Lauren and David Heerschap first set their hands on Brunton products as teenagers: David with a backpacking compass in the woods of New Jersey, and Lauren with a pocket transit as a geology field camp student in the Black Hills. Both became educators who constantly aimed to improve the tools of their trade.
Fast forward two decades to Durango, Colorado where the idea of the Axis was conceived while Lauren taught yet another batch of college geology students how to take geological measurements with the traditional Brunton pocket transit. Lauren kept wishing that transit measurement methods could be simpler, more intuitive, and more visual.
In the fall of 2013, Lauren began sketching out ideas for a new type of transit. David, then a high school science teacher,set out to make Lauren’s sketches a reality. They had just set up a home business called RealScience Innovations through which they had already created and sold several new and improved science teaching tools. At home in their garage over the course of the winter, David worked to create a prototype that did what Lauren had envisioned. By the spring of 2014, they had functional prototypes that could measure planes, lines, bearings, and angles each in one simple configuration.
Encouraged by the success of the prototypes, Lauren and David started patenting what was then called the Plane Sight Compass, and they tested it with several geology field camps that summer. Students barely needed instruction on how to use the new model, finding it far more intuitive and easy to measure with, compared to the standard models.
Lauren and David knew the greater geological community would benefit from their invention, but they also realized the limitations of their garage machine shop. They decided to approach Brunton with their idea, knowing the company was best equipped to manufacture and market the new model internationally. Lauren and David retained the patent and were involved with the entire process of design, production, and marketing of what is now the Brunton Axis Transit. They were honored to work with Brunton engineer, Hank Iden, who had been inventing and improving Brunton compasses since 1975 in the Riverton, Wyoming facility.
Through multiple trips up to Riverton, Lauren and David fell in love with Wyoming, and they moved to Lander, Wyoming in 2016 to help launch the Axis. They gradually became more involved with Brunton, helping assist with marketing events and educational materials for additional Brunton products. In 2018, David started working for Brunton as engineer, overlapping with Hank Iden as his health declined. David designed new products such as the Standard Transit and GeoLite Transit, then Lauren joined the team as Pro Sales Manager in 2021.
When presented with the opportunity to bring Brunton's ownership and leadership back home to Wyoming in 2021, Lauren and David knew this was something they could not pass up, and it became official in November 2021. For the first time since 1894, Brunton is now female-owned, family-owned, and operated by former science educators who are passionate about the brand and excited to bring it back to its roots.