Ok, so I've been here a whopping nine years as of this past May, which means I've been around long enough to see a whole lot of people come and go on many magazines over the years. Throughout this time, I had no idea how long I'd be here and wondered at times if I'd even make it through the year. During the past nine years, I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people, who all helped me to grow as a person and an editor. Just on Mini Truckin' alone, I've seen a lot of great people come and go.

Since taking over the editor position, I've had a few different people work with me to put out the magazine each month. There were times when things went really well with us as a team, and other times when I wondered if either of us would live to work on the next issue because we were getting on each other's nerves. Then, about a year ago, I found out that Mike Finnegan was leaving Mini Truckin' to work on OFF-ROAD magazine and I would have to find someone new to fill his position. A bunch of people came in for interviews, but one person stuck in my mind and made a huge impression. That person was Mike Alexander. When he and I first met, we had a long talk at Freakfest 2002. Mike was as nervous as a hooker at church, although that venue was full of draggin' minis and not wooden pews.

While Mike and I were talking, I realized that no one else I'd interviewed had put forward as much enthusiasm as he did about the opportunity to work on Mini Truckin' magazine as a staff member. At that point, I think Mike was ready to do just about anything to get his foot in the door and get to work on what he considered the mini-trucker's bible. While I couldn't let on that he was going to be hired, I wanted to see just how much of his enthusiasm was real. Mike was one of the most interesting and multifaceted enthusiasts I'd met in years, and he was ready to do anything it took to make his mark in the pastime. I found out about his S-10, his Toyota, and all his custom dreams and aspirations. Within a month's time, he was sitting at his desk in Placentia, California, working on the magazine.

During the first few months of working on the magazine, I think Mike spent more time in my office than his own. I've never seen anyone with so many questions. Learning how to do business within a huge corporation is a challenge in itself for many people, but Mike seemed to deal with it, for the most part, with ease. What he wasn't used to was me hammering on him for more and more work so we'd never fall behind (I'm big on making sure MT is always on time). Soon, though, Mike wasn't just doing his work, but doing something that I had done when I was an associate editor: He started asking for more to do and how he could help make the magazine better. We soon found ourselves redesigning the magazine to give it a fresher look. Lots of changes were happening really quickly with MT and with the MT staff.

It's been nearly a year now since Mike started drawing a paycheck here, and looking back on it, we've both learned a lot. This month, though, it's all about Mike. If you flip to the cover of this month's issue, you'll see a super-dope Nissan Frontier on the cover. Mike shot that image himself. In fact, he shot every photo in this month's cover feature, too. Mike has been absorbing things like a dry sponge in a bucket of liquid knowledge during the past year, and I'm proud to say that he's every bit the best representative Mini Truckin' has had in an associate editor. I'm proud of the successes Mike has achieved during this past year. In many ways, Mike is a testament to changes in me as well. You see, more than a year ago, I had a lot of issues with people, but that has all changed. I work well with Mike because I like Mike. I enjoy running Mini Truckin', knowing that he takes his job seriously and enjoys every minute of it.

After the cover feature blows you away, you'll also notice that something else is different about this month's issue. If you look closely, you'll notice something new in the mix. There's a new column this month called Draggin' Thru. This column will be Mike's voice each month, venting, discussing, and generally giving readers something to laugh about. Mike has a ton going on all the time and just one session of tech with his S-10 could probably yield a few month's worth of content for his new column. OK, so I'm done with my cheerleading about Mike for now - and why are you still reading this anyway? You have a brand-new issue of MT in your hands - go read it, dammit!