PaleoWest Archaeology


The Team

PaleoWest was founded on the principle of providing the very best cultural resource consultants to our clients. We pride ourselves on being the most innovative team of problem-solvers in the business.

Following are highlights from the expertise of our most senior staff members. Full vitae are available upon request, as is additional information on the remainder of PaleoWest’s extensive team of technical and administrative support staff.



ImageTom Motsinger, M.A., RPA, founded PaleoWest after 24 years providing archaeology consulting services, including managing some of the largest and most complex archaeology projects in the western U.S. As an archaeologist, Tom has published scientific articles in professional archaeological journals such as Kiva and Journal of Field Archaeology, contributed chapters to edited volumes for major publishers, and co-edited such volumes himself. This combination of scientific credentials, business acumen, and proven success in solution-oriented consulting was poured as the foundation of PaleoWest and continues to guide the firm’s approach.

Contact Tom: 602.980.6687 |


SHAWN FEHRENBACH | Chief Executive Officer

ImageShawn Fehrenbach, M.A., RPA, has served with PaleoWest since 2010 as Archaeologist, Project Director, Director of Graphics and GIS, Chief Information Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed PaleoWest’s CEO in February of 2019. Shawn provides leadership and vision in PaleoWest, overseeing all operations, fiscal activity, and business strategy. In addition to his work in the Southwest, Shawn has experience working in the American Midwest, the Hawaiian Islands, and Southeast Asia.

Contact Shawn: 602.245.5149 |


KEVIN THOMPSON | Senior Vice President

ImageKevin Thompson, M.A., RPA, brings more than 30 years of high-level experience in cultural resource management across the western United States and the Pacific to PaleoWest’s Denver office. His lengthy record of success for clients includes the $14 million Animas-La Plata Water Storage Project in Colorado, the Entrega/REX pipeline and the Exxon LaBarge Project across Wyoming, and several large environmental impact statements. Kevin has authored scientific articles, technical documents, and professional peer-reviewed papers concerning the archaeology of the Northern Colorado River Basin and the Intermountain West. Kevin now serves as Vice President in our Denver, Colorado office. Kevin currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Cultural Resources Association, the national trade organization for cultural-resource firms.

Contact Kevin: 303.263.8993 |

VANESSA MIRRO | Vice President and California Principal

ImageVanessa Mirro, M.A., RPA, has 20 years of experience in cultural resources management (CRM) in California, the eastern United States, and Canada. Her areas of expertise include project management, business development, tribal consultation, and regulatory compliance. She has been a leader in the CRM industry and has held executive, board, and chair positions for several large CRM firms and various heritage organizations, including American Cultural Resources Association and the Register of Professional Archaeologists. She has directed hundreds of projects and prepared and implemented cultural resources management and treatment plans for various transportation, renewable energy, water infrastructure and storage, gas and electric transmission, and urban development projects to ensure compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA, CEQA, and other federal and state laws. She successfully managed numerous large-scale, multiyear projects, such as Metropolitan Water District’s San Diego 6 Pipeline Projects (SD6) in Riverside and San Diego counties; PG&E’s Hinkley Groundwater Remediation Project in San Bernardino County; and the State Route 79 Realignment Project in Riverside County. As well, Ms. Mirro has conducted successful consultation with numerous Native American groups and resource agencies.

Contact Vanessa: 626.807.0364 |

CLINT HELTON | Vice President

Image Clint Helton, M.A., RPA, has over 20 years of professional experience in environmental consulting within the United States and internationally, and is a technical expert in cultural resources and cultural heritage studies. Clint regularly directs and manages teams, interfaces with clients and regulators, acts as senior technical consultant, provides expert witness testimony, and leads technical studies and environmental assessments in support of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), among others. Clint has completed hundreds of projects throughout the United States, particularly in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and Wyoming, and has significant experience supporting both commercial and government sector clients with a multitude of project types, including solar and wind energy, power plant licensing, oil and gas transmission and development, transportation, land development, water, and public works. Throughout his career, Mr. Helton has held roles in operations, project delivery, project management, and business development. Mr. Helton is a highly effective leader and an innovative problem solver, making him a valuable asset to any team.

