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Who We Are

Board & Staff

Candidate Recruitment

The Board is actively seeking interested, conservation-minded leaders to continue the mission of promoting conservation of natural resources through local leadership, education and technical assistance.  The Supervisors, elected by county residents and landowners, help chart the course for soil and water conservation and natural resources management in Licking County.  The Board also provides supervision to the District Administrator, oversight of fiscal decisions and technical expertise.  

The Board is composed of representatives from agricultural and urban backgrounds, educators and technical experts serving a three-year term as public officials.  One Board member elected will begin their service term on January 1, 2024.

Candidate Eligibility and Qualifications

 A supervisor must be at least eighteen years of age and a legal resident of the district in which he/she is elected.

Candidates are considered based on:

• Widespread knowledge of natural resources within the district;

• Leadership ability;

• Knowledge of persons living within the district;

• Complement the existing make-up of the board so that all geographic, educational, gender, ethnic, and land use interests within the district are represented;

• Complement the existing make-up of the board so that both youth and experience are represented;

• Possess an interest in soil and water conservation district affairs; 

• Ability to make time available to adequately perform if elected. The time demanded of a supervisor is considerable.  All supervisors are expected and should feel an obligation to attend:

 - Every district board meeting, both regularly scheduled and special meetings;

- As many SWCD events as their schedule allows; and

- OFSWCD Area and statewide meetings.

The Board meets monthly at the Agricultural Service Center, 771 East Main Street, Newark, Ohio 43055 typically on the second Wednesday of the month at 4:30 pm.  The public is welcome, so please join us for an upcoming meeting to learn about our organization. 

The deadline for submitting a Candidate Information Form to the Nominating Committee is August 5, 2023.   

If a candidate misses the deadline or is not chosen by the Nominating Committee, the potential candidate can also complete a petition to be placed on the ballot.  The Petition Deadline is August 28, 2023.

If you have any questions regarding potential candidates or the election process, please contact Kristy Hawthorne, District Program Administrator at 740-670-5331.

2023 Board Members

  • Seth Dobbelaer - Chair
    Seth Dobbelaer - Chair

    Seth Dobbelaer farms in Newark, Ohio. Serving a second term, he has been a participant in the Licking County River Round Up and is passionate about organic farming. Mr. Dobbelaer has been on the Board of Directors of the United Church of Granville and the Weathervane Playhouse. He has participated as a volunteer for many community efforts. Seth s focused on addressing storm water drainage, fertilizer and pest control runoff, and unchecked mono cropping.

  • Bill Goodman - Secretary/Treasurer
    Bill Goodman - Secretary/Treasurer

    Bill Goodman is a beef & blackberry farmer in McKean Township. Retired from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Bill thinks SWCD has historically done a good job for Licking County taxpayers. Challenges he would like to work on include maintaining technical and financial assistance, addressing the need for conservation practices in highly developed areas, and promoting cost-share programs to assist farmers in pollution abatement activities.

  • Ron Thompson - Fiscal Officer
    Ron Thompson - Fiscal Officer

    Ron Thompson farms in Utica, Ohio. Mr. Thompson is a retired Agricultural Education teacher. He has been affiliated with many local community projects including as a 44-year member of the Hartford Fair Board. If elected, Ron would strive to upgrade educational programs for Licking County residents on the work of the Soil Conservation Service. He also would like to work to enhance the Muskingum and Buckeye Lake watershed programs continuing to monitor fertilizer and nutrient run-off.

  • Kim Byce - Vice Chair
    Kim Byce - Vice Chair

    Kim Byce lives in Granville Township and is the Homestead Coordinator at Denison University. As a mom of three, she knows she is borrowing the earth from her children and theirs. Licking Soil & Water empowers her and other sustainability-minded residents of the county with knowledge and resources to ensure a viable, abundant future for all.

  • Rodney Tornes - Member

    Rodney Tornes - MemberRodney Tornes spent 31 years with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Water Resources in dam safety, water planning, floodplain management and ground water resources, retiring as the Chief of the Division in 2020.

    Rodney sees the biggest natural resources challenges are coming from flooding and erosion due to development pressure, both commercial and residential. The stream degradation due to poor stormwater management and increased run off have a negative impact on all of Licking County’s residents. The Soil & Water’s mission, oversight from the board and fully staffed organization will help mitigate some of these issues.

    Rodney earned his BS in Agricultural Engineering from Ohio State. His farm operation in Liberty township includes livestock, hay, pasture and woodland. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Licking County Sheep Improvement Committee and a Leader of Social Committee at Church of the Ascension in Johnstown.


Through committees, work can be divided so that far more can be accomplished.  Committees typically meet on a quarterly or as-needed basis. Contact us at for additional information.    

Building/Equipment/Safety Committee - Provides recommendations for technology, equipment, rental program, fleet maintenance, building and barn maintenance, and safety policy.  

Budget Committee - This committee oversees the preparation of the annual budget, managing the organization’s investments, setting compensation packages for staff, and oversees the Annual Giving Campaign.

Program Committee - While staff carries out the day-to-day activities that result in the development and implementation of the organization’s programs, the Program Committee is charged with long-range planning and general oversight. Assists with developing and monitoring the Annual Plan of Work and Strategic Plan; volunteers for programs; represents the Soil & Water District at community events.

Policy/Personnel Committee- Reviews & recommends updates to the employee personnel policy ensuring compliance with County, State, and Federal law. Recommends updates to job descriptions and makes suggestions for the staff evaluation process.

Associate Board Members

Associate Board members are concerned citizens who officially volunteer their time to assist the Board and District.  Associate Board Members serve on board committees, help plan, promote and implement district programs, activities, field days, etc., represent the district at various meetings and events, and present district programs to individuals, groups, and organizations.  Contact us to learn more at  

  • Jeffrey Baker
    Jeffrey Baker

    Jeffrey Baker is a resident of Newark and is Science Teacher at Alpha School, a program to rehabilitate students involved with Perry County Juvenile Court. He holds a BA in Biology from Denison University, a BS in Marketing from Liberty University, an MA in Business Management from Regent University, and an MAT in Biology from Miami University. Jeff served on the Board of Supervisors for three years (2015 - 2017). He would like to see increased community awareness about water pollution issues and increased public support of Licking Soil & Water.

  • Jeff Bates
    Jeff Bates

    Jeff Bates is a Professor and Program Coordinator of the Environmental Science, Safety & Health Department at Columbus State Community College. He is a resident of Johnstown. He holds a Ph.D. Geological Science from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in Geology from Bowling Green State University, and a B.A. in Geology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His areas of interest include water quality, soil management and agriculture.

  • Mamie Hollenback
    Mamie Hollenback