Scott Barthelmass, President of Barthelmass Painting, is the Kirkwood – Des Peres Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 Citizen of the Year.
Scott's journey has been one of entrepreneurship and community integration, influenced by the values of generations before him. "Barthelmass Painting is a family business, but it's also located in the city where we live, and we want to add value," he adds. "If the community succeeds, so does the business. I want people to have the opportunity to work with a company that's been around a long time."
Beyond the brush strokes of paint, Scott and his family have woven a rich history of community service. Scott acknowledges his family's commitment to Kirkwood: "My mom and dad, and the whole family always strive to improve the community."
Barthelmass Painting is a family-owned business with a legacy dating back to when Scott's great-grandfather started the company in 1923. Scott reflects on this remarkable journey, emphasizing the significance of transitioning the company past the second generation. As the fourth-generation owner, Scott has confronted numerous challenges, including a battle with cancer, the global impact of COVID-19, and the ongoing hurdles of supply chain issues and labor shortages. Despite these obstacles, there have been moments of triumph, with the company earning recognition from American Paint Contractors Top Jobs in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
Reflecting on his early days as a young painter, Scott fondly remembers working alongside his father, who initially tried to dissuade him from joining the family business. "My dad had me paint the steel on the roof of the Howard Johnsons and then paint the outside of a house on Adams, along the creek where the mosquitoes were," laughed Scott.
Scott wears multiple hats beyond owning the painting company, highlighting his commitment to public service. As the Assistant Chief at the Eureka Fire Protection District, he oversees a vast range of operations. In addition to his firefighting duties, Scott serves as a part-time park ranger for the St. Louis County Park Rangers, contributing to law enforcement and recreational programming in county parks. His role as a National Fire Academy Instructor, Emergency Management Institute Instructor, and member of the Missouri Task Force 1 emphasizes his commitment to education and disaster response on a national scale.
Scott is involved with multiple local organizations. He is the Founder and Past President of the Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Fire Protection Districts, State Director of the Missouri Chapter of Firefighters Cancer Support Network, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, the Missouri Firefighters Memorial Annual Service Operation Triage, and Treasurer of the Kirkwood Industrial Development Authority, among other roles.
In his rare moments of respite from being a servant leader, Scott dedicates his time to volunteering at local events, such as managing logistics for the Greentree Festival. His commitment to causes like the Special Olympics, St. Baldricks, Super Plungers for Polar Plunges, and volunteering at his church, Kirkwood United Methodist, underscores his dedication to making a difference in the community.
Scott is a pillar of the Kirkwood-Des Peres community, embodying the values of legacy, leadership, and community service. The recognition as the 2023 Citizen of the Year is not just an accolade for Scott; it celebrates a century-long Barthelmass family commitment to positively impacting people.
"My mom and dad, and the whole family always strive to improve the community."