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 51 years continue to 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, representing Seat 4.
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 in Seat 2 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. “Smitty”, the name the locals call him, resides in Lorida with his wife of 23 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 Citrus Growers Association. He and his wife Staci have two sons and reside in Avon Park.
Thomas “T.J.” Wohl was appointed to serve the remainder of Scott Kirouac’s term on the Board of Supervisors in November 2020 and was re-elected without opposition in 2022 to represent Seat 3. 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.
T.J. is a partner at the law firm of Swaine, Harris & Wohl, P.A., where his practice focuses on real estate, commercial business litigation, probate administration and litigation, and local government law. T.J. represents local and statewide agricultural businesses, including ranchers, farmers, and citrus growers. A number of farming and ranching families throughout Highlands County have retained T.J. to counsel them and negotiate the sale of over $24 million in conservation easements and mitigation banks covering nearly 9,000 acres to various entities and agencies including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 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. serves as Chairman of 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.
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 enables 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 graduate of the University of Florida Wedgworth Leadership Institute-Class VIII.
Susie and her husband of 42 years, Nick, reside in Sebring. Nick is a retired 4 th generation Dairy Farmer. They have two grown sons, Roland married to Marla & Drew married to Ashley. When not busy with the work of the District Susie enjoys spending time with family in the outdoors, especially with grandchildren Hayden, Landon, Kate and Luke.