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Livermore Bids Farewell to "Best Seat in the House"

Updated: Feb 2

Her first day at NIPCO began with a retirement reception. December 15, 2008, saw the retirements of two long-time NIPCO employees Jim Anderson and Mary's predecessor, Elvira Nielsen, but her journey was just beginning. Coming to NIPCO from Harker's Distribution, Inc., she was looking forward to the opportunity to administrate the comings and goings of the front office at NIPCO as the office receptionist.

Mary Livermore poses it her desk.
Mary Livermore retired in January of 2024 with fifteen years of service to NIPCO.

If you have ever called the NIPCO office or entered the front door, you have probably met Mary. "Most of my time in the beginning was answering phone calls and checking visitors in and out of the building," recalls Mary. Her job role quickly expanded as she requested to take on a few more tasks. Her responsibility grew to include data entry of invoices and purchase orders into the NIPCO accounting system, but everyone at NIPCO knows Mary's job goes far beyond those tasks. NIPCO Executive Vice President and General Manager Matt Washburn stated, "Mary serves as an extra hand on several NIPCO projects and is always willing to serve in any capacity."

"I enjoy the personal relationships built over the years helping with special projects, being the welcoming face and listening ear," says Mary. Her centralized location in the NIPCO office provides her with a front-row seat to office activities, getting to know regular visitors by name and staying in the know of details of the staff's personal lives. Mary calls it "The Best Seat in the House".

Photo of Mary with two men at the 2016 annual meeting registration desk.
Mary Livermore greeted guests at many NIPCO Annual Meetings. She is pictured with Harrison County REC Director Bill Hutcheson and Manager Joe Farley.

However, over the last fifteen years, Mary has seen those activities decrease, with the sharpest decline in vendor office visits and phone calls in the previous few years. With supply chain challenges like increased costs and expanding lead times for products and services used by NIPCO, Mary has noticed fewer 'cold calls' by vendors. "Businesses just don't seem to be sending salespeople out so much anymore." She recalls vendors who would come to NIPCO on a regular schedule donning suits and ties to maintain a physical presence with staff, whether any products were bought or sold. "I think businesses are just servicing customers differently these days…meeting online or doing business through emails, or just not soliciting sales as actively anymore."

This decrease in foot and phone traffic has been the most significant change in her job scope. Even the number of phone calls has decreased, and with the incorporation of NIPCO's automated phone operator, the volume of calls Mary answers has dropped dramatically.

Head and shoulders photo of Lauren Hannasch.
Lauren Hannasch began her career with NIPCO on Dec. 11, 2024.

With Mary eyeing her January retirement, she looks forward to seeing what her successor will do with the position in the new era of "gatekeeping" for NIPCO. With expanding security measures being considered by corporations with publicly accessible front offices and more people conducting business digitally, she feels that the role of office receptionist will evolve into something more administrative. In fact, Mary's position will now be titled Office Assistant to reflect the job responsibilities of this role better. Mary is confident that the individual who replaces her will be up to the task…why wouldn't that individual be? After all, Mary has trained her successor for almost three decades. Mary's daughter, Lauren Hannasch, will continue the family tradition of churning the wheels at NIPCO in The Best Seat in the House. Lauren will begin her career with NIPCO on December 11.

Mary looks forward to spending more time with her three grandkids (Layla (8), Callie (5), and Eli (2)), who live in Waukee. Mary also hopes to improve her golf game and incorporate lots of biking and walking into her day. She also is excited to stake a claim in land ownership at the Iowa Great Lakes. Mary eagerly awaits rolling out the welcome mat of her new, seasonal "tiny house", which will give her a new and improved "Best Seat in the House" for viewing those fabulous Okoboji sunsets.

Mary says, "I've been really fortunate to work at a company as great as NIPCO."

In a recent memo penned by NIPCO Human Resources Administrator Jenni Mack, it was requested that NIPCO staff "…honor Mary and all that she has done for us by doing the following:

  • Root for the Green Bay Packers just once (we know it won't be easy).

  • Occasionally root for the Iowa State Cyclones football team (Again, just try).

  • Golf a round at the golf course and wave hello when you pass Mary's house.

  • And finally, raise a glass to a great career (preferably a Blue Moon with an orange wedge) and wish Mary the best in retirement!"

Congratulations, Mary!


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