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Pearse Lyons, Alltech's president and founder, dies (73)

Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Irish entrepreneur whose vision for improving global agriculture built a multibillion-dollar international business, died March 8. He was 73.

In the late 1970s, Lyons immigrated to the United States with his young family — Deirdre, Aoife and Mark — and a dream. His vision — to sustain the planet and all things living in it by applying his yeast fermentation expertise to agricultural challenges — came to life in his home garage with $10,000.

Today, that vision is put to work by Alltech’s global team of more than 5,000 people around the world. Alltech focuses on improving animal, crop and human health and performance through its innovative use of yeast fermentation, enzyme technology, algae and nutrigenomics. Its mission has always been guided by Dr. Lyons’ early commitment to the “ACE principle” – a promise that the company’s work must have a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer and the Environment.

Dr. Lyons was first and foremost an entrepreneur and tireless innovator, with a keen scientific mind. His scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionize the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to animal feed.

He was widely regarded as an inspirational leader and communicator. He lived with passion and purpose — rising before dawn to begin communicating with colleagues around the world, issuing daily “One Minute Charge” motivational messages and traveling incessantly so he could meet his team members and customers in person.

He built Alltech into the fastest-growing company in the global animal health and nutrition industry through innovative technology and strong branding. Today, Alltech is the only privately held and family-owned business among the top animal health companies in the world.

The company’s reach has also grown far beyond yeast-based additives for animal feed to include award-winning beers and spirits, a crop science business and even promising research into human health challenges, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Lyons was very proud of the company’s privately-owned status and was resolute on keeping it. He was a man who liked to move quickly on opportunities, and he relished the agility and speed that being accountable only to himself afforded him.

Read the full obituary here.

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