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The company known for Post-it notes has had a strange 2014. Not much has gone wrong for the St. Paul, Minn. conglomerate, but until mid October, shares had fallen 5%. Thulin didn’t blink an eye, keeping the company’s focus on research and development, including areas like nanotechnology, which has been applied to industries like health care, renewable energy, and other industrial purposes. Shareholders have rewarded Thulin for staying the course, and 3M’s stock jumped 18% in less than a month. —R.D.