March is Women’s History Month and this year we’d like to focus on Mary Hastings, one of the key founders of Hastings Instruments. Mary Comstock graduated from William & Mary with a degree in physics with minors in math and chemistry. She was truly a pioneer in many ways. After college, she took a job as a “computer” at NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) in Hampton, Virginia. There, Mary met Charles Hastings, a young engineer who had his office across the hall from her. The two were married in 1940.
In a business era that was almost thoroughly dominated by men, Mary was an invaluable contributor to the success of Hastings Instruments. She promoted the fledgling company through press releases that she prepared for local papers and thereby helped to secure critical financial support. She attended shareholder meetings of other companies to learn how they conducted their annual meetings. For many years, Mary prepared the annual report for Hastings shareholders. In short, she was not afraid to tackle any challenge that would help grow the company. Moreover, Mary was a constant voice of wisdom to her husband with respect to company decisions and policy. She accomplished all of these things while the couple raised three children.
It is reasonable to assume that without Mary Hastings, the company would not have been nearly as successful. So during Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate her many accomplishments. You can hear more about Mary from her daughter Carol Hastings Sanders in this video: