After 10 character-building years, Apogee Instruments moved out of the garage in 2007 to a location next to Campbell Scientific, 721 West 1800 North in Logan, Utah. The name has proven to be an accurate reflection of the company’s trajectory since one of “apogee’s” two meanings is the highest point or culmination in the development of something. The second definition is a nod to Bugbee’s space-related research: the point in the orbit of a satellite that is furthest from the Earth. The product line has expanded to more than a dozen types of sensors and an international reputation. Apogee now has over 20 employees, nearly all Utah State University graduates. Apogee has followed Campbell Scientific’s concept of “corporate tithing”, which means giving 10 percent of profits to non-profit organizations. Much of Apogee’s tithing has gone to
USU in the form of scholarships, an invited speaker fund, and development of the Environmental Observatory on campus near the Taggart Student Center. “There is tremendous value in starting a business in a university town because you have access to so many talented students,” Bugbee said. “It seems natural to give back to the source.” Apogee just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a 10,000-square-foot addition. Since Bugbee has worked at USU since 1981 he is sometimes asked why he doesn’t just retire and run Apogee. “My passion is to create knowledge,” he said. “Apogee does a lot of research, but the goal is to create products. The university gives me the opportunity to transfer my passion to the youth of the nation. “Students have been a continuous source of inspiration,” he added. “I have had the good fortune to mentor over 30 graduate students at USU; seven of them are now on the faculty of other universities. They are all ambassadors for Utah State. In the end, I remember the students I worked with more than the instruments we built or the papers we wrote. For me, teaching is the highest form of understanding.” �
Top: Bruce Bugbee in the research greenhouse. Left: Aerial view of Apogee Instruments. Photo by Dennis Hinkamp.
Cultivate | Summer 2016