Erik Fyrwald was comfortably ensconced as Dupont's group VP of agriculture and nutrition when Nalco, a relatively obscure provider of water treatment services and chemicals came calling. When Fyrwald poked into Naperville, IL-based Nalco a bit he grew intrigued. In the 81-year-old, $4 billion-plus company he saw a parallel to a Dupont archrival: Monsanto. They went from about $5 billion in market cap to $45 billion in five years, he says. Fyrwald found the potential irresistible; he joined the firm as CEO in February 2008. Their biggest competitive advantages are their 7,000-plus service engineers and their automation technology. Fyrwald admits that ongoing economic turbulence could hinder his goal of boosting Nalco's annual real revenue growth from its current base of 3%-4% to 6%-8% by 2011.