RANDY ZELLARS/ AGFC Assistant Chief, Communications
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Pat Fitts announced yesterday that he will retire from the AGFC effective June 30, 2021. He has been the agency’s director since replacing Jeff Crow on Jan. 1, 2018.
Fitts is the agency’s 18th director in its 105-year history.
Fitts began working for the agency at Joe Hogan Fish Hatchery while in high school. He left the agency for four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. After graduation, he returned to work in the AGFC fisheries division. During his AGFC career, he has served the agency as a fish culturalist, fisheries biologist, enforcement officer and administrator. This 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 today. “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 commented about Fitts’ integrity and humble nature during a brief Commission meeting held at the Little Rock Headquarters today.
“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 today’s announcement was made to ensure the agency had ample 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.”