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Hiring Executives With Experience

Independent companies seek experienced execs to foster new growth.

This story appears in the February 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Oil refineries have a dangerous problem on their hands. They rely on highly reactive alkali metals like sodium and potassium for their operations, and using them risks catastrophic fires. Entrepreneur Michael Lefenfeld, 25, is helping solve this problem. He founded SiGNa Chemistry, a 2-year-old New York City company that has patented a way to stabilize alkali metals. The company's client roster already includes Exxon Mobil and Shell Chemical, and it pro-jects sales of more than $5 million in 2006.

But Lefenfeld is now heading into a potentially volatile mix of his own: He wants to hire a CEO who can pursue new capital and customers while he focuses on R&D. "I love being on the side, [but] there are certain people that are deal-closers. They're programmed that way," he says. "We're anxious to expand SiGNa into a much larger business."

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