Our Heritage

“Good for your employees. Good for your business.” The Lyon family chose this slogan to describe what we do because to us it is a promise. At the heart of what we do as a family business is strive to deliver meaningful, beneficial services to all people with whom we engage.

From the shopkeepers to the CEO, we recognize that when we take on a client it is all members of your company with whom we are working. We recognize that our success isn’t measured just by how happy we’ve made those at the top but rather it is measured by how happy we’ve helped make all people throughout your organization. Our family considers this both a matter of pride and honor in our ability to deliver on this.

This is a drive for quality that has been instilled in us for generations. Our family’s business roots in this region began in 1911 when T.H. Lyon founded “T.H. Lyon Jewelry and Optician.” From 1911, this business was a fixture in downtown Fort Smith until being sold in 1940. Following in his father’s footsteps, Thomas Lyon likewise pursued a career as a jeweler and artisan. Raising his children with a firm resolve for hard work and frugality, three of the brothers went on to become accountants and began a practice together. The Lyon family has been an active participant in Van Buren and the greater Fort Smith area ever since.

As the CPA firm grew and evolved, a persistent need was encountered with clients for more encompassing of services beyond the scope of an accounting firm. Recognizing the delivery of broader assistance with the full range of employment challenges as an excellent opportunity to best support their clients, Clifford and John Lyon went in on the creation of Southern Personnel Management Inc. (SPMI) as CEO and CFO respectively in 1995. SPMI has in the years since helped our clients reach for their true potential by removing many of the regulatory and administrative burdens preoccupying them, allowing them to focus upon their core business endeavors.

Beyond the scope of their business roles, the Lyon family has strived to be positive members of their communities. John Lyon was a member of the Charter Class for Leadership Fort Smith, past President of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club, and has even been awarded the “Silver Beaver” honor for his efforts with the Westark Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Clifford Lyon is a serving Director on the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Foundation Board and also is on the Advisory Board of the Center for Art & Education, helping to promote art education in the Van Buren/Fort Smith area.

Having been raised with a keen awareness of the environment SPMI operates within, a number of the younger Lyon generation have now additionally begun to take up the mantle of roles within SPMI. Each endeavoring to bring their own unique skill sets to further the success of the company, Jonathan Lyon has been pursuing an active role within Sales, Dianna Lyon as manager of the Distribution Department and within the role of Client Advocate, and Kenneth Lyon spearheading the deployment of software integration solutions as well as supervising the Data Entry Department.

Also much like their parents before them, the next generation have taken up efforts to involve themselves with their community. All are active within the University of Arkansas Fort Smith Family Enterprise Center, Jonathan holds a Board position with Second Street Live in Fort Smith, Dianna as Fort Smith Jaycees’ Vice President of the Community (A youth chamber of commerce group), and Kenneth in orchestrating the U.S. side of a non-profit group ArudoYat which coordinates with a cooperative in Gulu, Uganda to improve the livelihoods of former child soldiers and child slave victims.

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