Talk about a hands-on chief executive. When Dick Rubin decided to take Boston Metal Products global, in 1990, he and his wife picked up and moved -- to the Hague. "I could have delegated the job to someone else," says Rubin, "but what would I be delegating? I didn't know anything about doing business in Europe. All I knew was that we belonged there, that there was a market for our products." Three years later international sales account for about 20% of the company's profits and revenues, the latter of which totaled more than $20 million in 1993.

Along the way, Rubin made a surprising discovery about what he calls "the power of the presidency." "Everywhere I go, I run into middle managers of U.S. companies," he says. "I've yet to meet an American CEO. Evidently, people just don't realize the respect accorded presidents in Europe. It opens doors; it instills confidence that promises will be kept."

Rubin thinks he has benefited as much as his company has from going global. "I took over my father's business in 1967. Today I feel as if my personal clock has gone back 25 years; I'm building something from scratch again, and I'm thriving on it. I feel revitalized." So when will he come home? "We're not coming home. I'm having too much fun. This move is permanent."