PITTSBURG — Over 30 years ago, Kay Dunbar began her career with Hix Corporation as a temporary receptionist. On Jan. 6, the company announced her promotion to the position of  president.

Over the years, Dunbar followed a path through the purchasing department, IT, human resources and accounting. She rose to chief financial officer and board member. 

“Kay has shown her leadership, wisdom, and skills in directing HIX during the past 18 months as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HIX,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Huelat said in a press release. “Kay has learned strategic ins and outs of the process of Manufacturing in her 34 years, making her a unique fit for the overall leadership of HIX.”

When Dunbar first started her temp job, she had plans to go into the criminal justice or science field and was waiting for another job opportunity, but she ended up staying with the company.

“Being young when I first started and just married and having kids, the company is very family oriented, so it was a good place to work,” she said. “It has a laid back atmosphere.”  

Moving to different positions within the company has provided her with challenges which helped her grow and learn more about several aspects of the business, she said. Dunbar said she worked for many years under Huelat who bought the company in 1989 making her the second president of the company. 

“I learned about the business from working with him,” Dunbar said, adding that she’s excited for working on making the company's new goals come to fruition. “It’s just exciting and challenging and I'm really looking forward to it,” she said. “We have a good group of people working here.”  

HIX was started as Hix Automation in 1963, by Dan Hix, a Pittsburg native, in the bay of his Pittsburg gas station, making equipment for the graphics industry: printers and heat presses. His brother, Cliff, joined him as the business began to grow. Investors from Wichita purchased Hix Automation and changed the name to HIX Corporation, the release said. Upon closing, one of the Wichita investors moved to Pittsburg. Over the last 15 years, HIX began to expand product offerings into food processing equipment and industrial ovens which are sold worldwide.