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EAST LANSING, MI -- Tom Lyons has been named director of the Michigan State University Product Center. He is also a professor in the MSU Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.

“The Product Center has played an important role in the food, agriculture and natural resources economy in Michigan,” said Ron Hendrick, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Dr. Lyons will bring new ideas and new energy to help meet the demands of the Product Center’s clients and the Michigan economy.”

Lyons, who began both roles Sept. 1, was previously the Lawrence N. Field Family Chair in Entrepreneurship and a professor of management at Baruch College, The City University of New York. He holds degrees from Butler University, Loyola University and the University of Michigan.

Lyons brings with him 30 years of experience and an international reputation for community-based entrepreneurship development. His Entrepreneur Lead System (ELS) is heralded as one of the best coaching systems for budding and growing business owners. ELS categorizes entrepreneurs by skill level to ensure they get the help that suits their needs ‒ whether it be one-on-one business counseling, peer group mentoring or community coaching, which brings all participating levels together.

Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension, said that he expects Lyons’ experience in supporting and managing several start-up companies will help the Product Center continue in the strong growth pattern set by previous director Chris Peterson.

“Dr. Lyons’ research and outreach efforts have made him a well-known thought leader,” said Dwyer. “I’m confident that he will bring national attention to MSU, and will help MSU Extension extend the reach and expertise of the Product Center. There is tremendous potential in food and agriculture, and Dr. Lyons is poised to provide leadership to facilitate entrepreneurship and business development in these areas.”

Chris Peterson has led the MSU Product Center since its founding in 2003. He will return to his research roots and will remain the Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the MSU Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.

"Dr. Tom Lyons is an excellent addition to our staff, and I’m confident that the center will continue to thrive and reach higher heights under his leadership,” said Titus Awokuse, chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. “Special thanks goes to Dr. Peterson, the outgoing Product Center director, who has done an exceptional job in providing visionary leadership in the establishment and expansion of the center since its inception in 2003.”

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