Supervisors & Staff
The governing body of a Soil & Water Conservation District consists of five elected supervisors. The office of a SWCD Supervisor is non-partisan and district wide. Candidates are elected in a general election to a four-year term with no term limitations. Supervisors receive no monetary compensation for their public service. A SWCD can hire employees as needed.
Board of Supervisors
Dr. John H. Causey. DVM
Supervisor Dr. John H. Causey, grew up in Palm Beach County. After receiving a degree from University of Florida, he continued his education at Auburn University where he earned a degree in Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation Causey served in the United States Air Force Veterinary Corp stationed in SE Asia.
When discharged from the military, he returned to Florida to practice Veterinary Medicine in Stuart, Belle Glade, and later settled in Lake Placid, Florida. For 32 years Causey practiced veterinary medicine and surgery at Citrus Animal Clinic in Lake Placid. Even though Dr. Causey isn’t practicing anymore, he stays busy managing a family citrus and cattle operation in Hardee, Desoto, and Highlands Counties.
He and his wife of 49 years still reside in Lake Placid, have two adult daughters and four grandsons. Doc is active in the Highlands County Cattlemen’s Assoc., and the Heartland Agriculture Coalition. Dr. Causey is a long-standing Supervisor for the District, having served HSWCD since 2007.
Steve "Smitty" Smith
As a 4th generation Highlands County cattle rancher, Steve Smith brings a lifelong passion for agriculture and appreciation for our natural resources. Smith was elected in 2016 as a Supervisor to join the Board of the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District. Following his graduation from Sebring High School, Steve attended and graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Operations Management. After college, Steve began his career in Agriculture with Super Sweet Farms as a producer of watermelons, followed by joining the Florida operation of Newton Crouch and currently works for Howard Fertilizer in the Sales Division. Steve is an active member on the Board of the Highlands County Cattlemen’s Association and recently served as its Board President. “Smitty”, the name the locals call him, resides in Lorida with his wife of 21 years and their two boys. The Smith family is active in Football, Youth Baseball, enjoying the outdoors and attending First Baptist Church of Avon Park. Steve has served HSWCD since 2016.
As of April 2015, Doug Deen was appointed to Seat 1 on the Board of Supervisors. He is a graduate of Avon Park High School. After graduation, Doug worked as a mechanic for a local Chevrolet dealer where he received extensive training in automotive computer technology. During this time, he earned an AS degree in Industrial Technology from SFCC in Avon Park. Doug also served as an adjunct professor at SFCC in Specialized Electronics Training.
While in high school, Doug was involved in FFA and gained a great deal of respect for agriculture. So, after years at the Chevrolet dealership, Doug was given the opportunity to work for Coca-Cola Foods/Minute Maid in their citrus division. While working for Coca-Cola, he began working on a business degree at Webber College. After a short time in the Avon Park division, Doug was promoted to shop superintendent of the Indiantown grove. His job was to oversee all the equipment used to take care of 8,000 acres (5,000 of which was citrus), and the equipment used to control the Indiantown water district and waterways. Eventually, Coca-Cola Foods was sold to Running W Citrus. Soon after the sell, Doug was promoted to assistant area manager and harvesting superintendent.
In 1994, Doug left Running W and returned to Avon Park where he began working with Barben Fruit Company. He is still with Barben Fruit and his duties include fruit procurement, overseeing harvesting operations and all of the equipment involved with harvesting. Doug is very dedicated to agriculture and eager to see it thrive.
Doug is a member of Avon Park Lakes Baptist Church; serves on the Highlands County Cattlemen’s Association; and is also on the Highlands County Fair Jr. Livestock Committee. He and his wife have two sons and Doug has served the District since 2015.
As a citrus producer in the Lake Placid, Florida area, Pam Fentress possesses a deep passion for Highlands County and its agriculture industry. In addition to being a Supervisor for the HSWCD, Pam also currently serves on the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assoc. Board of Directors where she serves as Chair of its’ Water & Land Use Committee.
