John B. Lathrop

ORSA President, 1958

John (Jack) Lathrop was the seventh President of ORSA and a founding member. He served as its Secretary prior to becoming President. He played a key role in writing the constitution and by-laws of ORSA. Jack Lathrop’s career follows the finest O.R. traditions of hands-on analysis, trail-blazing applications, research, and teaching. He started his professional career as a life insurance actuary, but became an O.R. analyst with the Navy’s Operations Evaluation Group (OEG) in 1943, during World War II.

Jack Lathrop’s primary World War II work involved submarine search and air-to-air-combat-tactic development, earning him a Presidential Certificate of Merit, among other awards. He did not shrink from hands-on exploits, spending days onboard a skinless helicopter searching for German submarines. On one occasion, he found himself on a wounded B-24 limping back across the Mediterranean Sea during the night to a crash landing on the African coast.

Jack Lathrop stayed at OEG after the war until 1951, serving long-term tours in South America and the United Kingdom. Following OEG, he joined Arthur D. Little to work on manufacturing control, advertising, and quality control. The rest of his professional career was spent at Lockheed, where his duties included air-cargo network design, production lot-sizing, computer-aided-design systems, long-range manpower planning models, research-and-development portfolio analysis, and rapid-transit network evaluation. He retired from Lockheed as manager of systems analysis.

He remained active in the development and teaching of O.R. techniques. His research was published in the major journals of the field, including Operations Research. His teaching spanned 25 years, beginning at the Naval War College in 1948 and ending at UCLA. It focused on probability, statistics, and related subjects.

BA (mathematics and economics), George Washington; ME, UCLA