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When Russell Paquette started work at Kent, Wash. based recreational equipment supplier REI in October 2000 as its first cash manager, he faced a mountain of challenges. There was no cash forecasting at the then $698 million member-owned cooperative. Investment strategy boiled down to the transfer of surplus balances into one of two money market funds. And, bank relationships were, at best, haphazard. “It was a bit daunting,” he admits. “But I was pretty fired up from the first. It was fun to be able to look at the big picture. I had an opportunity to put a real program in place and implement best practices. There were processes everywhere that could be streamlined and sometimes automated.”

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