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Byline: CURT SCHLEIER
Just two days before William Allen became president of Boeing on Sept. 1, 1945, the U.S. government canceled half its remaining orders for B-29 bombers.
The next day it canceled most everything else, including production of the B-17. It looked as though Allen's tenure would be brief.
Boeing had been fully devoted to wartime production, and World War II was finished. Sales plummeted, and profit disappeared. But Allen refused to panic. He examined the situation. He knew the government wouldn't be buying planes for a while. If the company was to survive, "It was imperative that the nucleus of the organization be preserved," he told Nation's Business magazine in August 1967.
That nucleus was airplane production. Why not offer a new commercial …