Administrative and Technical Evolution of HSI®

Administrative and Technical Evolution of HSI®

Working for the same company for almost 25 years has been interesting, to say the least. You don’t notice the little changes as they are happening, but when you look at how far things have come in 20+ years, you realize the impact of those little changes.

I started at HSI® in 1991 as a two-week temp doing some routine data entry in a new database. (That database now contains over 18,000 references!)  Two weeks became two months and I started other office administration duties such as mail (and there was a lot!), couriers (with carbon-copy waybills that had to be completed by hand) and typing letters. I would log onto my computer using Microsoft DOS (no Windows yet) and everything would be saved on 5-1/4” floppy disks. (The 3.5” disks were saved for “big” documents).

Two months became full-time (lifetime?), permanent. No more temp work for me! I was now providing administrative support for HSI® – all six of us. Reports, proposals, workshop materials, supplies – anything you could think of, including travel.

We still have the same travel agent, but the process has changed. We originally looked up flights in airline-specific timetables (in print only – no World Wide Web of info at HSI® just yet – we didn’t even have email). Booking through our agent, we would get paper tickets hand delivered with carbon-copy invoices. Today, of course, all flight schedules are available online, with electronic ticketing and invoicing. Travel has become essentially paperless (except for those that still like hard copies of everything).

There have been many other changes too. No more using a typewriter to fill out forms (thanks Adobe!), no more reports on microfiche, and no more rolls of film to process. We’ve evolved from keeping rolls of 800iso film stored in a mini-fridge so it was readily available, with next-day processing using negatives, to instant, high quality photos at a click of a button that can be sent anywhere, anytime.

I could go on and on about the changes I’ve experienced here at HSI over the years, but I’m sure you get the idea. With all the changes we’ve embraced we are able to accomplish so much more. And that’s necessary, because we are no longer a six-person operation. (And the email flows at a dizzying rate!)

Tammy MacKinnon

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Tammy MacKinnon

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