Featured Alumnus: Harry Lyons ’11


Featured Alumnus: Harry Lyons ’11

Featured Alumnus: Harry Lyons ’11

When Harry Lyons ’11 transferred to Avon Old Farms as a sophomore from St. Thomas More School, he was not the first Lyons to do so: his brothers Ben ’06 and Andrew ’07 had also made the move. For each boy though, it was the right move at the right time.

“When I would visit my brothers at Avon I could always sense the community, even as a 10-year-old who was in awe of the Harry Potter-like architecture. Attending pep rallies and football games with students in face paint streaming out of the woods carrying tiki torches, cheering crowds showed me the real spirit of the school and got me excited for the day when I would be a high schooler. At the time, I didn’t realize how unique that was to Avon.”

When Harry did join the Avon brotherhood, he landed in Brown House and eventually became a monitor in Pelican Dormitory. As the youngest of four sons in a five-year span, Harry was used to the chaos that sometimes filled the dorms. But he also found comfort and a familial atmosphere among the faculty: Art Mehos became a strong mentor, as did Major John Bourgault.

“I never did well in Art Mehos’s class; he was one of the most challenging instructors I have ever had. But his high expectations, humor, and bluntness clicked with me right away. In a new environment, Art was someone I looked up to, and someone I could talk to while I was away from home. It’s been over 12 years, but it’s a bond that is still alive and well today.”

Major Bougault, too, has stayed a close friend over the years.

“Going into the winter of 2008-09, I knew that my limited experience with backyard pond hockey wasn’t going to earn me a spot on Coach Gardner’s bench … After signing up for the swim team, it was Blaise Rosati ’11 and Major Bourgault that guilt-tripped me into joining the wrestling team, which ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. Having never wrestled previously, over the next three years Major molded me into a competitor worthy of rankings at the state, New England, and national levels. More than winning, however, I’m grateful for the life lessons and character development he instilled in me. Major is responsible for molding me into the confident person I am today."

In addition to wrestling, Harry also received accolades on the football and lacrosse teams. His senior year, he captained all three: varsity football, varsity wrestling, and varsity B lacrosse.

“Avon was a perfect fit for me in terms of being able to balance my passion for athletics with cultivating healthy academic habits,” Harry said.

After graduating from Avon in May of 2011, Harry quickly began an internship at Suffolk Construction, a general contractor based out of Boston, Mass. It was an opportunity to see how a large corporation works before diving into his college career that turned into something much bigger.

“I had enrolled at Bryant University after receiving a football scholarship,” explained Harry. “But, I had some health issues, and I ended up transferring to Northeastern. There, I took advantage of the co-op program: I had the opportunity to complete three eight-months co-ops of my choosing. Having already started to forge a path at Suffolk, I decided to continue building that relationship. While in school studying communications, business management, and construction management; I worked project rotations that involved estimating, field supervision, project management, strategy, and more.” He has worked on building projects including The Victor, in Boston, The Radian, in Boston.

“I cannot say enough about the co-op program. It prepared me for the real world, especially with my ability to work with the same company for each of my co-ops. It accelerated my career and allowed me to build strong relationships within the company. As a kid I never would have guessed I would be working in construction industry, but what started as an opportunity is now a strong passion."

Prior to starting work full-time after graduation, Harry and two friends shoved off on a four-month camping road trip of North America.

"We aimlessly traveled 36 states, three countries and 15,000 miles in search of adventure. Primarily sleeping in hammocks in national forests, national parks, state parks, Native American reservations, and bureau of land management areas."

They also managed to live on a beach in Mexico for five days, eating mussels harvested from the reef right offshore, (supplemented by Ramen noodles and local tequila).

By 2016, Harry not only graduated with his degree, but also had five years of experience with Suffolk. He was hired on as a project engineer to build the $2.4B Wynn Boston Harbor Casino (now Encore), the largest private construction project in the history of Massachusetts.

Currently, Harry is in Montana working on the project management team as the cost manager to Suffolk’s $400M Montage Big Sky development. His project team is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the construction site, management of vendors and trade partners, project financials, as well as liaison to the architect, designer, and ownership group.

As an industry leader in innovation, Suffolk utilizes a variety of advanced technology and planning to transform the construction experience for their clients. Suffolk’s plan & control process allows Suffolk, its trade partners, and its clients to collaborate earlier and better on design options by using technologies that can identify conflicts before construction and determine the optimal sequence of tasks given design, schedule constraints, and cost.

“What I like most about the construction industry is working on high performing teams with high performing people.  The output of these teams have tangible results, which make it all that much more rewarding when a job is completed successfully.”

His move west is also an example of how well the Avon brotherhood can help when you are far from home:

“When my former roommate Ollie Rothmann '11 found out that I was moving, he insisted I get in touch with the family of his former AOF advisee. When I got out here, that was the first call I made was to the Winsor family. Becca, Charlie, David, and I swapped Avon stories becoming fast friends, while Tom and Lori Winsor welcomed me into their home as if I were one of their own. When I met David, he was wrapping up his senior year playing lacrosse at the University of Denver and expressed interest in my line of work. He then went on to receive his master’s degree at the University of Denver School of Real Estate and Construction Management. Today, David is a fellow Suffolk team member working on the Montage in Big Sky. The Avon network is one of the greatest gift Avon can give you.”

In addition to working hard at Suffolk, Harry remains committed to giving back to the Avon community, which he holds near and dear to his heart. In 2016, Harry was nominated to join the National Council, a volunteer association of select, dedicated alumni, parents, and friends formed to promote Avon and to provide guidance and support to the head of school and Board of Directors. 

“It has been an honor to be a part of the National Council these past few years. Each member of the Council holds a special place in their heart for Avon, so being able to support the school is extremely rewarding for each of us."

In recent years, Harry has been fortunate to work closely with John-Oliver Beirne ’03, Luke Archambault ’04, and Robin Delnicki on Avon’s institutional advancement.

“It’s a lot of fun when alumni return to Avon and engage with current students. It helps lend perspective on where we came from, and where we are today.  Like many Avonians, I owe all the thanks in the world to my family who helped enable me to become a Man of Avon.”

We look forward to welcoming Harry and our other alumni back to campus soon, as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing from you and what you’ve been up to since graduating!