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A birdbrained business hits $100M
A birdbrained business hits $100M
Year: 1993
Winner: William Engler Jr., CEO
Company: Kaytee Products in Chilton, Wis.

When William Engler Jr. won the SBA's national award in 1993, he'd been chief executive of Kaytee Products, a bird and small-animal food manufacturer, for a decade. In those 10 years, he rapidly expanded the company founded by his grandfather into an enterprise with manufacturing plants in four states, a distribution business in California, and a bird-breeding farm in Florida. By the time Kaytee Products was sold to Central Garden and Pet Company in 1997, its sales topped $100 million.

Business wasn't the sole focus for Engler and his siblings. They also started the Kaytee Avian Foundation, a nonprofit education and conservation corporation that remains in operation today. The foundation bought more than 10,000 acres of land in Brazil as a preserve for the endangered Hyacinth Macaw, and two years after winning the SBA award, Engler opened the Kaytee Avian Education Center in Chilton, Wis.

Since selling his company, Engler has moved into a new line of work: He just wrapped up an eight-year stint as Chilton's mayor.

NEXT: From dog clothes to liver biscuits

Last updated April 23 2008: 2:06 PM ET

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