One of agriculture's most
Irish and international agriculture has lost a true
friend with the passing of Dr Pearse Lyons last month.
He was the founder and president of Alltech, a
global health and nutrition company that is centred
on innovation, research and development.
Dr Lyons started Alltech in 1980 from his garage, building
it up to a global company with offi ces in 128 countries
and annual revenues of $2.5bn. His can-do attitude was
the driving force behind Alltech, which now employs
5,000 people across the globe. Dr Lyons was considered
an entrepreneur, a salesman, marketer and scientist all
rolled into one, and was widely regarded in the agri-
business sector as an innovator and industry leader.
His incredible journey started in Dundalk. A graduate
in biochemistry from University College Dublin (UCD),
Dr Lyons' early career was in brewing, working in Harp
Lager in Dundalk. He joked many times in my company
about starting an MBA at UCD, but never getting
around to completing it. He did fi nd time, however,
to take a masters in brewing science and a PhD in
biochemistry from Birmingham University. After his
initial experience gained with Harp, Dr Lyons moved
to Irish Distillers, leaving to found Alltech in 1980.
Dr Lyons' day started at 4am, whether he was in Dublin
or in Alltech's US base at Lexington. His energy was
infectious. One of his proudest moments was becoming
the title sponsor of the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian
Games, which were held in Kentucky in 2010. A proud
Irishman, Dr Lyons tried to bring the games to Ireland in
2014, but the little matter of austerity got in his way.
He continued to support Ireland and his love of brewing
by establishing the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair. His
intervention at the time has helped shape micro-brewing in
In 2009, Alltech and the Muhammad Ali Centre, Kentucky,
announced the creation of a joint education and charitable
fund. When most humanitarians poured into Haiti after the
7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010, what they saw
was the rubble. Dr Lyons' global agri-business company put
boots on the ground in northern Haiti in the fi rst weeks after
the quake, and vowed to remain there for the long haul. The
Alltech founder, who made dozens of visits to Haiti since the
quake, promptly identifi ed and implemented a strategy to
resurrect Haiti and propel it on a fast track to the future. His
support for the children of Haiti continues today.
A true entrepreneur, Dr Lyons always saw the solution to the
problem. His willingness to help people in need singled him
out as an exceptional man, a true gentleman.
Dr Lyons was named Business Person of the Year in 2012 by
Business & Finance in Ireland. Also in 2012, Lyons received the
Ireland-US Council's Award for Outstanding Achievement
for strengthening economic ties between the US and
Ireland. His contribution to Ireland, both domestically and
internationally, was recognised by the Royal Dublin Society
in 2013, with the then Society's president Matt Dempsey
presenting the RDS Gold Medal to him. Dr Lyons authored
more than 20 books and numerous research papers for
scientifi c journals.
A driven man, he will be sadly missed by those who knew
him. He was married to Deirdre and they have two children,
Mark and Aoife. Mark is vice-president, corporate aff airs, at
Alltech. A memorial mass will take place on Saturday, April
14, 2018, at 1pm in St Peter and Paul's Church, Dunboyne,
Co Meath, in memory of Dr Lyons. His family kindly wish to
welcome his friends and sympathisers to join in celebrating
May I off er our condolences to his family his wife Deirdre,
daughter Aoife and son Mark.
Dr Pearse Lyons,