Ruan lights up Des Moines IA
for first-ever Founderís Days
Jun 29, 2009 11:17 AM
Ruan Transport Corporation will dazzle central Iowans this July by lighting up the Des Moines skylineónot with fireworks, but with an illumination befitting the Ruan building and the firmís legacy that began in Des Moines.
In honor of founder John Ruan, the company will celebrate its first-ever Founderís Days with activities throughout the month, beginning with lighting the Ruan Center in downtown Des Moines with red bulbs July 1 at 9 pm.
Throughout his life, Ruan has built a diversified business empire with significant economic impact on Des Moines and Iowa. Heís also contributed to philanthropic causes either close to his heart or with global impact, including the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society and The World Food Prize. To honor his example, Ruan Transport, in partnership with the United Way of Central Iowa, and as part of its Founderís Days celebration, is encouraging employees to volunteer three to four hours during the workday every Friday in July.
Ruan, now 95, founded Ruan Transport Corp during the height of the Great Depression, growing it to one of the largest privately owned transportation service companies in the nation. He made his first official truck delivery July 4, 1932, when his Iowa State University tuition money ran out. He traded in a family car for a truck to capitalize on trucking service needs in southern Iowa. Within a year, he had three trucks hauling 42 tons of coal daily.
Ruan helped spark downtown Des Moinesí resurgence in the 1970s, when he constructed the 36-story Ruan Center office complex, the stateís largest building at that time. The Marriott Hotel and Two Ruan Center followed later. He contributed to the development of Des Moinesí skywalk system and the Polk County Convention Center. Ruan was named the Iowa Business Leader of the Year in 1991, and received the Iowa Award, the stateís highest citizen award, in 2001. The American Trucking Associationsí Ruan Transportation Center building was dedicated in Washington DC in 1997, honoring his more than 50 years of service to the transportation industry.
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