Strangely, I've been looking forward to writing this editorial for many months. Normally it's kind of a chore, but with this issue we commemorate 40 consecutive years of publishing AF.
I've been mentally storing all kinds of notes relating to serving our 21,000 industry readers and sharing some unique memories acquired along the way. This piece was going to be fun.
That plan was all wiped out on Sept. 11.
You've listened to me preach about "change" for years and how it's incumbent on all of us to bend into new corporate edicts and industry practices to remain competitive and productive. Those changes now seem diminutive compared to the adjustments we must now make.
It is almost inconceivable that a handful of demons could change our lives so dramatically in a couple hours of time. Make no mistake about the subsequent days of our lives; we will be making sacrifices and altering our lives forever.
Just don't let it change your values; the true ones you live by. You may also want to jot down the characteristics of our former "normal" life, which we now cherish and will not see again.
Personally, I have an even deeper love and appreciation for my God, family, friends, and those I interact with in business. Both of my parents came from Europe as immigrants nearly 100 years ago so it's doubly important to me being a first-generation American. I was the first Eagle Scout in Troop 112, was in ROTC in college and emerged a full patriot in World War II.
In the Navy, I served the United States' first aircraft carrier, the original USS Saratoga. Immediately after the war I was with the group conducting the initial A-bomb tests in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. I still fly our flag, day and night, from the flagpole my kids gave me for my birthday years ago.
I hope each of you share my own pride in being an American with the willingness to do what we must to maintain our freedoms.
So, 40 years of publishing doesn't sound so earth-shattering any more. Admittedly we have responded to the growth of the total "fleet" market with the additions of Auto Rental News, Fleet Financials, Business Fleet, Business Driver, and recently, Vehicle Remarketing to support the emerging niches within the industry.
We also produce Fleet Expo, the Car Rental Show, BusCon and the Conference on Automotive Remarketing, as well as related websites, e-mail newsletters, distant learning for daily rental and dealer training for selling the small commercial fleet market. Remarkably we are assisting professionalism in more areas than ever.
What looms as more important is the stature of our fleet manager readers nationwide. Individually they contribute to the success of their respective organizations. They perform honest, hard-working productive business lives with dignity. They are a vital part of the fabric that makes our nation strong and united.
Together we can make a difference in our futures. Count on Automotive Fleet being there and dedicated to supporting you for the next 40 years.