"Liftgate technology is evolving at a rate faster than we have ever experienced."

As we enter the 21st century, there can be no doubt that the trucking industry will continue to play an integral - and increasingly critical - role in the U.S. economy. And just as surely as the industry's role will expand, so will its need to evolve into an increasingly efficient, high-tech machine. Yet for all its advancements in technology, the transportation industry will thrive only if we all maintain a clear vision of what it means to blend the new technology with the kind of personal, customized service that is the difference between efficiency and excellence.

As we at Waltco Truck Equipment Co. look down the road, we can't help but see an industry that is going to be put to the test as demands for safer, better, faster service escalate, exerting ever-increasing pressure on profits. America's corporations are taking a more sophisticated view of logistics and delivery. What was once seen as an expense is now being looked at more critically as a profit center. Better tracking methods make it possible for companies to keep closer tabs on delivery costs. The pressure is on.

Will the industry rise to the occasion?

Evidence abounds to suggest that we are already well on our way. As an example, the transportation industry has embraced computer and Internet technology. Who would have predicted that America's highways would someday merge with the information superhighway? Yet systems are being put in place now that will one day allow transportation industry customers to order parts and make product comparisons via the Internet. As Internet technology evolves, our industry will react to incorporate its best features into our daily business routine.

It's my job as president of Waltco Truck Equipment Co. to stay abreast of changes in the industry. As I look to the future, I must make decisions about how our company will respond - or better yet - stay ahead of change. As the demand for increased productivity, efficiency, and safety escalate, we find ourselves playing a strategic role in helping the industry meet the challenges of the new millennium.

Liftgate technology is evolving at a rate faster than we have ever experienced. Customers are demanding liftgates that last longer, perform better, incorporate more safety features and, most important of all, liftgates that meet individual, customized demands. Gone are the days when we can present our customers with a liftgate and tell them to adapt their distribution systems to our product. Today, we must adapt our liftgates to our customers' existing systems.

During the past couple of years, we have made significant advancements in liftgate technology. We've extended product life with revolutionary switch technology and parts that wear longer. We've added features that make liftgate operation faster, easier, and safer. But perhaps most exciting has been the evolution in customized liftgate manufacturing.

As our customers rightly demand products that suit their individual distribution requirements, our engineers are taking customized support to a new high. It's the new direction in liftgate technology. And it supports my theory that no matter what changes occur in the transportation industry, no matter what the new millennium brings, the future will belong to those who make it their mission to blend individual, personalized service with new technology.

We look forward to our role in the future of transportation. Working together, we can ensure that the future will indeed remain bright.