Canadian Plastics

Former Conair Group president Niles Kenyon passes away

Kenyon, 78, led the auxiliary equipment maker from 1986 to 2004.

November 5, 2019   Canadian Plastics


Plastics machinery executive E. Niles Kenyon, who led auxiliary equipment maker Conair Group from 1986 to 2004, died on Sept. 12 in Florida at age 78.

Conair made the announcement on Nov. 5.

Kenyon also served as vice chairman of the board of the Machinery Division for the Washington, D.C.-based Society of the Plastics Industry (now the Plastics Industry Association).


Kenyon was a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. He received the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 1996.

Prior to working in the plastics industry, Kenyon was a sales executive in the titanium industry.

While at Conair, which is headquartered in Cranberry Township, Pa., Kenyon spearheaded the development of a comprehensive engineering partnership between Penn State and Conair with the goal of speeding the transfer of university-developed technology to the factory floor. In addition to supporting individual projects, Conair donated or loaned equipment and provided curriculum support in a prototype effort to channel industry collaboration in a university setting.

“Niles traveled widely all over the world with me on behalf of Conair when the plastics industry was becoming more global,” said Vince Witherup, who was responsible for international sales for Conair. “He was a tremendous man, and this is a great loss for his family and colleagues.”

“He had a charisma that made him a natural leader,” said Don Walmsley, owner of Plastic Systems Inc. and a sales representative who worked with Kenyon for many years. “His personality was what drew people to him, but it was his ability to connect with those people that led to his success.”

Kenyon is survived by his wife, Jayne, sons Todd and Troy, and six grandchildren, along with his beloved Portuguese Water Dog, Millie.

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