PaleoServices

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Staff

The staff of PaleoServices consist of individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences that have come together to create a dedicated and professional team including qualified paleontologists and paleontological monitors, skilled fossil preparators, and expert curatorial personnel. With virtually no staff turnover, we are able to provide a consistently high level of service and are committed to the recovery and preservation of the rich paleontological heritage of this region.

With over 200 cumulative years of experience, our staff has never caused any extended delays on grading projects and has never had any notable injuries of field personnel.

Our Staff  

Thomas A. Deméré, Director, PaleoServices

Education: Ph.D. Biology (University of California, Los Angeles),M.S. Geology (University of Southern California), B.S. Geology (San Diego State University).
Project Responsibilities: Project management.
Title: Director of PaleoServices; Curator, Department of Paleontology 
Certification: Qualified Paleontologist, City of San Diego
Email: tdemere@sdnhm.org

Dr. Deméré has worked as a professional paleontologist since 1974, first as a micropaleontologist in the petroleum industry and then as a paleontologist with the San Diego Natural History Museum involved with collecting, curating, and interpreting fossils. Since 1994, Tom has served as Curator of Paleontology and Director of PaleoServices at the Museum. Dr. Deméré is the author of numerous scientific and popular articles dealing with the paleontological history of southern California and the evolutionary history of marine mammals. Since 1981 he has also worked as an environmental consultant to various planning firms, municipalities, and land development companies. In this last capacity, Dr. Deméré’s work has ranged from initial resource assessments, through impact evaluation, to actual impact mitigation. Although the majority of this work has been with residential and commercial developments within San Diego County, it has also involved a number of water, sewer, and natural gas pipeline and utility transmission line projects in southern California.

Gino Calvano

Education: B.A. Anthropology (University of California, Irvine), M.S. Geological Sciences (California State University, Long Beach)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, processing microfossils, fossil preparation.
Title: Paleontological Monitor
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; Certified Paleontologist, County of Orange, California

Mr. Calvano has over 16 years experience in recovering fossils from mass excavation projects in San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. He is especially familiar with working around heavy earth-moving equipment. Mr. Calvano has over ten years experience in field mapping of paleontological sites and interpretation of site stratigraphy. Gino also has extensive experience in screenwashing bulk sedimentary matrix samples for the recovery of micromammal remains (e.g., teeth and bones) and has developed new methods for concentrating microfossils using heavy separation liquids.

Richard A. Cerutti

Education: Sweetwater High School, San Diego, CA
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: rcerutti@sdnhm.org

Mr. Cerutti has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1981. He has over 20 years of experience in recovering fossils from mass-excavation projects in San Diego County and has developed special procedures to effectively communicate with heavy equipment operators concerning fossil salvage activities. Mr. Cerutti has attended several technical courses on preparing fossil vertebrates and has 10 years of experience in supervising fossil preparators. Richard also teaches courses on local paleontology at the Museum and leads geologic and paleontologic field trips for the general public.

John L. Pfanner

Education: B.S. Geology (San Diego State University)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, final report preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: jpfanner@sdnhm.org

Mr. Pfanner brings with him seven years of experience as a paleontological monitor. He has developed special skills in the recording of stratigraphic and geologic contextual data for fossil salvage operations. Also John is experienced in preparation of geologic and paleontological graphics for final project reports.

Kesler A. Randall

Education: M.S. Geology (San Diego State University), B.S. Geoenvironmental Studies Biology (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
Project Responsibilities: Fossil preparation and curation
Title: Collections Manager - Fossil Vertebrates 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San DiegoEmail: krandall@sdnhm.org

Mr. Randall has worked as a professional paleontologist since 1994 and has considerable experience in preparation, curation and collections management of vertebrate fossil collections. He began his paleontological work as a collections manager in the Department of Paleontology and Geology, State Museum of Pennsylvania in 1994 and then in 1998, became employed at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Mr. Randall has developed collection management databases and reorganized museum collections. Mr. Randall has been studying vertebrate paleontology for 10 years and has published and presented a number of papers, including those on Pleistocene mammals.

Christopher S. Plouffe

Education: B.S. Geology (University of California, San Barbara)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, fossil preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist II 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; HAZWOPER Certified
Email: cplouffe@sdnhm.org

Mr. Plouffe has worked as a field paleontologist since 2002. He is a graduate of the Paleontology Certification Program at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and has worked as a volunteer with the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. In this last capacity Mr. Plouffe participated in excavation of a Tyrannosaurus rex specimen from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana and served as a preparator in the LACM fossil vertebrate laboratory.

Bradford O. Riney

Education: Clairemont High School, San Diego, CA
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, field mapping, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: briney@sdnhm.org

Mr. Riney has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1981. He has over 23 years of experience in recovering fossils and stratigraphic contextual data from mass-excavation projects in San Diego County. Mr. Riney has developed special techniques for the preparation of large fossil vertebrates (e.g., dinosaurs and whales) and is responsible for pioneering the use of video for recording paleontological field data. He has co-authored several scientific articles describing the geologic context of important paleontological discoveries in San Diego County.

