Elliott Lyons

Elliott Lyons

Elliott Lyons (MS E)
Director, Severe Service Truck Product Center & Global Defense & Export
International Truck & Engine Corporation

“For me GEM was very significant.  I always knew that I wanted to go to graduate school and pursue advanced studies in engineering.  Coming out of undergraduate GEM facilitated that for me with no worries.”

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At Southern University, Elliott Lyons had options.  He was an outstanding student with honors, scholarships, and rigorous internships already to his credit.  He could have had his pick of employment offers.  Graduate school remained the focus.  “I always knew that I wanted to go to graduate school and pursue advanced studies in engineering.  Coming out of undergraduate GEM facilitated that for me with no worries.  For me GEM was very significant.”

Selected as a MS Engineering fellow in 1988 by General Motors Technical Center, Lyons was accepted to Stanford University.  “GEM as an organization selects the best students.  They give you an opportunity to go to the best schools—anyone of many elite schools and pursue graduate studies in engineering.  Without GEM I wouldn’t have had that opportunity.”

Stanford and GM challenged Lyons’ further.   He persevered by remembering his mother Mamie Lyons had taught him and his twin brother Vincent that life only gave you what you had the courage to demand.  He offers similar advice about graduate school.  “First and foremost, set your sights high.  Don’t think that obtaining a graduate degree is insurmountable, not matter what financial background you come from.  Be driven.  If you want it the money’s there.  GEM is the type of organization that will make the opportunity available for you but you have to want it; you have to have the desire to pursue advanced studies in science and engineering.  And it doesn’t have to end at the master’s level.”

After graduation he excelled within GM as an engineer and manager.  Now in a top spot at International, Lyons is an expert in product design and development and business unit operations.  He is responsible for global product development for the $950 million severe service truck division which includes all cross functional program and product management activities for the company’s Class 8 On/Off Highway commercial trucks and Export Tractors that serve such markets as Construction, Waste Collection, Government, Logging, and Military.

The GEM fellowship was a transformative experience for Lyons.  He believes it can be the same for others who don’t question the chance, but seize it:  “What’s in it for GEM is opportunity to be a part of the educational maturation of a lot of our scientists and engineers.”

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