Thomas T. Yamashita, Ph.D. (Deceased)
The history of SunBurst Agri Biotech Solutions LLC starts with the story of its founder, Dr. Thomas T. Yamashita, affectionately known as “Doc Tom”. Doc Tom has always had a passion for helping family farmers solve their agronomic problems in a timely and cost-effective manner, making personal visits to farmers fields to offer solutions for their problems. By the age of four, Tom was helping out on his family’s strawberry farm in Campbell, CA, and when he was twelve years old, his family moved to Livingston to take up peach farming. While in high school, Tom took over the operation of the family peach farm and in 1963, this resulted in the highest peach production yields seen in the state that year. Tom continued to run farm operations until 1973. In 1975, his parents sold the peach farm and retired to Turlock, CA, allowing him to pursue higher education.
Tom obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Agricultural Plant Science at CSU Fresno, and his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Nematology from UC Davis in 1984. From 1989 to 1991, Doc Tom worked for Cargill, Inc. In 1991, he moved to Pocatello, Idaho, where as a researcher and consultant he helped potato, onion and blueberry growers in the surrounding areas. Doc Tom then returned to CSU Fresno as a lecturer, professor and research scientist in the Plant Pathology and Nematology Department.
Doc Tom established SunBurst Plant Disease Clinic in 1987 as a privately owned R&D company, and over a period of time, his dedicated services established a farmer customer base that helped SunBurst to grow and form another company named Fusion 360, which sold products to improve crop health and solve the issues of pathogens and pests. Fusion 360 was created from the fruits of research conducted at Sunburst, which still continues to provide its support through an ongoing contract.