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New chief takes over at Clifton Park-based Sixnet

New chief takes over at Clifton Park-based Sixnet

Clifton Park-based Sixnet announces that a networking and telecommunications equipment industry e

Three months after Steve Schoenberg capped a streak of robust growth at his industrial-networking equipment company by holding a ribbon cutting ceremony at the businesses’s expanded Ushers Road headquarter, he has turned over its reins.

Sixnet, which Schoenberg founded 33 years ago, announced today a networking and telecommunications equipment industry expert is taking over the Clifton Park company. Hilton Nicholson, who previously headed ADC Telecommunications’ network solutions arm, will succeed Schoenberg as Sixnet’s president and chief executive officer.

The leadership change comes at one of the handful of Capital Region manufacturers that were poised to grow upon entering 2009. The company, which in October unveiled its expanded 20,000-square-foot headquarters, has been building market share in North America with the help of a Boston investor.

“Increasing productivity depends more than ever on leading [Internet Protoco]-based switching, automation and wireless systems and Hilton Nicholson is just the person to expand Sixnet’s markets and visibility around the world,” Schoenberg said in a statement.

Schoenberg will continue serving on Sixnet’s board of directors. In October, he said expected the company’s global work force to soon hit 200 with the help of another acquisition.

By October, Sixnet employed 120 worldwide. In 2007, it jumped into the wireless industrial networking business by acquiring BlueTree Wireless Data in Canada.

At the time, Sixnet employed 70 in Clifton Park, where it makes various kinds of electronic equipment, such as remote terminal units used on water towers and oil drilling rigs and ethernet switches used in U.S. Army Stryker light armored vehicles now deployed in Iraq. Prior to the BlueTree deal, Sixnet focused on landline networking applications.

In a statement, Nicholson said he will build on “Schoenberg’s vision of building a global market-leading company in hardened systems for industrial, government and wireless markets alongside the company’s financial parters: Riverside Partners and American Capital.”

Riverside began investing in Sixnet in 2005 and both financial partners assisted the Clifton Park manufacturer in acquiring BlueTree, which has main offices in Montreal and Chapel Hill, N.C.

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