TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Small and medium-size businesses, including automotive suppliers, are caught in a cash squeeze as banks and other lender hoard resources, Lynn Tilton, CEO and principal in Patriarch Partners, says during an address at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.

“Cash does not lie,” she says. “You have to have cash to run your company.”

Founded in 2000, Patriarch is a private-equity firm managing $7 billion in assets with investments in some 70 companies and controlling interests in about 50 of those.

Tilton says she buys “distressed assets,” or companies that usually can be saved. “But once they’re idle, you lose the skilled workers, machinery and everything else, so it’s too late.”

Tilton has carved a reputation as a proponent of saving manufacturing and jobs in the U.S. and criticizes government for failing to develop industrial and energy policies.

“There’s small government, big government, so why not smart government?” she asks. “The only way we’re going to rise from our current abyss is to get all cylinders clicking at the same time.”