Paul C. Murphey, Ph.D, Vice President and Director of Rocky Mountain Operations
Dr. Paul C. Murphey is a principal investigator and director of operations for Rocky Mountain Paleo Solutions, with expertise in the sedimentary geology and Paleogene fossil record of the western interior of North America. He earned a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences with an emphasis in vertebrate paleontology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001. His pre- and post-doctoral professional experience includes appointments as the Collections Manager of Paleontology, Geology and Osteology in the Geological Section of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History; instructor in the Museum and Field Studies Program at the University of Colorado Museum, and graduate faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado. Subsequently he was an Associate Curator in the Department of Paleontology and the Associate Director of the Department of PaleoServices at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He was the Principal Paleontologist of the Paleontological Resources Program at SWCA Environmental Consultants for 11 years, and the Director and Principal Investigator of Rocky Mountain Paleontology since 2000.
Dr. Murphey has been supervising paleontological resource impact mitigation projects in the western United States for approximately 20 years. His project experience includes interstate oil and gas pipelines and transmission lines, oil and gas well fields, large solar and wind farm projects, highways and railroads, 3D geophysical investigations, and residential and commercial land development. He is currently a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Department of Paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum. His current research is focused on the evolutionary history, paleoecology, paleoenvironments, and depositional history of middle Eocene mammals and associated strata of the Bridger Formation in Wyoming, the Uinta and Duchesne River formations in Utah, and the Santiago Formation and related rock units in San Diego County, California. In addition to his record of research and resulting publications, Dr. Murphey and colleagues recently published the first comprehensive set of best practices for the mitigation paleontology industry. During the course of his 20 years working in museums and as a paleontological resource consultant, Dr. Murphey has earned an excellent reputation with private sector project applicants, the BLM, the USFS, state agencies, regional natural history museums, and the environmental consulting industry due to his high scientific standards and passion for the fossil record and geology of the western United States.
Geraldine Aron, MS, President, Project Manager, Paleontological Principal Investigator
Andrew Hernandez, Operations Manager
For the past ten years, Andrew managed and was responsible for all aspects of finance, marketing, information
technology, contract administration, proposal development, and risk management at a small firm within the AEC industry. He earned his B.A. in Business Administration from Chapman University and his MBA in Business Administration, Corporate Finance at California State University, Fullerton graduating with magna cum laude honors from both universities. He maintains a thorough understanding of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), General Service Administration policies and procedures (GSA Schedule), federal government invoicing platforms (WAWF, IPP), time and materials, firm fixed price (FFP), and cost plus contracting. Though not a paleontologist or archaeologist, he loves being involved in the environmental services industry, especially in the preservation of our natural and cultural resources. At Paleo Solutions, Andrew is tasked with developing and implementing marketing strategies, proposal management, guidance and mentoring of accounting operations, and conducting business development generation, as well as data mining research in order to find and solicit target market and sector leaders.
Kate Zubin-Stathopoulos, Field Paleontologist
Dane Miller, Field Paleontologist
Upon graduating from Seattle University in 2004, Dane spent the following two years on the Big Island of Hawaii working as a naturalist guide and high school teacher. A compelling opportunity to study fossil plants at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) drew him back to the mainland. Dane was hired as a paleobotany research assistant for the Denver Basin Project, a comprehensive NSF-funded study to understand the geologic history and fossil ecosystems of the Denver Basin at the end of the Cretaceous and beginning of the Paleogene. His primary task was morphotyping fossil leaves based on vein architecture, and he contributed to the ongoing paleoecological and plant evolution studies that are part of this Project.
Working alongside paleontology curators at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Dane became connected within the paleobotany community and he landed a position at the Smithsonian Institution of Natural History. In 2007, he was hired by Dr. Scott Wing at the Smithsonian as lab manager. His primary task was to repair cleared leaf slides in the National Cleared Leaf Collection (NCLC). This collection is a modern botanical reference used by botanists and paleobotanists for understanding leaf venation and its relation to taxonomy and phylogeny. In addition to collections and conservation work, Dane explored the morphological variations of the dicot angiosperm leaves and their venation architecture.
In the fall of 2010 and the summer of 2011, Dane played an integral role in the recovery of an extraordinary paleontological discovery of a buried, late Pleistocene fossil-filled lake filled that was found near Snowmass Village, Colorado. The salvage of this rare discovery, known as the Zeigler Reservoir fossil site, was led by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The DMNS team unearthed an unparalleled collection of fossil plants and animals from a series of stacked and exquisitely preserved ecosystems that existed between approximately 130,000 to 60,000 years ago. The Zeigler Reservoir fossil site has been recognized as the most diverse high-elevation Pleistocene site in North America and one of the most important paleontological discoveries in Colorado’s history. Building on his work on the Zeigler Reservoir fossil site, Dane joined Dr. Stephen Jackson’s Quaternary Plant Ecology Lab at the University of Wyoming in the fall of 2011 as his master’s student. His master’s thesis research explored the morphology, morphometrics, and taxonomic placement of the fossil conifer cones recovered from the Zeigler Reservoir fossil site.
With the breadth of his fossil salvage experience and his paleontological knowledge, particularly with regard to paleobotany, Dane joined Rocky Mountain Paleo Solutions in 2014. His consulting experience thus far includes paleontological surveys for oil and gas development in the Uinta Basin in Utah, and for solar farm construction in the Mojave Desert of California.
Courtney Richards, Field Supervisor / Assistant Project Manager
Courtney Richards is a Field Supervisor and Assistant Project Manager at Rocky Mountain Paleo Solutions. She earned a M.S. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in paleontology from Marshall University in 2011, and a B.S. in Earth and Space Sciences from the University of Washington in 2006. Prior professional experience includes appointments as the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Assistant at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and Paleontology Supervisor and Assistant Field Director at Cogstone Resource Management Inc. Ms. Richards is a qualified paleontologist with research, field and laboratory experience. She has conducted paleontological field work in Mesozoic, Eocene, and Oligocene formations in Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, and Pleistocene and Pliocene deposits throughout California. She is experienced with the supervision of field crews, conducting paleontological surveys, geologic mapping, fossil salvage and laboratory preparation, construction monitoring, and sample processing in accordance with project-related paleontological mitigation plans for transportation, water, energy, and development projects. She is an extremely valuable addition to the Rocky Mountain Paleo Solutions team with her experience and breadth of knowledge.