless of winter snow, spring rain, or summer heat, and he volunteers at Free Cycles, helping locals fix up their bikes or build bikes from up-cycled parts for free!

Sunburst Employees Support Girls in STEM

Sunburst employees are key supporters of a Girl Scout troop and their First Lego League robotics team, the Intergalacducks.  This team of 11 – 14 year old girls built a Lego robot and programmed it to complete several “missions” in the Into Orbit Challenge.  They also researched and presented the idea of growing edible flowers in space using hydroponics as a means of improving mental and physical health of astronauts.  The team won first place in a competition between 77 teams from Montana.  This propelled them to the FLL World Festival in Houston, TX, in April 2019.  The Intergalacducks thank Sunburst for financial contributions and coaching!


SAMI-CO2 Instruments Help Our Understanding of the Role of the Arctic Ocean in Climate Variability

In September of 2018, two ice-tethered profilers (ITP) with SAMI-CO2 instruments were deployed beneath Arctic sea ice. The ITPs include a surface buoy with satellite transmitter and CTD profiler that measures physical and biogeochemical properties from the surface to 800 m depth. The SAMIs are deployed directly under the ice at ~6 m. The ITPs are analogous to the Argo float program that deploys profiling floats in the oceans (Figure 1). Cory Beatty from Mike DeGrandpre’s lab at the University of Montana was part of the 2018 expedition, deploying SAMI-CO2 instruments on two of the ITPs (ITP 107 and 110). Sunburst worked with Beatty to configure the SAMIs to transmit data in real time via an inductive modem. pCO2 measured at ITP 107 is shown in Figure 2. The complete data sets can be viewed and downloaded


Figure 1. ITP drift track as of April 24, 2019. ITP drift (yellow line), latest location (triangle), BGOS moorings (white circles), annual ice drift from IABP (grey vectors), on IBCAO bathymetry (shading). Link to track.

Figure 2. Cory Beatty of University of Montana deploying a SAMI-CO2 through the ice.


Figure 3. Data from ITP107, collected and made available by the Ice-Tethered Profiler Program (Toole et al., 2011; Krishfield et al., 2008) based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ( .


Sunburst Sensors LLC makes generous donation to Climate Smart Missoula

MISSOULA, MT (October 9, 2015) – Sunburst Sensors LLC announced they are donating $10,000 from their recent Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE to the newly launched community initiative, Climate Smart Missoula. Sunburst Sensors is a Missoula-based manufacturing company which makes devices to measure changes in ocean chemistry and is co-owned by James Beck and Michael DeGrandpre.

“Climate Smart Missoula is a grass roots group working locally to reduce our climate impacts and we are excited to help support their efforts”, say Beck and DeGrandpre.   “We’re not getting sufficient action from the top-down on this issue, so it’s up to cities and states to act on their own.  Though we are a manufacturing company with customers around the world, we try to use local suppliers and want to support our community.  Winning the recent XPRIZE awards gives us an opportunity to do something extra.”

“We are thrilled and honored to be the recipient of such a generous donation,” said Amy Cilimburg, Director of Climate Smart Missoula. “This donation is crucial seed money as we work to fulfill our mission: to be the hub that fosters partnerships and actions to address climate change in our community. We hope this encourages others in our community to consider being part of climate solutions by sharing their time, innovative ideas, or financial contributions with us.  It’s an exciting time to catalyze change right here in Missoula, Montana.”

Read more: Climate Smart Donation

XPrize Media Links

The following are links to various media relating to Sunburst Sensors' participation in the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPrize:


CBS This Morning (July 21, 2015) - Link

The Weather Channel with Al Roker (July 21, 2015) - Link

HuffPo Live (July 21, 2015) - Link

XPrize Produced Video about Sunburst - Link

Award Ceremony (forward to 1:45:00 for team intros, 1:55:00 for actual awards ) - Link

Natural Resources Defense Counsel Video - Link

KPAX (local - August 5, 2015) - Link

Read more: XPrize Media Links