Wearing many hats, administrative director keeps center moving

"Chris Lyon"

Chris Lyon | Administrative Director | Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis

Chris Lyon wears many hats at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

As administrative director, he provides support to researchers by assisting with grant proposal preparation, providing guidance on budgeting, managing personnel, and communicating with external stakeholders. 

“In the end, I’ve decided he’s the secret sauce in all things CEBC. He’s not often out in front, but he is successful at working behind the scenes to organize and coordinate our efforts in nearly everything we do,” said Jane Johns, CEBC business manager. 

The depth of Lyon’s experience is a key component of his success. He has been with CEBC since its inception as a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in 2003. CEBC leadership noted that Lyon has led the search for every staff member associated with the center. He also helped prepare the proposal that brought the first federally funded research center to KU, which was the largest ever federal grant in the state at the time. 

“Chris has had his fingerprints on nearly every successful grant proposal in the history of the CEBC, totaling nearly $75 million,” said Bala Subramaniam, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and CEBC director.

Lyon is exceptional at cultivating relationships both within and outside the university, colleagues say. He organizes the semiannual industry advisory board meeting to ensure that CEBC research and innovation outcomes are effectively disseminated to member companies for feedback and guidance. These meetings help companies see the value of their partnership with the university and CEBC specifically. Lyon applies the same care when interacting with colleagues. 

“He always acts as a caring colleague, showing genuine interest in my life outside of work and at work,” said Alan Allgeier, associate professor of chemical & petroleum engineering and CEBC deputy director. "I really enjoy working with him because he’s always respectful of every colleague with whom he interacts."