New Director of Cooperative Extension Appointed in Catawba County

Thomas L. Dyson has been appointed Catawba County Cooperative Extension Manager, effective Monday, July 18. Dyson comes to Catawba County from the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension, where he has served as extension director since 2014.

Catawba County Cooperative Extension is a research-based educational outreach organization affiliated with NC State University. Aimed at empowering communities, Catawba County Cooperative Extension offers programs and consultation in the areas of gardening and urban agriculture, row crops and traditional agriculture, livestock and pasture management, development 4-H and youth, academic achievement and healthy living, small farm management and food systems and family and consumer science programs for healthy and safe food .

As Director, Dyson will lead a team of six people in implementing a collaborative plan to maximize community engagement in outreach programs. Extension programs and services are currently offered at Newton Agricultural Resource Center (ARC) extension offices and various locations around the county, often in partnership with other community organizations.

Dyson brings relevant agricultural and community experience to his role. Early in his career, he spent nearly ten years as an area extension agent for the NC Cooperative Extension offices in Chowan, Perquimans and Gates counties. Dyson has also lived overseas, serving the International Mission Board as an agricultural consultant and educator in Merida, Venezuela. Prior to leading the Lincoln County Extension Office, Dyson spent eight years as a professor of cross-cultural studies, practices and missions for GH Lacy Baptist Theological Seminary in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Dyson received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, a master’s degree in cross-cultural studies from Southeastern College in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and a from the Spanish Language Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica. He received a 2002 Agent Achievement Award from the North Carolina Association of County Agricultural Agents and served on the NC State Extension Engage Steering Committee from 2018-2020.

Dyson resides in Lincolnton with his wife Lorenda and youngest daughter, Daphca. Her family includes four older children — a full-time missionary living in the Dominican Republic, a Chesapeake, VA, firefighter, a Wingate women’s basketball player, and a karate instructor in Matthews, North Carolina — and an 8-month-old granddaughter.

[News release from Catawba County Government]

Virginia S. Braud