Farewell to Nancy Lynch

Picture of Nancy Lynch
Nancy Lynch 1947-2014

IAP sadly announces the passing of Nancy Lynch. Since the founding of IAP Nancy answered the phone and greeted visitors but Nancy’s contribution extended far beyond receptionist duties. This is how IAP President and cofounder John Barber remembers Nancy:

Nancy joined IAP Research on Day 1 - April 1981. In those days, we had "secretaries" and that’s what we hired Nancy to be. She typed everything that went out, filed everything that came in and in general kept us organized. Initially her biggest challenge, after working at Hewitt Soap, was preparing large technical proposals for the government with immovable deadlines. These were the days when "cut and paste" meant exactly that. Nancy became adept at patching documents, fixing spelling and grammatical errors, complying with bureaucratic format requirements, and doing all this with a typewriter, glue and tape. She also became adept at working all night to meet those deadlines - a skill she further honed over the years. We never missed a proposal deadline because Nancy couldn't get it done!

The event that really launched IAP was an extremely technical proposal prepared for the Air Force Rocket Lab in California in 1982. As usual, Nancy was up all night "cutting and pasting", but she got it out, we won the award and it more than doubled our business.

The state of the art word processing machine in the early 1980s was the IBM Selectric typewriter so we got one to ease her load. Nancy loved that typewriter. Our work required mathematical symbols, equations and lots of stuff most secretaries had never seen but Nancy got very good at this because the Selectric had a vast array of symbols and special characters. The work was demanding and time consuming but Nancy never complained and always came through.

The Selectric, however, didn’t help with all the computational work needed so we used a shared resources service, AO Smith that we accessed via a slow teletype machine. We debated whether to get a mini computer or this new thing called a "personal computer". We eventually decided that personal computers were the future and ordered five of them -- one for every employee including Nancy. But while our engineers jumped right in, Nancy’s PC sat quietly beside her beloved Selectric… not used… not even plugged in. It had become apparent she needed some "assistance" in moving to the new platform. We provided this assistance by unplugged the Selectric and moved it off her desk. After a few days of temporary paralysis, she embraced the PC and never looked back. The quality of our documents shot up and the time to prepare them plummeted. Nancy figured out how to get all the mathematical symbols to print, how to create equations, and how easy it was to edit and correct documents in this new world. She still had to work all night because this advancement permitted us to write more proposals and bring in more business. This put Nancy at the center IAP’s growth and success.

As time went on our engineers became better at generating the documents and Nancy's role evolved to copy editor - making sure all the required information was there, in the required format and of high enough quality for her to send out. This improved productivity allowed Nancy to take on more of the office management stuff that we engineers didn't want to do or did very poorly including contract management, property management, security, travel, party planning, visitor control, and many other things we are still discovering.

Nancy went from being terrified of her computer to being fearless about all things digital. We have been through at least 4 processing systems and probably more graphics and presentation platforms. She mastered them all and brought a level of continuity that belies the difficulty of doing it.

She was the "face" of IAP, in our reports, presentations and proposals, on the phone, and in person. But she was also the heart. She was always cheerful and upbeat and played a huge role in shaping IAP's "can do" image. She cannot be replaced and we will miss her greatly.

IAP Research, Inc.      2763 Culver Avenue    Dayton, Ohio 45429      937-296-1806