2015 Graduate Profiles: Elizabeth Lyons

2015 Graduate Profiles: Elizabeth Lyons


Highlands   College  

Associate of Applied Science in Construction-Carpentry

Karsan Sprague

Elizabeth Lyons is originally from Tyler, Texas. She and her husband have been living in Butte for the last five years.

Elizabeth chose to go to Montana Tech while planning a renovation of her master bedroom and bathroom. She soon realized she did not know how to frame a wall.

I had been thinking of a career in sustainable construction and finally decided now was the time to do it," Lyons explains. "I have a B.A. from Creighton University and it served me very well through my career up to that point in my life. At 42 years old, I was ready for something new. I was excited to learn Highlands College offered a carpentry program, and lucky for me, it is a great carpentry program.

In two short years, Elizabeth was able to learn a tremendous amount and gain invaluable hands-on experience. She says she can now begin working in the construction field with the confidence and skills set needed to help her succeed.

The program at Highlands College afforded Elizabeth the opportunity to work on special projects such as the Eagle’s Store Project in West Yellowstone. A group of students from several departments, including drafting technology, civil engineering technology, historic preservation, and construction technology, worked together to reconstruct — on paper — the three-story log building housing the Eagle’s Store. Elizabeth researched the construction history of the building. As part of the ongoing project, the students have been determining if some of the materials used to build the store might have come from the demolition of the Fountain Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The students learned the majority of the materials used to build the store were shipped from California via the Oregon Short Line and arrived in West Yellowstone in 1908.

Elizabeth also pursued additional certification by attending the Passive House Builder Certification training in Oklahoma City over the 2015 spring break. Passive House refers to a high performance building approach to reaching net zero. Through Montana Tech, she also obtained several other certifications including OSHA and First Aid/CPR, equipment handling certification, and Concrete Field Testing certification.

Elizabeth said she was also honored to work on several projects in the community with her fellow students. The projects included partnerships with Habitat for Humanity/NAHN, Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization, Kiwanis Club, and the Sunshine Camp among many other charitable projects.

Above all, Elizabeth says she found many long-held personal values in the faculty, staff and students at Highlands College and Montana Tech.

"My mom and dad raised me to work hard and respect and show kindness toward others while also giving me the confidence and encouragement to do whatever I wanted to do as long as I did it with integrity," she says. "These are the same qualities I have found since I have been at Highlands College and Montana Tech. These are also the qualities that define what it means to be a Digger. The students and faculty have shown me nothing but kindness, respect and the willingness to work hard and treat others well. I have been thoroughly impressed by the students here at Tech and would be proud and smart to hire any Montana Tech graduate willing to move to Texas to work for my future sustainable construction company."

That is, if those potential employees think they can handle Texas.

"If you have your Montana Tech degree in hand and think you can tolerate the heat and you love barbecue, look me up in Texas and come work for a company building sustainable and high-performance homes and buildings with pride, integrity, and honor," Elizabeth adds. "Thank you, Montana Tech."