Archaeologist Turned Entrepreneur

Jul 14, 2016 | Member Spotlight

Shaune Skinner Celebrates 30 Years of Success With ASC Group, Inc.


When we think of the word “business,” most of us don’t immediately picture an archaeologist with a shovel unearthing hidden artifacts. But that didn’t stop Shaune Skinner. A trained archeologist, she leapt at an opportunity to bring her expertise to the business world and launched Archaeological Services Consultants (ASC) Group, Inc. as a successful cultural and environmental resources consultancy.

After working at the Ohio Historical Society, Shaune was inspired to begin her own business providing archaeological services to the corporate sector in 1986. Since the historical society was doing away with their archaeological services, they gave Shaune and her partner full support by gifting them the organization’s shovels, screens, equipment and even existing clients. Today, ASC has 54 employees in six offices across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan. In addition to archaeological services, ASC now also offers architectural history services and environmental services targeted to clients who are developing and building projects that are linked to federal funding, permits and requirements. To meet the specific needs of each of those areas, every employee at ASC is expertly trained and certified in their niche field. Case in point: Some team members even have PhDs in frogs!

Recently celebrating 30 years in business, it’s clear that Shaune has been successful in growing and building her organization—something she credits to her involvement with NAWBO. As she points out, she is trained in archaeology, but turned to outside experts for help in maintaining and growing her business. “We now have a human resources consultant that we hire who is a NAWBO member, we hired a controller and had an accounting firm do the interviews for the controller,” she says. “We hired a marketing firm from NAWBO. We have been able to fulfill our needs by hiring NAWBO firms to help us with our growth opportunities so we don’t need to take time away from our expertise. By taking that off of our shoulders, it’s given us the time to focus on our business.”

A member of the Columbus chapter since 2009, Shaune has seen the positive outcomes that NAWBO brings to women business owners and served on the President’s Assembly Steering Committee to help strengthen leaders and chapters around the nation. “I felt it was an opportunity for us and my goal was to make the Columbus chapter more aware of what was going on around the country with other chapters. We wanted to grow, so I became connected with other chapters that I could learn from and as a payback, I felt that by being on the board and the assembly, I could help smaller chapters with their growth as well.” That collaboration paid off, as the Columbus chapter is currently the largest chapter in the country.

As the National Women’s Business Conference comes to Columbus in September, Shaune is excited to put her city on display. “The National conference allows you to become aware of what is happening in the country. I’ve been in business 30 years and every time I go to a conference, I learn something about business I never knew before, “ she says. “We plan on showing off our city and I’m really excited about it.”

Looking ahead at her business, Shaune is focused on maximizing growth and expanding to the east coast. ASC is also considering expanding their services to wetland mitigation, which would assist clients with replacing and designing wetlands according to federal regulations.   

While it may not have been an obvious business niche when she started in the 1980s, Shaune has been a trailblazer in her field and hopes that as environmental awareness and regulation improve, so will her continued business success. “It will grow as long as people understand the importance of our environment and that once it’s gone, it’s gone—you don’t have the opportunity to recreate it.”

For more information about ASC Group, please visit


Technology In the Field

Q: How have you stayed on top of technology in your field and how has it benefitted you in your business?

A: “Through the years, our work has become so much easier due to technology because in our field you can be in the middle of a national forest. Now we use GPS equipment. We input where we are and what we found and that’s digitally created in a map. A lot of things we do are related to cemeteries or burials, so you now take a machine that passes over the ground and reveals clues about what is beneath the surface. It can show you if there’s a burial there or an old coffin or a house pattern. Back when it might take us days to survey, now it takes us maybe half a day at the most.”


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