Staff

ABOUT US

Staff

Geologist and President

Jim was raised in the oil industry from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. A love for the Rocky Mountain region led him to the University of Wyoming where he received a BS in geology in 1986 and then an MS from Montana State University in 1988. Summers were spent “getting oil on his shoes” as an intern with National Oil Company and Mobil Exploration & Production in Denver. Refusing to re-enter society he pursued doctoral studies at Washington State University, graduating with a PhD in Geology in 1994. Fresh out of school but coming into an industry slump he consulted on several small projects on the Sweetgrass Arch. In a twist of circumstance, Jim spent the next 10 years in retail management for Kinko’s in Billings, Montana. In 2004 he returned to his true vocational love and joined Sunburst Consulting as a contract well site geologist, working wells in the Williston Basin, Utah and Nevada. In 2006 Jim became a managing partner and VP, helping the company grow rapidly with the evolving Bakken Play. On July 1st, 2014 Jim succeeded Wayne Freisatz, retiring founding member, as President of the company.

Jim lives halfway down the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana. He can be found during spare time casting a fly, playing golf, travelling and spending time with family. He has active membership in: AAPG, GSA, RMAG, MGS, WGA and PAPG.

Justin Sommerville

Justin Sommerville was born and raised in northern Virginia. After graduating high school in 1998, he thought it would be a good idea to enlist in the United States Army. After the first day of basic training, he thought it would be a good idea to go to college. Eight years later, he graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Geosciences; after first honorably completing 4 years as an imagery analyst (at the Army’s insistence). In 2007 headed out west to work as a contract geologist for Sunburst. In 2009 he married Tracy a fellow Sunburst contract hand, their son was born in spring of 2013. His experience includes wells in North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, drilling in the Williston, Denver-Julesburg, Powder River, and Wind River Basins. In January 2011 Justin was employed by Sunburst as a Senior Geologist to mentor field geologist from the Billings office. He has since moved on to mentoring Senior Geologists and managing field personnel.

Chris was born in Warrenton, VA and grew up in the Virginia Beach area. After high school, Chris attended Virginia Tech. After a brief stint in the chemistry department Chris decided he loved rocks and made the best major change that he could. He moved into the illustrious Virginia Tech Geosciences department. Chris graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in Geology then he decided to bum around Blacksburg, VA for a bit and worked as a shift manager at a Taco Bell and also delivered pizzas. This pizza delivery job led him to meet a fellow geologist who got a job as a contract well site geologist for Sunburst Consulting. In March of 2005 Chris made the move to Montana with his future wife to start this line of work as well. In January of 2011, Chris took a job as a Senior Geologist with Sunburst, which put him in the office a bit more, and allowed him more time at home with his wife Mary. Chris is currently working on keeping Sunburst in the forefront of technology and integrating geosteering software into Sunburst’s well site and remote steering systems. In his free time Chris can be seen playing ice hockey or curling, rocking on the guitar, or maybe just hanging out around the house with his and Mary’s first and only child, Cece.

A Brazilian by birth, Felipe grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with his parents and two sisters. While working in retail management and attending school at the University of Florida in Gainesville, he discovered his affinity for geology. After graduating with a B.S. in 2007, he decided to trade beaches, sandals and scorching summers for mountains, hiking boots, and cold winters and moved across the country to Billings, MT to become a well-site geologist. He took the position of Senior Geologist with Sunburst in February 2011 and the position of Chief Development Officer in July 2014. Current duties have him overseeing Williston Basin projects and facilitating the training of well site geologists. His experience includes wells in the Williston, Powder River and DJ Basins. When not working, Felipe can often be found enjoying fine Montana craft beers, live music or the mountains when he’s lucky.

Tracy Sommerville

Tracy is a Montana girl at heart who spent her first 18 years in Eastern Montana before going west for college. She graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula in the spring of 2008 and went to work for Sunburst as a Geosteering Consultant soon thereafter. Later that same year she met her now husband, Justin, on a drilling location and after two more years of well site consulting, she left the field to help out around the office. In the fall of 2013 she took on her current capacity of Accounts Supervisor and Secretary/Treasurer. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and son she can frequently be found running, playing Billings intramural hockey and soccer, or roaming around the wilds of Montana hiking and hunting.

Willie Thomas

Born in San Rafael, California, Willie was on the move at an early age. By the age of two he had settled in Billings, Montana with his parents, and by four he was frequently found thirty or more feet up in any tall tree he could find. By seven, Willie had scaled the rimrocks above town and at ten he was biking to all of the local gravel pits in search of the perfect skipping stone. He attended various Billings public schools, graduating in 1979 from Billings Senior High School. He then attended the University of Montana, where he graduated with a BA in English in the spring of 1985. After college Willie settled down to work at Kinko’s, where he worked for 15 years. Sunburst Consulting’s founder, John Gillespie, recruited him. Sunburst Consulting needed someone with printing industry experience and an editor’s eye to spearhead the production side of the business, so Willie was sent out into the oil patch to learn the business of well-site geology. After six years sitting wells in the Williston, Powder River and DJ basins, he migrated to the office, where he edits, proofs and assembles well evaluations and geology logs. In addition to production, Willie also heads the safety department where he trains new employees in oil field safety and makes sure veteran employees stay focused on safe work practices. Willie spends his free time hanging out with his wife and daughter and occasionally smacking a little white ball around a huge green pasture.