Ruan Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Jul 25, 2022

Ruan is excited to announce that July 4, 2022, marked our 90th anniversary of offering customized logistics and supply chain management solutions to clients nationwide. Founded in 1932, Ruan started in Des Moines with one man, founder John Ruan, and a single truck. Since then, the company has grown to include more than 5,000 team members and over 300 locations, offering a full suite of third-party logistics (3PL) services.  

Over the last 90 years, Ruan has thrived as an industry leader by staying true to our Guiding Principles of People First, Safety Focus, Exceptional Performance, Customer Satisfaction, and Continuous Improvement—all of which were foundational to the company as John Ruan built customer relationships and developed his team during Ruan’s early years of growth.


“When I think about Ruan’s future and the connections to our past, our Guiding Principles are an enduring theme,” said Ruan President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Van Alstine. “These aren’t just nice-to-have words that we put on the wall; our team members live by them every day. These are core values that are central to who we are. As we move forward, we will draw upon the legacy and our long-standing core values to guide us.”

Since its inception, Ruan has grown by creating opportunities and navigating challenges, including countless advances in safety and technology, economic fluxes, supply chain disruptions, digitization of business, and transformation of America’s infrastructure. Throughout these changes, Ruan has adapted to stay ahead of the curve, all while safely moving critical goods for valued customers and fostering a great place to work for team members. Ruan was the first company in the industry to create a formal safety program and today leads the industry with its Megasafe Safety Program. During deregulation of the trucking industry in the 1980s, many transportation companies (with similar modest beginnings) either closed or sold out to larger companies, while Ruan held tight to its Iowa family roots. Ruan has always focused on creating opportunity for professional drivers and has remained a destination for the industry’s best drivers by continuously improving truck comfort and safety, creating predictable schedules, and offering work-life balance and family time. Always focused on customer satisfaction, as customers needed non-asset-based logistics services, Ruan added those solutions to our list of capabilities.

“As we celebrate our 90-year anniversary at Ruan, I am truly proud of our history as a family business and the legacy created by our founder and sustained by his son, John Ruan III,” said Ruan CEO Ben McLean. “Our continued success will be enabled by the same grit and determination that they demonstrated to grow and build this company. While our industry has changed so much over the last 90 years, the honorable work that we do—keeping America’s economy moving—has not. And it never will.”

A core part of Ruan’s mission, also instilled by our founder and the Ruan family, is to serve others and improve our communities. Grateful for the community that supported him, John Ruan established the company’s headquarters in downtown Des Moines, championed the construction of the Marriott Hotel, laid the groundwork for the skywalk system, and invested in beautification efforts—all of which contributed to the revitalization of Des Moines as a thriving and professional city.

But his efforts did not end in the local community; John Ruan also had a strong desire to improve lives across the globe. As one of his greatest legacies, he endowed the World Food Prize, and his son, John Ruan III, created a permanent home for the Prize by leading the restoration of the old Des Moines Public Library. Today, the World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing excellence and progress in overcoming global food production and distribution challenges while inspiring new generations to embrace the cause.

To celebrate Ruan’s philanthropic legacy and the company’s milestone anniversary, Ruan has launched a 90x90 Acts of Giving campaign, which encourages Ruan teams across the country to collectively complete at least 90 acts of giving in support of local nonprofit organizations by the end of Ruan’s 90th year. At the end of the year, a number of these organizations will be selected to receive 90th anniversary monetary donations. Ruan team members and leaders have continued to give back to their communities, and this campaign is one more way for them to honor our legacy of philanthropy.

“Since the beginning, Ruan has set the standard for its commitment to providing safe, efficient, and professional transportation solutions,” said Brenda Neville, President and CEO of the Iowa Motor Truck Association. “Ruan has also been consistent in its dedication to giving back to the community and the State of Iowa in ways that have touched, influenced, and changed countless lives. The Iowa Motor Truck Association has been one of the many beneficiaries of Ruan’s support, and we are forever grateful for and appreciative of our strong partnership and friendship with Ruan and its amazing team of professionals.”

Throughout the country, Ruan team members will recognize the 90th anniversary locally with family members and customers, organizing cookouts and family events to build camaraderie and celebrate 90 years of providing exceptional value and performance.