CEO Jason Lyon Receives Distinguished Alumni Award from PSU

Release Date: Oct 31,2013

Plymouth, N.H. – Common Man CEO Jason Lyon was among six Plymouth State University (PSU) alumni and one PSU faculty member who were honored at a recent ceremony for their outstanding service to the university, their communities and fellow alumni.

Lyon, a 1994 graduate of PSU, received the Distinguished Alumni Service award and was honored for creating the Common Man Apprentice program for PSU students.  Lyon works with Professor Bonnie Bechard to give business students a real-world experience of developing and bringing a product to market.  Since the inception of the apprentice program in 2005,  Lyon has served as a mentor to more than 1,000 PSU students.

“Our motto, Ut prosim (that I may serve), is a living one for our students through service learning and community involvement,” said Rodney Ekstrom, PSU’s director of alumni relations. “These award recipients continue to serve their home communities and Plymouth State.  Their individual and collective impact is tremendous, and is a powerful reflection of the caliber of alumni we graduate and faculty we attract.” 

Lyon began his career in hospitality at age 14 as a dishwasher at the flagship Common Man restaurant in Ashland, NH.  Over the years, he worked his way up through many positions, being named CEO of the company by owner Alex Ray and Vice President Diane Downing in 2000.  Beyond his various executive roles within The Common Man, Lyon speaks locally and nationally about the Common Man's philanthropic efforts and counsels businesses and organizations on making charitable giving part of their business models.

Lyon has a degree in business finance management with an economics minor.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.  Lyon was inducted into the Inaugural PSU Business Hall of Fame in 2009 and is a member of Delta Mu Delta. 

Recently re-elected to the board of directors of the national Council of Hotel & Restaurant Trainers (CHART), Lyon will lead the education programming for the organization’s summer conference in Colorado in 2014.

Lyon organizes the annual Common Man Invitational Golf Tournament, of which proceeds are donated to local charities and The Common Man’s employee scholarship fund.  He is also a volunteer for the Ashland Fabulous 4th Committee and is a member of the board of directors of the Got Lunch program in Ashland.  He is also on the board of directors of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association (NHLRA), serving as the Vice President for Lodging, and is on the organization's Marketing, Membership and Government Affairs Committees. Additionally, he was appointed in 2012 by former New Hampshire Governor John Lynch to New Hampshire’s Youth Council, and serves on New Hampshire’s State Workforce Investment Board. 

Founded in 1971 by owner Alex Ray, the Common Man family is made up of 18 restaurants, two Inns, a Spa and Salon, Company Store and The Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center.  Common Man locations include Common Man restaurants in Lincoln, Ashland, Concord, Claremont, Merrimack, Windham and Portsmouth; Common Man Inn & Spa, Foster’s Boiler Room, Italian Farmhouse and The Flying Monkey in Plymouth; Common Man Inn & Restaurant in Claremont; Lakehouse Grille, Camp, Lago and Town Docks in Meredith; Route 104 Diner in New Hampton; Tilt’n Diner in Tilton; Airport Diner in Manchester; Common Man Express and the Common Man Company Store, both in Ashland.  The Common Man recently broke ground on the renovation of the Interstate 93 welcome centers both north and southbound in Hooksett, NH and expects an April 2015 opening.  For more information, visit or become a fan on Facebook at and find them on Twitter @thecmannh.

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