From Russia, with Yogurt

After her father died in 2002, Julie Smolyansky took over her family company, Lifeway Foods, and the then-27-year-old had to grow up fast

Lifeway Foods (LWAY) has been a fact of life for 31-year-old Chief Executive Officer Julie Smolyansky for more than two decades. Her father, Michael Smolyansky, founded the Morton Grove (Ill.) health-food maker in 1986. Since the younger Smolyansky took over in 2002, shares of the company have risen more than 650%, adjusted for splits, as of afternoon trading Dec. 15. Operating income was up 30% for the first nine months of 2006, compared to the same period last year, on 27% revenue growth.

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