When he was named Boeing's treasurer in April 2008, David Dohnalek could not have imagined the liquidity issues the company would be facing a scant six months later. Boeing does half its business with the U.S. government through defense contracts and the other half with commercial customers. The company, with $68 billion in 2009 revenue, normally has strong working capital thanks to how it structures its contracts.

But September 2008 was anything but normal. First, the machinists union went out on strike, grounding plane production. A week later, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, sending the capital markets into a tailspin.

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