Fentress has always given back to her community by serving; she has received much deserved recognition for her dedication: Farm Credit of Florida Leadership Award; Wedgworth Leadership Program for Agriculture & Natural Resources Honorary Director Award & the Eugene Trotter Leadership Award; Dal Hall Memorial Award, the Chamber Charger Award and Outstanding Service Award from the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce; Service Award from Highlands County Citrus Growers, as well as being a past HCCGA Board member, serving as its’ Treasurer and a past member of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s County Committee. Pam is proud to be a Past-President of the Highlands County Farm Bureau, but equally honored to have served as a Past-President for the Lake Placid Jaycees. Adding to the list of service she served the past Treasurer of the Lake Placid Elementary PTO, past Chairman of SAC for Lake Placid Middle School and currently Vice-President of Lake Placid High School SAC. Having served on SWFWMD’s Governing Board and chairing its Peace River Basin Board for a four year term, Pam brings a wealth of water experience, leadership and knowledge to the HSWCD.
Pam is a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture & Natural Resources (Class II), holds a BS Degree from Tampa College and graduated as a Lake Placid Green Dragon. Supervisor Fentress prides herself on serving the citizens of Highlands County with respect, trust, honor, fairness and well thought-out discussion as she works with the District Board to conserve our natural resources and sustain agriculture production for future generations. Having served HSWCD since 2013, Pam resides in Lake Placid with her daughter.
Thomas “T.J.” Wohl was appointed to serve the remainder of Scott Kirouac’s term on the Board of Supervisors following Kirouac’s election to the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners in November 2020. T.J. is a Highlands County native, where his family has been in the cattle business for 60 years. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Finance from Mercer University and a Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law, earning academic distinction at both institutions.
He is a partner at the law firm Swaine, Harris & Wohl, P.A., where he focuses his practice on real estate, commercial business litigation, probate administration and litigation, and local government law. He represents local and statewide agricultural businesses, including ranchers, farmers, and citrus growers. A number of farming and ranching families throughout the Heartland have retained T.J. to counsel them and negotiate the sale of conservation easements to various entities and agencies including, the Department of Defense, United States Air Force, United Stated Department of Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service and The Nature Conservancy. T.J.’s legal excellence and community service have been recognized by Florida Super Lawyers, the Highlands County Bar Association, and Florida civil legal service organizations.
T.J. also serves on the Board of Directors of Rafter T Realty, Inc., a biodiverse ranch and cow- calf operation in Highlands County. His community service efforts include Leadership Highlands, Rotary Club of Sebring, Highlands County and Florida Farm Bureau Federations, Teen Court, and the Highlands County Bar Association.
In his spare time, T.J. enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his wife and two children.
Susie Bishop began her position as the sole staff member for the District in October, 2012 bringing with her years of experience in agriculture, public governmental affairs and public communication.
Previously to taking this position Susie was the Business Development Manager for Atlanticblue/Blue Head Ranch, where she was instrumental in the successful adoption of a Large Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the protection of 50,000 acres of Blue Head Ranch. Prior to her role at Atlanticblue, Susie was the Business Development Manager for Glades Electric Cooperative, Inc., and the Area Director for the Highlands County Division of United Way of Central Florida.
She has always enjoyed giving back to her native community and feels this position will enable her to continue that passion while helping to sustain agriculture production and conserving natural resources. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Warner University and is a recent graduate of the University of Florida Wedgworth Leadership Institute.
Susie and her husband of 40 years, Nick, reside in Sebring. Nick is a 4 th generation Dairy Farmer and Susie provides all the bookkeeping and environmental record keeping service to the family farm. They have two grown sons, Roland married to Marla & Drew married to Ashley. When not busy with the work of the District or the family dairy farm, Susie enjoys spending time with family in the outdoors, especially with grandchildren Hayden (10) &Landon (5) and Kate (2).