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Mr. Ruan believed in safety first, originating the transportation industry's 1st formal safety program: John Ruan (1914-2010)

John Ruan (1914-2010)
Transportation Mode:
Company/ Affiliation:
Ruan Transportation Management System


Mr. Ruan implemented the industry’s first formal safety program Four full-time supervisors were hired in the mid-1940’s to develop and train drivers in safe practices. He felt safety was a moral imperative for the well-being of his employees. Under his leadership the first truck capable of driving 1 million miles without repairs was developed, as well as programs to reduce emissions.

Mr. Ruan built a diverse trucking company and each venture grew out of a need to help his customers ,to give back to the community or to help feed the world.                    

When multiple sclerosis (MS) affected his wife and daughter he began a charity golf tournament which became the largest one-day charity golf event in the United states; with proceeds used to fund experimental MS research. He also established a neurological center at  Mercy Medical Center  in Des Moines which cares for patients with MS, as well as other neurological disorders, such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Ruan also held the belief that if people around the world could simply get enough food to eat, they would have the opportunity to improve their lives. Another accomplished Iowan, Dr. Norman Borlaug, had been working toward this goal his entire career.  Dr. Borlaug dreamed of a Nobel Prize-level award for achievement in agriculture. When he could not persuade the Nobel Committee to add such a category, he started his own prize.

Unaware of Dr. Borlaug’s ambition, Mr. Ruan had been thinking along the very same lines. When the sponsor backed out just three years after the formation of the World Food Prize, Mr. Ruan stepped forward as its sponsor.

While Mr. Ruan focused on the good he could do for his employees and others, he was honored in 1997 for more than 50 years of service to the transportation industry. For his contributions to the logistics industry, the American trucking Associations’ Ruan Transportation Center building was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

With great honor we recognize John Ruan as a Hero of Industry and Technology. Accepting the award on behalf of the Ruan family was son John Ruan III.

Son John Ruan III accepted the Hero of Industry & Technology Award in honor of his father
John Ruan in an early photo visiting with one of his drivers.
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