Contact Clint: 949.500.2496 |

CHRIS NORTH | Vice President

ImageChris North, M.A., RPA, has 17 years of archaeological experience in the Great Basin and Southwest regions. He is an accomplished project director and has successfully managed numerous large-scale surveys, including the $7 million Arizona Public Service Company transmission line system survey. He has also directed testing and data recovery projects throughout the Southwest and has served as principal investigator on multiple ethnohistoric overviews. Chris has authored or co-authored several articles and chapters in peer-reviewed journals and monographs on such diverse topics as Clovis point distributions, Hopi Yellow Ware production, and Apache and Navajo archaeology and history.

Contact Chris: 602.363.7451 |

NOEL MOTSINGER | Chief Administrative Officer

Image Noel Motsinger joined PaleoWest in 2009, coming from 12 years in the student financial aid industry. She has a strong background in working with federal Title IV and state regulations, helping postsecondary educational institutions navigate the complexities of implementing and maintaining programs under those rules. In her role at PaleoWest, she is responsible for overseeing the administrative functions of the company and federal government contracting.

Contact Noel: 602.738.8744 |

Office Principals

JOHN WILLIAMS, PH.D., RPA | Office Principal Denver, CO

John Williams is an archaeologist and cultural resources principal investigator and project manager with over 20 years of research and consultancy spanning the Rocky Mountain region, High Plains, Great Basin, Four Corners, American Bottom, Eastern Woodlands, Middle East, and Europe. His areas of interest and expertise include prehistoric and historic archaeology, hunter-gatherer interaction with ancient environments, human population expansions and colonization events of foragers and early horticulturalists/pastoralists, social and economic changes from hunting and gathering to early farming/pastoralism, lithic and ceramic technologies, historic archaeology, regional systems and public archaeology. John has ample experience as a project manager and principal investigator, successfully obtaining contracts and grants to perform archaeological fieldwork for various agencies, and successfully managing over 30 projects from start to finish..

Contact John: 720.980.1933 |

KYE MILLER, M.A., RPA | Office Principal Santa Fe, NM

Kye has over 13 years of cultural resources management experience, involved in several sizable, multi-year cultural resources projects across the midwestern and western United States. He has directed and coordinated multiple concurrent archaeological, ethnographic, and paleontological projects including small- and large-scale survey, excavation, and construction monitoring projects. Kye is an expert on the archaeology of the Four Corners region, particularly with early Pueblo residential sites in northwest New Mexico. He has worked as a researcher and consultant in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Utah managing successful projects in various market sectors with a solution-oriented approach. Kye has authored and edited dozens of technical reports and conference papers and is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Contact Kye: 618.580.0701 |

MATTHEW TENNYSON, M.A., RPA | Office Principal San Diego, CA

Matt has 18 years of experience in historical and prehistoric archaeology in California, Nevada, and Arizona. Since 2009, Matt’s work has focused on the renewable energy sector serving as Principal Investigator and Project Manager for major projects. He expertly helps clients navigate the complexities involved in permitting and compliance on multi-year and multi-phase projects. Matt is an expert in building and managing teams that complete projects with a creative and efficient approach to cultural resources management.

Contact Matt: 949.981.5862 |

JULIE DUGGINS, M.A., RPA | Office Principal Tallahassee, FL

Julie Duggins carries 13 years of solution-centered research and consulting into PaleoWest from her experience in both the private and public sectors. She has managed surveys, testing, and data recovery projects to help applicants comply with Sections 106 and 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act, NEPA, and state and local statutes across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. She is a noted expert in pre-Columbian watercraft research, particularly dugout canoes in Florida. Julie serves on the board of the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee, teaches college-level archaeology and anthropology courses, and is a leader in resource management through her work with the Florida Archaeological Preservation Association.

