|Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District
4505 George Blvd
Sebring FL 33875
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To provide leadership to help people conserve, improve and
sustain the natural resources and environment of Highlands County, Florida
|Dr. John H. Causey. DVM - Chairman
Supervisor Dr. John H. Causey, DVM 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 settled in Lake Placid. For 32 years Causey practiced veterinary medicine and surgery at Citrus Animal Clinic in Lake Placid.
He and his wife of 42 years, Jessie Ann Sheffield of Pahokee, have two grown children; Joanna, a CPA living in Valrico, Fl and Kathryn a commercial real estate broker in Birmingham, Al. They have been blessed with four grandsons. 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 has served on the District Board for several years and is also active in the Highlands County Cattlemen's Assoc., and the Heartland Agriculture Coalition.
108 Lake June Road, Lake Placid, FL 33852, firstname.lastname@example.org
|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 and was elected in 2016 as the newest 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 16 years, Sharla, and their two boys; Joel who is 10 years old and Waylon who is 6 years old. The Smith family is active in Youth Baseball, enjoying the outdoors and attending First Baptist Church of Avon Park.
|Pam Fentress - Secretary/Treasurer
As a citrus grower from the Lake Placid area, Pam Fentress possesses a deep passion for Highlands County and its agriculture industry. As a Supervisor for the Highlands SWCD she holds the position of Secretary/Treasurer and serves the Association of Florida Conservation Districts as its current Secretary/Treasurer. As a member of the USDA Farm Service Agency's County Committee Fentress serves as the Committee Chairman. Fentress sits on the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assoc. Board and the FFVA's Water and Land Use and Advocacy Committees. In addition to her agriculture interests, Pam serves as the Treasurer of the Lake Placid Elementary PTO.
As her numerous board positions reflect, she has always given back to her community by serving; she has received deserved recognition for her dedication: Farm Credit of Florida Leadership Award; Wedgworth Leadership Program for Agriculture & Natural Resources Honorary Director 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. 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. Having served on SWFWMD's Governing Board and Chairman of the SWFWMD Peace River Basin Board for a four year term, Pam brings a wealth of water experience and knowledge to the HSWCD.
Pam is a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture & Natural Resources (Class II) and holds a BS Degree in Management & Marketing. 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. Pam resides in Lake Placid with her ten-year old daughter Tressa.
300 Lost Lake Drive, Lake Placid, FL 33852, email@example.com
|Scott Kirouac - Supervisor
New to the Board of Supervisors in January 2015, Scott Kirouac brings a to the Board a vast amount of knowledge of soils and ornamental landscape nursery production. A graduate of Sebring High School and a former EMS Technician, Scott decided to follow his passion of the agricultural industry by developing, owning and managing Big Sky Growers, Inc. - an Ornamental Landscape Nursery in Sebring. Supervisor Kirouac also works in the wholesale side of the peat industry for a local bulk peat company located in Highlands County - Hillary Peat Company, Inc.
Although being in agriculture production requires much more than the typical 40 hour work week, Kirouac finds time to be an active community citizen in our County. He currently serves as a director on the Highlands County Farm Bureau Board, having held officer positions as Chairman and Treasurer in the past. Also, he currently serves on the American Farm Bureau Issue Advisory Committee for Pest & Invasive Species as a Chairman/Member; a Director on the Heartland Ag Coalition; Past President and current Treasurer/Director for the Highlands Heartland Chapter of the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association; member of the Highlands County Overall Extension Advisory Committee and the Highlands County Horticulture Advisory Committee. A program which benefits under-privileged children during the Christmas holidays, Ag Angels, Inc., was founded and is chaired by Kirouac.
Scott resides in Sebring, has two daughters and six grandchildren.
320 Kite Ave., Sebring, FL 33870, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Doug Deen - Supervisor
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 training. During this time, he earned an AS degree in Industrial Technology from SFCC. 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 and 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 of 20 years, Stacia, have two sons; Bo (14-years old) and Ben (10-years old).
P.O. Box 242, Avon Park, FL 33826, email@example.com
|Commissioner Jim Brooks - County Commission Liaison
Commissioner Brooks brings vast experience in planning and zoning issues, as he has served on the Highlands County Planning and Zoning Commission/Board of Adjustment since 1989, serving as chairman prior to being elected to the County Commission in November of 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, the current General Manager of Reflections on Silver Lake, and Vice President of Saxon Groves, Inc.
He previously served the County as Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Coordinator from 1980-1985. In addition to serving on many other Appointed Boards, Civic Clubs, Community and Professional organizations Commissioner Brooks is a member of First Christian Church of Avon Park.
He lives in Avon Park with his wife Toni D. Brooks and has 2 children and 2 grandchildren
|Drew Pitts - Mobile Irrigation Lab Manager
Drew Pitts, a native of Florida, is the Manager of the District's first Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL), beginning in 2014.
Drew's family located in Polk County when he was small child and Drew still resides in Polk County, raising his family in his hometown of Bartow. Following graduation from Winter Haven High School, he attended Auburn University in Alabama for two years, returning to Florida to seek a career in agriculture. Drew's first position in the farming industry was in ag-management for a Plant City strawberry farm. He later held an irrigation management position for a 2000 acre palm tree farm in south Florida and then to the Lake Ridge Winery as the vineyard manager.
Drew and his wife Sarah have been married for 13 years. They have 3 children; Cheyanne, Luke, and Samuel. In 2008 they moved to Tulsa Oklahoma to attend Bible School for two years. After graduation they then moved to the Marshall Islands and worked with missionaries teaching in an elementary school and in a bible school for Marshall Islands ministers.
It was back in the agriculture industry Drew found himself upon returning to the USA. He worked in sales of irrigation and fertilizer at farms throughout central Florida. Having all the years of farming, irrigation management and irrigation sales experience made Drew the perfect fit for the position of MIL Manager for the District. Producers are pleased we now can offer this free and confidential service to them to assist in conserving the use of water in agriculture production.
Susie Bishop - Executive Director
Susie Bishop began her position as the sole staff member for the District in October, 2012 and brings with her years of experience in agriculture, public government 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 32 years, Nick, reside in Sebring. They have two grown sons, Roland & Drew, a daughter in law, Ashley and grandsons, Hayden & Landon