Ruan celebrates 75 years of success

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Ruan Transport Corp. celebrates 75 years of business this year. Founded during the height of the Great Depression, the firm has thrived and 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.

“This anniversary marks Ruan’s history of success and serves as the foundation for our future, an inspiring future driven by continued innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, industry-leading service and partnership with our customers,” says John Ruan III, chairman of Des Moines, Iowa-based Ruan Transport Corp.

Ruan’s 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.

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 and marketing, and is actively growing its next generation of leaders. “We have always had a strong emphasis on training and safety in the field,” sayy Mike Kandris, Ruan’s president and chief operating officer. “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 Corporation, Ripon, Calif., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Ruan Transport Corp. 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,” Kandris says. “This is where our rich tradition of consistent, reliable service and ongoing logistical analysis can provide the most value in our partnership with our customers.”

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.