The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Bill Sundermeier Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

December 12, 2014


William A. Sundermeier was born in 1963 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Growing up near Hagg Lake in Forest Grove, Oregon, Sundermeier spent much of his childhood engaged in farm labor and sailing on the lake. During his junior year of high school, Sundermeier began interning for Tektronix, building circuit boards, learning programming languages, and taking courses through the company. He remained affiliated with Tektronix all throughout the remainder of his high school and college years.

In 1981, Sundermeier graduated from Forest Grove High School and enrolled at Oregon State University that fall. A resident of Weatherford Hall, Sundermeier brought an early personal computer with him, a large Tektronix 4051. He continued to consult with Tektronix while a student, frequently driving to the company's headquarters to work during the weekends. Though mostly preoccupied with school and his job, Sundermeier continued sailing while an undergraduate, ultimately receiving a letter in sailboat racing.

Sundermeier graduated from OSU in 1985, having earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science. From there, he began working for a Tektronix spin-off company, Northwest Instrument Systems, finding a position in their product marketing management department. He stayed with the company for the next eight years, until 1993, at which point Northwest Instrument Systems merged with Cadre Technologies and moved to Rhode Island. Preferring to remain on the West Coast, Sundermeier teamed up with two other NWI engineers to start a company of their own, Quality Check Software.

In 1994, Sundermeier joined FLIR Systems, an infrared camera technology company with applications in the military, search and rescue, and numerous other fields. Initially hired as a product marketing manager, Sundermeier was promoted to director of product marketing the following year. In 1999, he was appointed senior vice president for product strategy and, in 2002, he was promoted again, this time to senior vice president and general manager for Portland operations.

In 2004, Sundermeier was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering's Academy of Distinguished Engineers, and in 2006 he became president of FLIR's Government Systems Division. Eight years later, in 2014, Sundermeier stepped down from this post and left FLIR after twenty years with the company.

Today, Sundermeier is mostly retired, though he does serve as a board member with the Echodyne Corporation - a metamaterials-based radar technology - and consults with Marine and Remote Sensing Solutions, Ltd.