Troy Lyons: Bridging the Gap
“IIHR is the place to be,” says Troy Lyons, IIHR director of engineering services. A University of Iowa alumnus, Lyons earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering.
“I started out at IIHR in 1998 as a student employee, then became a graduate student, and then was hired as a staff engineer to work on research projects,” says Lyons. “My position and responsibilities have evolved over time as I’ve been given opportunities to grow and advance.”
Lyons’ job bridges the gap between engineers, researchers, and shop staff. He says his unique experiences within IIHR have involved all levels of research support activities—from model construction to model design, to proposal writing and project management. Lyons’ research spans several areas, including river hydraulics, hydropower, physical modeling, and hydraulic structures.
“Being part of any project that provides ‘real-world’ value to others is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of engineering,” says Lyons. A recent real world project focused on fish passage in the Columbia River. Lyons was part of a team researching and testing structures in the field. To see the final product yield great results is tremendously rewarding, Lyons says. “It’s something I can take pride in professionally, and also know that it made a real impact.”
A major focus area for Lyons has been dropshafts. “I’ve had the chance to be involved in eight different model studies over the past four years, each of which has been challenging, but also very rewarding.” One recent project was a dropshaft and tunnel model study completed for the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which Lyons says involved unique design challenges that had never been attempted before in a laboratory setting. This project even carried him to Australia to present his findings at a conference.
When he leaves work at the end of the day, Lyons spends time with his wife of 11 years, Angela, and their sons, 4-year-old William and 2-year-old Henry. “William thinks coming to work with me every day would be fantastic,” says this proud father of a hopeful engineer. “That kid has a good head on his shoulders!” The family likes to take walks together and play outside. “I love spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, and enjoying nature,” he says. He’s even a licensed pilot. Indoors, Lyons enjoys home improvement, volunteering, and Hawkeye football.
Lyons is grateful for the opportunities he’s been given at IIHR. “I’ve been especially blessed to work with outstanding people who have been a huge part of my love for IIHR.”
By Amy Dalkoff