The Management Team – Nautical Division

The scientific professionals of RCG&A’s Nautical Division incorporate tiers of nautical archaeology, remote sensing and marine geology specialists. Their research and compliance foci extend from interior rivers to the Outer Continental Shelf. Supported by award winning Senior Managers, a robust GIS department, and practiced, professional editors and report production staff, the Nautical Division helps spearhead project planning, works to keep agencies on an even keel, clears the deck for real time problem solving, and provides a beacon for field investigations. Our team sets the standards for data analyses and interpretation. Our project documentation and reports are ship shape and Bristol fashion.


Owen Wright, M.A. – Vice President

Mr. Owen Wright has 29 years of cultural resources management experience. He received a B.A. in Anthropology, with a focus in Historic Archaeology, from the University of West Georgia while completing his maritime archaeological studies at Florida State University under the direction of George R. Fischer. Mr. Wright subsequently received the M.A. from the University of Georgia, where his work focused on coastal archaeological contexts and the Outer Continental Shelf. His highly versatile skill-set has proven crucial to many complex, interdisciplinary Section 106, NEPA, and Section 4(f) projects. He is an expert in National Historic Preservation Act compliance, and fully conversant with the application of its implementing regulations (36 CFR Part 800). He also has extensive professional experience with the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 and the Archaeology and Historic Preservation Act of 1974. Mr. Wright’s experience in underwater archaeology includes geophysical surveys, geotechnical evaluations, Phase II excavations, and site mapping; he has had formal training in maritime and historic preservation law. He also is experienced in historic building materials conservation, and in historic viewshed analyses. Prior to joining RCG&A, he designed several successful redevelopment strategies for historic districts applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. A strong proponent of incorporating preservation into resilience planning, he is actively involved in planning efforts for coastal and offshore archaeological sites, historic communities, and landmark properties threatened by sea level rise. Mr. Wright’s prior experience includes stints at the Antonio J. Waring Archaeological Laboratory and the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. He has worked in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.


Steve Schmidt, M.A. – Senior Nautical Archaeologist

Mr. Steve Schmidt has nearly 26 years of commercial subsea experience. He received his B.A. from Towson State University and his M.A. in Maritime History and Underwater Research from East Carolina University. As Senior Nautical Archaeologist, Mr. Schmidt has consulted with numerous federal and state agencies to assist in fulfilling preservation responsibilities for submerged archaeological resources pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Mr. Schmidt’s experience includes surface air supplied diving / dive supervision, multi-component remote sensing survey, and remote-operated vehicle (ROV) work. His project work history includes Phase I, II, and III archaeological projects involving all classes of submerged cultural resources. He is knowledgeable and experienced in remote sensing data collection/processing, 3D bathymetric modeling, and geographic information systems (GIS). Prior to joining the Goodwin team, Mr. Schmidt served as an archaeologist for the U.S. Navy (Naval History and Heritage Command) for eight years and managed such high-profile projects as remote sensing survey of the Omaha and Utah Beach D-Day landings. He has worked in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont.


Jessica Cook Hale, Ph.D. – Nautical Archaeologist

Dr. Jessica Cook holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Anthropology, the Master of Science in Geology, and the Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Georgia. Her work combines geological methods and anthropological and archaeological theory to examine submerged landscapes. A scientific diver for over 15 years, Dr. Cook has extensive work experience with submerged landscapes off the Georgia and Florida coasts. The first Research Fellow named to the University of Georgia’s Wormsloe Institute of Environmental History, Dr. Cook also conducted the first geophysical surveys of the Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah. She has been an Associate Scholar at the Aucilla Research Institute in Monticello, Florida since 2015, and she taught at both the University of Georgia and Emory University. She holds Visiting Scholar status in the Department of Geology at the University of Georgia.  Dr. Cook’s research has focused on coastal populations in now drowned landscapes and their adaptations to sea level rise and climate change. Now submerged former coastal landscapes contain critical data to inform modern responses to changing coastlines. Dr. Cook works across the disciplines of coastal geology, anthropological archaeology, and paleoclimate studies to advance project implementation and policy responses along the coast and on the outer continental shelf. She has authored papers in multiple internationally recognized peer reviewed journals ranging from geoarchaeological studies of lithics from submerged sites to applications of anthropological theory to offshore site predictive model formation.


Christopher Dvorscak, M.A. – Maritime Archaeologist

Mr. Christopher Dvorscak earned his B.A. from Eckerd College and his M.A. from the University of West Florida in Anthropology/Historical Archaeology with a maritime concentration. Mr. Dvorscak has held supervisory positions during remote sensing surveys, low- to zero-visibility underwater site assessments and excavations, and artifact conservation for multiple sites, including Luna’s Fleet of 1559, paddle steamers operating in the lumber and recreation industries, and Civil War steamships. His project experience at RCG&A has consisted of analyzing and interpreting high-resolution geophysical and geotechnical survey data, evaluating submerged cultural resources on or below seabed, and coordinating with federal and state agencies in support of offshore renewable energy and gas pipeline projects, both in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic OCS waters. He holds a multitude of diving certifications including SDI Dive Master, NAUI Advanced Scuba Rescue Diver, and AAUS Scientific Diver.


Daniel Grose, B.A. – Dive Safety Officer

Mr. Daniel Grose holds a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Oneonta and post-baccalaureate credits in archaeology from the State University of New York at Albany. He has 19 years of experience with the Goodwin team, and he is the firm’s Dive Safety Officer and a member of the Dive Control Board. He is a full voting member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and is an Emergency First Responder Instructor, and a Divers Alert Network Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries Instructor. He holds technical diving certifications through Technical Diving International / Scuba Diving International (TDI/SDI) and a certificate from the Paul Hall Maritime Center, Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in Basic Safety – Personal Survival Techniques.


Ashley Himmelstein, M.A. – Nautical Archaeologist

Ms. Ashley Himmelstein, Nautical Archaeologist, has four years experience in cultural resources management. She received the B.A with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Marine Science from SUNY Stony Brook. Her M.A in Maritime Civilizations from the University of Haifa, under Drs. Michael Lazar and Assaf Yasur-Landau, recognized her master’s thesis on using the Frequency Domain Electromagnetic Method to locate buried harbor features along the South Bay of Tel Dor. That research was the subject of a poster session at the American School of Oriental Research Annual Meeting. In addition, Ms. Himmelstein spent multiple field seasons surveying and excavating coastal and underwater portions of the Tel Dor site in Israel, where she also assisted in excavation of what is believed to be the earliest – and now submerged – sea wall in the world, dating 7,000 years old. Her cultural resource management experience has focused along the Atlantic Coast; she also worked for the U.S Forest Service before joining the RCG&A. Ms. Himmelstein holds multiple diving certifications including NAUI Advanced Diver and NAUI Rescue Diver.