Sarah Amell, owner of ATCRC moved to Olympia when she was nine, so she considers the Pacific Northwest home turf. Early on she planned to study marine ecology, but when she attended South Puget Sound Community College she was introduced to Northwest coast archaeology and hooked.
Sarah’s first hands-on experience as an undergrad was with a wet-site field school on Mud Bay where she studied for the summer. The next year, she was hired back as the Lab Director and Archaeological Site Manager. She continued education focusing on Pacific Northwest Native Studies and Northwest Coast Archaeology, working in cultural resources for a local tribe and earning her Bachelor’s Degree locally from The Evergreen State College. As an advanced underwater diver, she reconnected with her love of the sea by going on to receive her Masters in Maritime Archaeology from Flinders University in Adelaide Australia, where she lived abroad completing maritime archaeology studies and fieldwork throughout Queensland and Tasmania.
Though she always planned on opening her own firm, Sarah assumed that wouldn’t be until she was closer to retirement, but after working for a private consulting firm and then the Washington State Department of Transportation for a few years, she decided to take the leap following the birth of her first child. Sarah says, “It was a good time to try my hand at consulting.”
In 2011, Sarah opened Aqua Terra Cultural Resource Consultants. At first it was just a one-woman shop. She did all of the survey work and assessments on her own for the first year, utilizing a home office workspace. In her second year, she was awarded a year-long cultural resource project for Sound Transit Authority, which she says was a “game-changer.” It allowed her to increase her staff to a total of five, with everyone telecommuting from their own home offices, while meeting on site…