Professor Thomas S. Lyons, Ph.D. Is Bedwell Award Luncheon Keynote

Friday, June 26, 2020

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Professor, Dr. Thomas S. Lyons, is the featured keynote for the 27th annual Mel Bedwell Small Businessperson Award luncheon on Monday, Aug. 17, at the Museum Center at 5ive Points sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners.  Dr. Lyons' topic will be "Thinking and Acting Like an Entrepreneur During the COVID-19 Pandemic." 

The Mel Bedwell Small Business Person of the Year Award luncheon honors an outstanding small business person in Cleveland and Bradley County for their success in six areas: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales, innovativeness of product or service offered, response to adversity and evidence of contributions to the community. The Chamber board of directors renamed the Small Business Person of the Year Award to honor the memory of Mel Bedwell, who was known for his "energy, determination, ingenuity, honesty, enthusiasm and loyalty—all traits necessary for a successful small business owner."

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all,” states Dr. Lyons, Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at UTC. “It has brought challenges to some businesses and opportunities to others. The challenges are well documented and can seem overwhelming, but entrepreneurs know that every challenge is also an opportunity, if approached with the right mindset”

So, what is that mindset and how can it be used to frame problems differently and enable effective action? His presentation will explore answers to these questions and offer examples of entrepreneurs who have successfully pivoted their businesses amid the uncertainty created by the current health crisis.

Dr. Lyons' research interests are entrepreneurship skills measurement and development, the relationship between entrepreneurship and community economic development and social entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of 14 books and numerous articles and papers on these subjects. His co-authored book, "Understanding Social Entrepreneurship," now in its third edition, is a leading textbook on this subject, used at over 80 universities around the world. He was an early scholar of the concept of “entrepreneurial communities,” or “entrepreneurial ecosystems” and he continues to conduct research on this subject.

In 2011, Dr. Lyons received the Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award from the Community Development Society. He is a practicing entrepreneur, who has co-founded two companies. He holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The event begins at noon and the cost, which includes lunch, is $25 for individual tickets and $200 for corporate tables of eight. Attendance is limited, register online at the community calendar at www.clevelandchamber.com or call 423-472-6587 by noon on Aug. 12. Chamber members may use admission credits from their tiered investment if available, however should call to register.


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