Contact Julie: 678.360.6243 |

ALAN GREENE, PH.D., RPA | Office Principal New York, NY

Alan Greene brings almost 20 years of experience in cultural resource management and academic archaeology to PaleoWest’s New York office. He enjoys developing innovative management strategies for cultural resources by working closely with clients, regulatory agencies, and local communities. Prior to arriving at PaleoWest, Alan carried out land development, energy, and federal CRM projects for a variety of clients along the East Coast and was co-director of the Kasakh Valley Archaeological Survey in Armenia. He has wide competencies in both field and laboratory archaeology, with major research interests in craftgoods, landscapes, economic life, and archaeological ethics. Alan has authored numerous scientific articles, conference papers, reports, and book chapters on archaeological pottery, settlement patterns, and the ancient South Caucasus. He serves as the the Office Principal in our New York Office, responsible for Northeast operations and business development.

Contact Alan: 917.769.1237 |

CHRIS SIMS, M.A., RPA | Office Principal Portland, Oregon

Chris Sims brings over 12 years of experience practicing archaeology in 22 states and four countries, and several years of work on significant sustainability projects. He earned his bachelors degree in anthropology from Appalachian State University and his masters degree in anthropology from University of Louisville, where he used GIS to test ecological models of human behavior in periods of significant climate change. Chris has demonstrated success on projects in Section 106, Section 110, large infrastructure projects, and large wetlands reclamation programs for the USACE. He is also very active with public archaeology outreach and education projects in the Portland area. Chris is currently the office principal for PaleoWest’s Portland, Oregon office, coordinating projects throughout the Pacific Northwest

Contact Chris: 502.645.3116 |

Key Staff

JAMES POTTER, PH.D., RPA | Principal Archaeologist

James Potter has been with PaleoWest intermittently since 2011 and now serves as a Senior Archaeologist and Principal Investigator on projects throughout the western U.S. and as the Office Principal for the California office in Pasadena. Prior to coming on board with PaleoWest he directed the Animas-La Plata reservoir project in southwestern Colorado, the largest public archaeology project in the country at the time (2001-2010). When he first joined the PaleoWest team he served as Principal Investigator for the Navajo Gallup project before venturing to California in 2012. Since moving to California he has been involved with some of the most interesting archaeology in the state, including data recovery excavations at San Gabriel Mission. He is widely published in American Antiquity, Journal of Field Archaeology, Kiva, and the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology and is the editor of the book entitled The Social Construction of Communities published by AltaMira Press.

Contact James:720.339.4313 |

SCOTT COURTRIGHT | Senior Project Director

Scott Courtright serves as a Project Director in the Phoenix office and joined PaleoWest in 2014. He has over 20 years experience in the southwest and has over 15 years experience with Arizona Department of Transportation projects. He has supervised multiple survey, testing, and data recovery projects within Arizona, southern Utah, and Nevada. He is knowledgeable in the Section 106 process and many state and local ordinances. His research interests include a multi-year, volunteer research project he directed on the Tonto National Forest that investigated an aggregated prehistoric community and lithic quarry near Perry Mesa north of the metro Phoenix area.

Contact Scott: 480.381.8165 |


Rebecca Schwendler carries to PaleoWest more than 20 years of expertise in academic and CRM archaeology, as well as experience serving as the Public Lands Advocate and advisory archaeologist for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Western Regional Office in Denver. Rebecca’s expertise is varied, but includes a research focused on hunter-gatherer social organization and trade. Rebecca has taught several undergraduate archaeology courses, authored multiple peer-reviewed articles, presented numerous papers at professional meetings, and given many public talks, fostering her passion for archaeological education. Her professional service has included leadership in the Society for American Archaeology’s Program, Media Relations, and Student Paper Award committees, the latter as Committee Chair for three years.

Contact Rebecca: 970.409.9893 |