Springfield, MO

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President and chief operating officer, American Dehydrated Foods. Founded by Hellweg's father-in-law, Bill Darr, in 1978, American Dehydrated Foods develops and markets ingredients for the pet food industry. Its sister company, International Dehydrated Foods, does the same for the human food industry, and Fitco, which is owned by ADF and a silent partner, is a United States Department of Agriculture-certified company that creates ingredients for the animal and human food markets. Hellweg joined the company in 1987 and became its president in 1997. He is a member of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Committee, the Springfield Area Arts Council board, the First Night Springfield Committee and the area's Young President's Organization.

Age: 41.

No. of years in Springfield/area: 12 years.

Education: Graduated from high school in Omaha, Neb.; received an engineering degree from the University of Nebraska.

Early career: Hellweg wanted to fly, and the Navy gave him his wings in 1982. He was a lieutenant in the Navy, receiving ROTC training while in college. He was a helicopter pilot in the Navy until 1987. The Navy gave him opportunities to see the world: the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and a number of Arab countries. "I wouldn't trade my experiences in the Navy for anything. I really got to see the world and learn so much," Hellweg said. In 1987, Hellweg's father-in-law, Darr, "made me an offer I couldn't refuse," and he he began using his engineering background to help Darr's growing company. Hellweg was also in the Army National Guard for five years so that he could continue flying, but found that time with his family became a premium and began to concentrate on that and ADF. Hellweg started in procurement for ADF and was head of sales before becoming president.

Current projects: Introducing different types of manufacturing into the companies' operations and bringing a new facility in Hanceville, Ala., online.

Management philosophy: "I believe you have to hire people who are smarter than you are and people that are motivated. Then you have to let them know what the goal is and what they can't do, and then stand back and let them do their job," Hellweg said.

Spare-time pursuits: Racquetball, bird hunting and golf take up what time he doesn't devote to his family.

Family data: Married to Sherry for 18 years. They have a son, Tyler, 16, and a daughter, Erin, 12. Tyler attends Glendale High School and Sherry attends Springfield Lutheran. Their children are "at a very important age right now," so Hellweg is trying to spend as much time with them as possible. He said he feels fortunate to be a part of a family business and to have had Bill Darr not only as a father-in-law, but as a mentor.

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