Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick was sworn in Jan. 14 as state treasurer after a whirlwind of activity and a tight deadline to answer the governor’s call in December.
“Being the treasurer was not even on my radar in November,” he said. “It’s that recent this became a reality.”
The Republican from Shell Knob was chosen on Dec. 19 by Gov. Mike Parson for the role to succeed Eric Schmitt, who was appointed attorney general. Fitzpatrick has served as a representative since 2012, first elected at age 25, to represent Barry County and parts of Stone and Lawrence counties.
While becoming treasurer wasn’t Fitzpatrick’s goal, the decision and transition was a quick turnaround.
He talked to Parson’s staff a couple of times after the November elections about the process and expressed interest in the treasurer position.
Then, it was quiet for a month – until Fitzpatrick’s phone rang in December. It was the governor’s chief of staff. They scheduled a meeting a few days later with Parson at the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City.
They met for an hour, Fitzpatrick said, and talked about the job and his background. The next communication came at a personally inconvenient time.
When he got the call with the treasurer offer around 7 p.m. on Dec. 18, Fitzpatrick was in Children’s Mercy Kansas City, where his kids were being treated for pneumonia.
Upon accepting, he needed to be in Jefferson City for the announcement the following day.
“Logistically, I had to work some things out,” he said. “I didn’t pack a suit at the hospital.”
The acceptance process took about a week, he said.
“Serving as a statewide official is a pretty unique opportunity,” Fitzpatrick said. “If the governor was going to place trust in me to do the job, I should take that opportunity.”
Aside from his elected and appointed state positions, Fitzpatrick is the CEO of MariCorp U.S. LLC, a company he founded in 2003 at the age of 15.
The floating boat dock and boat-lift systems company has dealt with Fitzpatrick’s absence before – beginning with his collegiate studies at the University of Missouri in the late 2000s.
“MariCorp had grown accustomed to me being relatively absent,” he said.
Yet, Fitzpatrick still managed to build it into a multimillion-dollar company. When he graduated in 2010, MariCorp had 30 employees and $4.5 million in annual revenue, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Today, it employs nearly 60, and officials say annual revenue is in the $10 million range.
Missouri state law does not have restrictions on owning a business while serving in the executive branch. According to Missouri Statute Chapter 30.440, the main stipulation is that no state funds may be deposited in a bank in which any one or more of the state treasurer, governor or state auditor holds any outstanding shares of capital stock.
“I’ve been fully focused on being the treasurer,” Fitzpatrick said of taking a step back from his company.
In his partial absence, MariCorp President and Chief Operating Officer Kyle Wilkerson runs the company on 11 acres at 27882 State Highway 39, Ste. 1, in Shell Knob, a peninsula town of 1,379 people on Table Rock Lake.
“Kyle runs the place day-to-day,” Fitzpatrick said. “Kyle and I talk, and if something needs immediate attention, I can take a phone call.
“The vast majority of what I’m doing now is mainly financially related, like approving capital expenditures.”
Wilkerson said he and Fitzpatrick were assigned as roommates in college, and he started working with him in late 2007. He’s been in his current role since 2012.
He also handles human resources and is involved in production.
“I wear quite a few hats,” Wilkerson said. “We’ve kind of over time worked out a system. We were able to adapt and use technology to our advantage.”
With a nationwide service area, the company’s work includes reconstructing the Abbey Marina on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, replacing three storm-damaged docks at the Brady Mountain Marina on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas, and building The Keystone Harbor on Keystone Lake in Oklahoma.
Wilkerson said projects in Kentucky, Detroit and two separate ventures on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, are in the works.
“If there’s fresh water and people want some docks, we’re there,” Wilkerson said.
Fitzpatrick said he did not know Parson before he was elected as a representative in 2012. They’ve since worked together in limited capacities, like budget issues when Parson was lieutenant governor.
“We didn’t have a ton of interaction leading up to this appointment,” Fitzpatrick said.
In the appointment, Parson pointed to Fitzpatrick’s business acumen.
“Scott has built his career, as a small-business owner and legislator, with a proven track record of being a wise steward and protector of the people’s money,” Parson said in a news release.
The treasurer is responsible for managing $20 billion in annual state revenue and $3.5 billion in state investments, maintaining the state’s AAA bond rating and handling $1 billion in unclaimed property, among other duties, according to Mo.gov/treasurer.
The 31-year-old Fitzpatrick played a key role in setting the state’s $28 billion fiscal 2018 budget in his previous role as chairman of the Budget Committee.
“The transition was pretty natural,” he said.
The 2018 compensation for the treasurer is $107,746, according to the Missouri Accountability Portal at Mo.gov.
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