(FSB Magazine) -- FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES CAN COUNT ON JIM COLLINS and Tom Peters to guide them, but for businesses on the FSB 100, the big name is Edward Cloues. Never heard of him? Not surprising, given that Cloues, 58, has had his managerial hand in three of the least flashy companies on the list. Yet his is the name that shareholders love to see. "He's done a remarkable job at taking undermanaged but good assets and turning them into fine operations," says Preston Athey, the portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price's Small-Cap Value fund. "The guy works miracles."
Athey's fund has invested in K-Tron International (No. 77; ktron.com), a maker of material-handling equipment, for more than 15 years. Cloues has been chairman and CEO of the Pittman, N.J., business since 1998. It has long been a leader in its niche--making machines that control the flow of material in manufacturing. (For example, K-Tron machines mix peanuts, oats, and raisins for granola bars.) Before Cloues arrived, K-Tron's financial performance had been slipping in Europe. In response, he closed a plant there and reorganized the corporate structure. Net income reached $7.3 million last year, up 96% since 2003.
Cloues, who spent 25 years as an M&A lawyer, also imposed his discipline on Amrep (No. 41; amrep.com), where he is chairman. The Princeton, N.J., firm, an unlikely combination of real estate developer and magazine subscription manager, hit $15.5 million in net income in fiscal 2005, up 33% from 2004. Cloues's role at Amrep has been very hands-on; the company has not named a CEO since its former leader had a cerebral hemorrhage in '95. Under Cloues's guidance, Amrep exited its money-losing homebuilding business and refocused on land development. He also made an acquisition--after considering 15 candidates--that lifted its magazine-distribution subsidiary from fourth largest in the industry to second.
That gift for acquisitions is one of the reasons Penn Virginia Resource Partners, a Radnor, Pa., coal business (No. 84 on 2005's FSB 100; pvresource.com), named him a director in 2003. This year it "graduated" from the list by surpassing the $200 million mark, thanks in large part to Cloues's acquisitions. "Ed has a certain calmness," says Jim Dearlove, Penn Virginia's CEO. "It sounds silly, but he's wise."click here.