Missoula’s Sunburst Sensors Continues to Innovate in Wake of $2 Million Ocean Health XPRIZE: Q&A with Jim Beck, CEO & Co-Owner

Quick Facts:

Company: Sunburst Sensors, LLC

Location: Missoula, Montana

Industry: Chemical sensors

Founded: 1999

Employees: 10 employees

Key Leaders: Professor Michael DeGrandpre, University of Montana Chemistry Department, Co-Owner and Founder


How did Sunburst Sensors get started?

Sunburst Sensors was launched in 1999 by Michael DeGrandpre and David Irwin to manufacture the SAMI-CO2 (Submersible Autonomous Moored Instrument for measuring dissolved CO2 in seawater). The technology was developed by DeGrandpre at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in the mid 1990’s while in post-doc.

What does your company do?

Our company manufactures CO2 and pH instruments for marine and fresh-water use.

Who are your customers?

Our technology is primarily used for research by government agencies and universities around the world. Our customers are researchers interested in bio-geochemistry of carbon cycle as well as biologists, etc.

What is special about your company?

Sunburst Sensors, LLC won both purses of the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE in 2015.

Why are you in Montana?

Mike and I are from Helena and were high school classmates. (Read the story of how Beck and DeGrandpre reconnected at their Capital High School class reunion.)

What are your plans for the future?

Our plan is to continue to develop and sell world class instruments for our customers.

What do you like about Montana? Your community?

I was actually born in Missoula while my dad was in law school, but grew up in Helena. This is a great place to raise a family if you enjoy the outdoors like we do.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

Typical Montana stuff – hiking, skiing, hunting, rafting, photography.


Sunburst Sensors

Sunburst Sensors Facebook

Read more:

Scaling Positive Impact – ‘Aphrica’ To Revolutionize Understanding of Ocean Acidification (XPrize News)

SBIR/STTR Success Story: Sunburst Sensors, LLC (SBIR)


About the Publisher: The Montana High Tech Business Alliance is a statewide membership organization made up of more than 300 high tech and manufacturing firms and affiliates. Search for Montana career opportunities at MTHighTech.org/jobs.


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