Patrick J. Sena

Education: U.S. Navy attached to USMC as Corpsman; served in Desert Storm; honorable discharge 1992; Geological coursework Foothill Community College
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, fossil preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist III 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego; Paleontological Certification, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; HAZWOPER Certified 
Email:psena@sdnhm.org

Mr. Sena has worked as a field paleontologist for PaleoServices since 1995. Pat is very experienced in recovering fossils from mass excavation projects in San Diego County; especially familiar with working around heavy earth-moving equipment. Personally responsible for discovering and preparing hundreds of significant vertebrate fossil remains. Completed paleontological certification course requirements at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Melissa K. Soetaert

Education: B.A. Biological Anthropology (University of California, San Diego), B.A. Theatre Arts (University of California, San Diego)
Project Responsibilities:Contract management, office management, human resources.
Title: Office/Curatorial Manager

Melissa has worked for the Department of PaleoServices since 2001 and has greatly streamlined the management of contracts and improved communication with clients and planning professionals. Her responsibilities include contract negotiation, contract management, insurance coordination, field and laboratory labor reconciliation, and client liaison. Melissa also has a strong working knowledge of paleontological mitigation from her years working in the laboratory and field.

Donald R. Swanson

Education: Undergraduate work (University of Denver)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring, specimen preparation
Title: Paleontological Specialist II 
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: dswanson@sdnhm.org

Mr. Swanson has worked as a professional paleontological monitor and fossil preparator since 1984. Before that he worked as a professional archaeological excavator. He has extensive experience in monitoring pipeline excavation operations and has developed special procedures for effectively communicating with trench and tunnel excavation crews. Mr. Swanson has served as a board member of the Fort Guijarros Museum Foundation and is currently a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Don completed OSHA training in the identification of hazardous materials in construction settings and serves as the department’s Safety Officer.

Nicolle K. Anderson

Education: B.S. Geology (Brigham Young University).
Project Responsibilities: Fossil preparation, laboratory supervision, records search preparation. 
Title: Lead Fossil Preparator
Certification: Qualified Paleontological Monitor, City of San Diego
Email: nanderson@sdnhm.org

Ms. Anderson worked as a fossil preparator for Brigham Young University’s Museum of Paleontology from 2004-2008.  In addition to fossil preparation, she has comprehensive experience in conducting field surveys for fossils, fossil excavation, and paleontological monitoring.  In 2012 she began full time work as a fossil preparator in the fossil preparation laboratory in the Museum.  She has extensive experience in modern fossil preparation techniques of invertebrate, vertebrate, and plant fossils.  Nikki also assists with the preparation of institutional records searches for upcoming projects.

Shelly L. Donohue, SDNHM, (619) 255-0301

Education: M.S. Earth and Environmental Sciences (Vanderbilt University), B.S. Biology; Earth and Space Sciences (University of Washington)
Project Responsibilities: Report preparation, assist with curation of fossil specimens.
Title: Report Writer

Ms. Donohue was hired as a Report Writer and to assist with fossil curation in the Department of PaleoServices at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Shelly conducted research on fossil mammals for both her undergraduate thesis at University of Washington (2010) and M.S. thesis at Vanderbilt University (2013).  She has conducted paleontological fieldwork in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, and has experience in screenwashing bulk sedimentary matrix samples for the recovery and identification of microvertebrate remains.  Her responsibilities include preparation of final paleontological mitigation reports, assessments of impact upon paleontological resources, and curation of fossil specimens into the invertebrate paleontology collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Rodney M. Hubscher, SDNHM, (619) 255-0231

Education: M.S. Geology in progress, (San Diego State University); B.A. Geology and Earth Science (University of Northern Iowa)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring and survey, fossil curation.
Title: Field monitoring and survey, fossil curation.

Mr. Hubscher has worked as a paleontological monitor since 2010 in San Diego and Imperial counties.  He has completed the coursework for the M.S. in Geology program at San Diego State University and is currently working on his thesis. Rodney has extensive experience working on active construction project sites where multiple pieces of equipment are working.  Mr. Hubscher’s responsibilities include field monitoring as well as curation of fossil invertebrates into the collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Evan Martin, SDNHM, (619) 255-0230

Education: B.S. Geology, (San Diego State University)
Project Responsibilities: Field monitoring.
Title: Paleontological Monitor

Mr. Martin has worked as an oil well logging geologist since 2011 in Kern County, where he was responsible for describing the lithology of drill cuttings and creating geological profiles that summarize drilling parameters, detailed lithologic descriptions, petroleum indicators, and chromatograph gas readings.  Evan also has a keen interest in vertebrate paleontology and has conducted morphometric studies of Miocene and Pliocene sharks of the eastern North Pacific region.  He also has curatorial experience at the Museum and has catalogued several collections of regional Miocene marine vertebrates.