Meet the Board

Joel Caswell

Chairman and Board Member

Joel Caswell is the Founder and CEO of Siskiyou Cascade Resources and FiberSight Technology – both local companies based in the Rogue Valley.  Joel has extensive experience with sustainable forest management practices, and is an active member in the forestry community.  Growing up actively involved in the great outdoors gave him an unique perspective on the importance of creating, managing, and protecting outdoor environments to be enjoyed by all.  He is also a board member of Mt. Ashland Racing Association – a non-profit ski racing club for youth- and regularly volunteers to coach local athletes.  As a successful business owner, he has substantial knowledge with the systems necessary for an organization to function smoothly and productively.  He lives in the Rogue Valley, and is involved with several local organizations.

Ray Prag

President and Board Member
Ray Prag received a B.A. in Botany from the University of Wisconsin, followed by an M.S. in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis. His masters work was especially concerned with plants for revegetation. The combination of botany and horticulture and a great love of plants provided Ray with an excellent basis for growing a wide variety of plants from all over the world. He and his wife developed Forestfarm Nursery, which produces over 5,000 kinds of plants and has become one of the largest mail-order offerings in the country. He has now retired from Forestfarm to work on the development of Pacifica. Ray has been the Williams observer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 1975 and reports a monthly summary of the Weather which is posted on the local web bulletin board Joslist. He was a member of the Williams Town Council for nineteen years.

Dr. Lee Price

Treasurer and Board Member
Dr. Lee Price retired as the managing Director of Dresdner RCM Global Investors in the year 2000. Dr. Price was with Dresdner RCM Global Investors since 1972, becoming a Partner in 1976. During his tenure he filled the positions of financial analyst, Equity portfolio manager, economist, strategist and director of MIS. Dr. Price has a B.S. from Stanford in Engineering, an M.S. from MIT in Nuclear Engineering, and a Ph.D. from Stanford in Business.

Peg Prag

Secretary and Board Member
Peg Prag received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. In partnership with her husband, she created Forestfarm, one of the top-rated mail-order nurseries in the country. In the beginning, Peg shared every task necessary to grow plants, modeling her commitment to hands-on learning. Now retired from Forestfarm, she was instrumental in the design and development of a computer system to track inventory, orders, plant work, client base and other functions necessary to support the nursery.  She is an artist and founder of the Pacifica Arts Guild. Ray and Peg have lived in Williams, Oregon since 1974. She and Ray were co-founders of the Williams Community Scholarship Fund.

Dr. Rodger Miller

Vice-President and Board Member
Dr. Rodger Miller retired to Williams, Oregon in 1994. Prior to that, he practiced general dentistry in Vacaville, California, for 25 years. Dr. Miller graduated from the University of the Pacific School of  Dentistry in 1969. He then completed a tour of duty at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego and a year in Vietnam as a Navy dentist attached to the Marine Corps. He began his private practice in 1970 and over the years served as Ethics Chairman and later as the president of the Napa-Sonoma Dental Society.  Dr. Miller also operates Williams Valley Ranch, an organically-oriented farming operation producing row crops and grass-fed cattle. Dr. Miller has been planning and creating challenge course equipment for Pacifica.

Sylvia Branzei-Velasquez

Board Member

Sylvia has devoted her life to education. Her background ranges from formal to informal teaching, tutoring individuals to presenting to hundreds, writing curriculum to editing textbooks, supervising student teachers to evaluating programs.

Sylvia wrote the bestselling Grossology books. Grosslogy was translated into a dozen different languages, became touring museum exhibits, a CD rom, and a fullsome movie. Sylvia is also the author of the Ickstory series and the Rebel in a Dress series. She has written curriculum guides for Project Create, NASA-SETI and the Department of Energy.

Sylvia is a Ford Family Foundation Leadership Program graduate and served as an assistant program trainer. She has served two terms on the Josephine County Library Board of Trustees.

She and her husband, Byron, have a kid’s band called Wacky Dog. Currently, they are living in and renovating an old Mormon church in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon.

Kay Johnson

Board Member

I have been a resident of Williams for 20 years and have covered many miles of trail in the surrounding mountains but nothing beats the trails through Pacifica Garden. In 2004 I obtained permission to organize a benefit ride for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital on the ranch. From that time on I was hooked on Pacifica. My goal has been to develop as many trails for both horses and hikers as I could throughout the property. To this date we have cleared and marked about 7 miles of trails. Being on the board of directors for Pacifica has given me insight as to how Pacifica is governed and what the goals are along with the needs to achieve these goals.

Liz Butler

Board Member

Liz Butler is currently enrolled at Rogue Community College in an Associate of General Studies program (with a marketing focus), as well as pursuing web development & web design certificates. Her goal is to marry strategic business planning with the ability to manifest those plans graphically and online for ad agencies, in-house marketing teams, or freelancing for local cottage industries. She is honored to have a role on the Pacifica board, and looks forward to how she can help get the word out about Pacifica and their programs.

David Shiah

Board Member

David Shiah has a degree in Mathematics and an extensive history in conservation and environmental protection. A former Executive Director of a Maine non-profit, he has been a founding member as well as a board member of several conservation organizations. Having worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to help preserve millions of acres of land in Alaska, he moved to Maine and was elected to the Maine legislature, serving for a decade, including a term as House Majority Whip.  Upon first setting foot on Pacifica/ ForestFarm, he was immediately taken by the beauty, serenity and openness of this special place and vowed to become involved in stewarding this unique natural oasis. He lives in nearby Murphy, Oregon, and is active with several local issues.

R. Hawk Starkey, Ph.D.

Board Member

R. Hawk Starkey, PhD, has decades of experience specializing in elementary & middle school education and has taught or counseled most every level from pre-school to university. For the last few years, he has been serving in the Medford school system as a Truancy Reduction Counselor for 8th grade students at risk. He also has part-time “Photography” and “Tutoring-Mentoring” businesses.

Hawk has extensive studies in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, and is a U.S. Navy veteran (Aircraft Carrier Hornet, 1956-1960). He has done volunteer work as a motivational speaker/seminar presenter (including at Addiction Recovery Center), and has served as an Oregon State Certified Ombudsman. He also has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and Creative Writing at Southern Oregon University.

Hawk is the author of: “Will The Real Teacher Please Stand Up?”, “The Mysterious Magical Circus Family Kids”, and “The Quantum Field & How It Affects Your Life”. He is also the writer/director of a TV documentary on education.


If you are interested in becoming a board member please feel free to contact us at

“Pacifica is important to me because I grew up in the Santa Clara Valley outside of San Jose, California. Here I enjoyed an ideal childhood, playing in the orchards, pastures and creeks that surrounded my home. I loved being close to nature every day. Sadly, none of that open country exists now. I want to do my part to make sure there will always be quality open space here to enjoy, to learn in, and to play in at Pacifica.” ~
Rodger Miller
Pacifica Board Member