Hank Dixon, executive vice president of automation at Conair Group Inc., died Jan. 10 at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh as a result of colon cancer. He was 57.
Dixon helped build Conair into a force in robots and automation. He joined the company in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Dixon played a key role in nurturing partnerships with international automation companies such as Sepro Robotique SA of France, Rapid Granulator AB of Sweden and Fanuc Automation. Those relationships were important up to the end of his life.
The week before Christmas, he traveled to France for a yearly meeting with Sepro executives. ``That just showed his professionalism. He just felt like he needed to go,'' said Jim Healy, Conair vice president of automation sales. ``That was a lot of commitment and respect he had for Sepro.''
Healy, who worked with Dixon in robotics throughout Dixon's career at Emsworth, Pa.-based Conair, called him a very educated man who mixed engineering expertise with a love of sports, art and music.
Dixon's business career included seats on the boards of robot maker Automated Assemblies Corp. and the Holy Family Institute.
He is survived by his wife, Peggy of Sewickley, Pa., two daughters and his mother.