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Claude Kenard of Metaloy

Meet Claude Kennard, Founder of Metaloy.

When and why did you start your business?

In late 1992 I joined Metaloy as a co-owner to bring a new strategic focus and to capitalize on the growing hydrocarbon industry's desire to increase recycling of non-hazardous spent catalysts and by-products.

Did you consider yourself an entrepreneur before that?

I did many things as a kid to raise money and/or change things from the way they were. I feel much of my entrepreneurial talents come from my parents by observing how they were able to do so much with so little. I also live by a statement my first boss told me: "When you are in front of a potential customer, the answer to their question is always YES. You have from that moment to start figuring out how to accomplish the task."

Where did you find your first employee?

We found her at a now-shuttered computer store in Cleveland. My partner liked the way she was selling him new computers for our office and invited her in for an interview. That was back in 1992. She advanced from office administrator to sales/marketing. She now works for another division of our company.

What's the most difficult thing about running your own business?

Most startups or entrepreneurial companies have thin C-level staffing. This can make it difficult to keep up with back office requirements. Controlling the technical aspect of your business is merely one aspect of success. You have to cover all the elements of business to be successful.

What's the best thing?

The best thing about running your own business is that you typically surround yourself with highly talented people and that you are in control of your own destiny.

What has contributed most to your growth? 

What has proven to offer the greatest contribution to Metaloy's growth has been relationships that I've made during my life. I had a spouse who understood the stress of running a business and supported my every step. Also, having spent nearly 20 years understanding the industry, I knew many of the decision makers that I'd be dealing with. They are now high ranking professionals, and I know them on a first name basis.

What companies or founders do you admire and why?

One I've most admired is David Steward at World Wide Technology in St. Louis due to his ability to run his multibillion dollar technology company based on scriptural principles. Mr. Steward's "52 Lessons on Success" has provided a template that I've used to help guide and focus my actions and companies.

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