Governor appoints three new members to governing board of Southwest Florida Water Management District

Two attorneys and truck company owner to represent Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed three new members to the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), which includes Sarasota County in its service area, the District has announced.

The new members are as follows:

  • James Holton of St. Petersburg, president and owner of JWH Properties Inc., MHH Enterprises Inc. and James W. Holton P.A. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and his master’s degree and law degree from Boston University, a news release says.

An attorney with the firm of Hall Booth Smith, Holton has expertise in real estate and transportation, the law firm’s website site notes.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Holton to the Florida Transportation Commission, on which Holton served from 2005 to 2007, his law firm biography points out. Additionally, from 2005 to 2009, Holton was a director of Enterprise Florida, which “is a public-private partnership between Florida business and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the Sunshine State,” his biography adds.

The Hall Booth Smith websites explains Holton’s Enterprise Florida position thus: “Jim worked with the Florida Congressional Delegation, other members of Congress, and numerous state and business leaders to address issues and take steps toward improving the business environment for companies in the infrastructure, defense, banking, and finance industries.”

Holton represents Pinellas County on the SWFWMD board, the District release adds.

  • Dustin Rowland of Dade City, president and owner of Rowland Truck Lines. A 1994 graduate of Zephyrhills High School, Rowland represents Pasco County.
  • Robert Stern of Tampa, a partner and attorney with Trenam Law. Stern earned both his bachelor’s degree in business administration and his law degree from the University of Florida, the District news release says. The Trenam Law website points out that Stern “represents clients in all aspects of real estate, distressed property, and financing commercial work. His practice focuses on commercial real estate, with an emphasis on transactional and financing matters. His clients include developers, lenders, investors, and retailers.”

Stern represents Hillsborough County on the SWFWMD board.

“The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate,” the news release notes.

The 13 members of the board serve four-year terms, the District says on its website.

Joel Schleicher of Sarasota is chair of the governing board, the District website points out, though his term will end on March 1. He represents both Sarasota and Charlotte counties on the board.

“The Governing Board sets policy for the District, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west central Florida to meet the needs of current and future water users while protecting the environment,” the website explains.

SWFWMD is one of five such regional agencies in the state, its website points out.