Rick Schwolsky
Rick Schwolsky

Anyone with the wherewithal to shop for a truck last year found himself in the driver's seat when it came down to the bottom line in striking a deal. Between dealer desperation and the cash-for-clunkers program, it was a rare chance for consumers to actually come away ahead – and to drive off without feeling like they'd left some hard-earned cash on the table. We'll have to see what 2010 brings in terms of incentives, if any, but we probably won't see the kind of chaos in the marketplace that led to such deep discounts and innovative incentives in 2009.

What we will see emerge are some new truck models with game-changing features and performance that might redefine truck markets for years to come. As you'll see in our Annual Truck Report, fuel efficiency is up, technology is in, and power still reigns supreme when it comes to work trucks worthy of our interest. In his report, contributing editor Mike Morris also lays out the landscape of an industry rocked to its core.

Last year also saw the launch of the 2009 Site Commander tour with our partner LENOX Industrial Tools. Even in the midst of the economic free fall, the three ultimate work trucks that visited hundreds of Lowe's locations across the country grabbed the attention and imagination of hundreds of thousands of pro contractors and collected more than 25,000 sweepstakes entries. The tour was surely a bright spot in a bleak landscape.

Now, with the pulse of our industry starting to beat again – however slow or faint, depending on where you are – I am happy to announce the rollout of the 2010 Site Commander tour, with a special focus on how you can position yourself to benefit from new markets that will emerge from the recovery. We're dedicating this year's tour to the financial hardships you've endured, and to the opportunities that we feel will present themselves for your renewed growth and success, which is why we're calling it "The Road to Recovery" tour.

Once again we've partnered with LENOX to create and execute this national event, and we're grateful to our sponsors Reading Body, Werner Ladder, Georgia-Pacific, AdvanTech, and Liquid Nails for supporting the program. As you'll see in this year's

Site Commander feature and on the Site Commander Web site (www.thesitecommander.com), innovation and leadership at these great companies never slowed down – even when the economy did.

So take a look at 2010's tour, attend one of the Site Commander appearances near you, and spend some time with the recovery-related information we've provided to map out your own Road to Recovery.