LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Pat Fitts announced Wednesday he will retire from the AGFC effective June 30, 2021.
Fitts has been AGFC’s director since replacing Jeff Crow on January 1, 2018.
According to a news release sent by AGFC, Fitts is the agency’s 18th director in the commission’s 105-year history.
According to AGFC, Fitts began working for the agency at Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery while he was in high school. He then left the agency for four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Arkansas Tech in Russellville. After graduation, he returned to work in the AGFC fisheries division.
During his AGFC career, Fitts served the agency as a fish culturalist, fisheries biologist, enforcement officer and administrator. AGFC officials say the diversity of jobs allowed him to work across the state in many different roles for the agency.
“While in my mind it seems like yesterday, it has literally covered a span of 36 years,” Fitts said in correspondence with the AGFC staff Thursday. “It is my true belief that each stop on my career path prepared me for the next. I have been blessed to learn under great leaders and work alongside talented coworkers.”
Commission Chairman Andrew Parker spoke about Fitts’ integrity and humble nature during a Commission meeting at Little Rock Headquarters Thursday.
“Pat has always led from within and stood right alongside the staff of the Commission during his entire career,” Parker said. “He had admiration and loyalty to everyone who served with him, and you can see a genuine return of that loyalty from the staff to him. He gave them the confidence to do their jobs to the best benefit of the natural resources of Arkansas and that sort of leadership will be extremely hard to replace.”
Fitts said the announcement is to make sure the agency had time to conduct a thorough search for its next director.
“I want nothing less than a smooth transition in this position,” Fitts said. “I will always love this agency and its mission.”
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