As we proceed into 2003, we face a world with a lot of open questions. The threat of war and terrorist attacks stare us in the face, the economy continues in the doldrums, the travel industry, especially car rental, continues to be plagued by all the negatives that surround us.

Many rental car firms have disappeared and the shakeout will continue until credit lines ease up, insurance climate improves, and the car resale market recovers so holding costs become more palatable. Despite the negatives, there is a silver lining. We are certainly at or near the bottom of the economic cycle. The consumer is anxious to latch onto positives. My feeling is that, once the war issue is over, we will enjoy a fast-paced recovery.

What can you do as an operator in the interim? Be flexible, conservative, work efficiently within your niche, and keep in close touch with your insurers and lenders. Let them know exactly what you are up to and keep their trust.

At ACTIF, we are extremely excited at recent developments and are prepared for rapid growth. We just transferred the administration of the organization over to the Harrington Co., one of the most respected professional association management firms. With this change, we will receive the advantages of a wider range and higher quality of service that this 26-year-old firm can provide. We will benefit from the pluses of its highly qualified management team and backroom support and enjoy the economies of scale that the firm provides. Our Board of Directors will provide the overall direction and Harrington Co. will supply the management.

What does this mean to you? We will be able to grow and provide the financial support to provide additional services and efforts to assist independents and franchisees in areas where we could not before. It is a win/win situation for you all. I urge non-members to join up and give us a chance to assist you.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank Russell Bruno for his many years of effort and devotion to ACTIF. He is one of the organization's founders and a cornerstone in its development.