Ruan Transport Corp. of Des Moines, Iowa, is celebrating 75 years of business this year. Founded during the height of the Great Depression, the firm has become one of the largest privately owned transportation
service companies in the United States.
Across the country, Ruan employees and customers will celebrate the anniversary with a variety of events and activities. In addition, Ruan is announcing a new driver awards program that will become an annual event recognizing the company's top drivers.
John Ruan III, chairman of Ruan Transport, said his father founded the company in 1932, when his tuition money to attend Iowa State University ran out and his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. John Ruan discovered a need for trucking services in the area and met that need by trading in one of his family's cars for a truck.
Ruan quickly realized he could transport more material by reducing the time it took to complete a delivery cycle. Within a year, he had three trucks hauling 42 tons of coal a day.
Over the years, many significant milestones marked the decades:
· By the 1950s, Ruan was the largest hauler of petroleum in the country.
· By 1965, the company was the leading truck-leasing operation in the Midwest.
· John Ruan helped spark the resurgence of downtown Des Moines in the 1970s when he constructed a new headquarters, the 36-story Ruan Center office complex, the state's largest building at that time.
· In the early 1980s, the transportation industry buzzed about the Ruan MEGA Truck, a highly developed "super" truck that was designed to travel a million miles without requiring major repairs.
· During the 1990s, Ruan incorporated W.E. Deming's total quality management philosophies and adapted its service offerings to feature a wide array of value-added services for customers.
· After selling the leasing portion of the business in March 2004, Ruan now focuses on its core competencies of dedicated contract carriage, bulk transportation and Ruan Certified Brokerage Services.
· Today, Ruan has 5,100 employees, including 4,030 drivers. Revenue for 2006 was $700 million.
With an aggressive plan to grow to a $1 billion company by 2010, John Ruan III says the company is investing in training, marketing and actively growing its next generation of leaders.
"We have always had a strong emphasis on training and safety in the field," said Mike Kandris, president and chief operating officer for Ruan. "That continues today and we are investing heavily in better growing the careers of our current staff and recruiting the next generation of management."
In both 2006 and 2007, the company started the year by acquiring a leading food-grade transporter in California. Kings County Truck Lines, Tulare, Calif., and Aartman Transport Corp., Ripon, Calif., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Ruan Transport Corporation and haul almost 75 percent of all dairy products from farm to plant in the country's largest dairy-producing state. With these acquisitions, Ruan hauls more than 10 million pounds of bulk dairy product per day - that's 30 billion pounds annually.
"These two acquisitions fit perfectly into our model of business - customers that require complex, multi-stop routes where we can add value and our drivers, for the most part, can be home every night," said Kandris.
"With a driver turnover rate that is one-fifth the industry average, a key point of differentiation for Ruan is its consistent pool of well-trained drivers," said Kandris.
Ruan concentrates on short-runs and same-client service, enabling drivers to specialize on the needs of a particular customer. The supply chain solutions offered by Ruan are individualized and scalable to meet customer needs.
In addition to dedicated contract carriage, Ruan offers a number of auxiliary services, including logistics, bulk transportation, warehouse management and Ruan Certified Brokerage Services, which allows Ruan to identify loads for return trips, maximizing transportation costs and efficiencies. The company has a diverse customer base that represents leaders in key target industries of retail, food and grocery, manufacturing and bulk materials. With more than 100 terminal locations throughout the United States, the company services virtually all areas of the country.
For more information about Ruan, visit