About the Heroes Center | News & Events | For Media | Contact Us | Sitemap

Heroes of Industry and Technology

Heroes of Industry and Technology are individuals, past and present, who have made significant breakthroughs or contributions in transportation - related industries or technologies.

honoring the people that make life go...
Can't Find Your Hero?
The Learning Zone
Heroes of Technology and Industry
Thumbnail Picture

In 1993, Michael J. Manatt oversaw the development of equipment that would revolutionize the highway construction industry.

More
Thumbnail Picture

In 1921 seven of the top ten finishers at the Indianapolis 500 drove Duesenbergs, leading onlookers to remark “It’s a doozy!” The Iowa craftsmen built the finest automobiles of the era, leading everyone from Clark Gable to the Duke of Windsor clamoring to get their hands on a ‘doozy.’

More
Thumbnail Picture

The sky is blue, grass is green and school buses are yellow, but it wasn’t always that way - for school buses, at least. In 1939 Grinnell resident Dr. Frank Cyr became the father of the yellow school bus when he convened a national council that declared yellow as the standard color for school buses.

More
Thumbnail Picture

This engineer modernized traffic safety with state-of-the-art software that identifies and analyzes crashes that occur along Iowa’s roadways.

More
Thumbnail Picture

In 1921 seven of the top ten finishers at the Indianapolis 500 drove Duesenbergs, leading onlookers to remark “It’s a doozy!” The Iowa craftsmen built the finest automobiles of the era, leading everyone from Clark Gable to the Duke of Windsor clamoring to get their hands on a ‘doozy.’

More
Thumbnail Picture

The Civil War general from Council Bluffs left behind an impressive legacy. Dodge was a pivotal force in building the transcontinental railroad, the chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad and a savvy politician who represented Iowa as a republican congressman.

More
Thumbnail Picture

 

Nicknamed the “Birdman of the Prairie” by his home town friends from Grinnell, Billy Cornelius Robinson began his career in aviation early in high school.  Billy built his first glider from scraps found at the Fix-It-Shop where he worked after school.  

More
Thumbnail Picture

 

Born in Vermont in 1846, Henry Spaulding built his first buggy at the age of 19 in Chelsea, Vermont.  Hooking two buggies together, Henry set out to sell them.  This was the origin of what became known as the trailing system.

More
Thumbnail Picture

 

At the age of 19, Jim, a Cedar Rapids, IA native, worked with a team of Honeywell engineers to design and package the Stabilization and Control System for the command capsule of NASA’s Apollo program (1965-1966).

More
Thumbnail Picture

 

Lorenzo Coffin took on the American Railroad insdustry promoting safety issues the railroad companies ignored. His most notable work was designing the train car coupler

More
Thumbnail Picture

Paul Crouse was a relentless worker for safety in the trucking industry as one of the developers of the No Passing Sign on the left side of the highways.A trucking industry pioneer and a founder of he Iowa Motor Truck Association, Crouse began his career in 1929 haulding eggs and butter to Sioux City. By 1982 Crouse Cartage Company had become the largest Iowa-based trucking company and also had the greatest number of Allied Van Lines brances in the nation. 

More
Thumbnail Picture

Manatt's Inc. began in 1958 following successfull years as individual companies operated by brothers Junie, Carl and Merlin that dated back to 1947. Merlin worked hand in hand with his employees to develop methods still used today in their business to install sub-drain along state and county roads allowing road beds to drain better. One of those employees, Jack Gustafson who began working for the company in 1957, nominated Merlin as a Heroe of Industry and Technology More

Thumbnail Picture

 

John Ruan—started Ruan Transportation Management System from nothing during the Great Depression. For a country that depends so heavily on trucks to keep its businesses moving, it is fitting that the trucking magnate moved his first load of gravel on July 4, 1932. His first truck was purchased with money gained from the sale of his family’s car. Within months, he had turned that More

Thumbnail Picture

 

The Michigan-based company that makes regular overseas military deliveries held a “Support the Troops” donation drive and was overwhelmed at the response, said Cindy Goodboo, special project mail coordinator. Company employees donated time, sundries and money to make the drive successful. And to assist his team in supporting deployed service members, Conrad Kalitta, company owner, matched every dollar his em More

Thumbnail Picture

In 1913 at the age of 23 Mr. Zelle recognized a business opportunity; organizing a company that would lease trucks to contractors who were constructing Minnesota highways and other local wholesale and manufacturing firms.  Once the company was doing well he and a partner started the Red Bus Line in 1918 to capitalize on Minnesotans'’ desire to increase their mobility. 

More
Thumbnail Picture

Kenneth Bucklin received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University in 1962 and was a licensed Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor in Iowa until his retirement in 2004.  

Ken began his career as a member of a survey crew doing layout and construction staking for I-80 & I-35 from Des Moines to Newton. He went on to be involved in the I-80 project from Newton to the Highway 21 interchange east More

Thumbnail Picture

Carl Sterling Bateswas born in Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1884. At age fourteen, he built and flew the first gilder to be flown in Iowa. This was accomplished by having the glider towed by a horse.

Bates is credited with having designed and flown gliders in 1899, and in 1906 he designed and perfected what was said to be the world’s first safe-type gasoline-powered airplane equipped w More

Thumbnail Picture

Lyman G. Case, the son of Harry and Ethel Case, was born February 15, 1910 in Grinnell. He was a 1928 graduate of Grinnell High School and a 1932 graduate of the University of Iowa, where he lettered in football. He taught school and coached at State Center for a year.

In 1935, he applied for a position with More

Thumbnail Picture

Ellen Churchof Cresco, Iowa became the nation’s first flight stewardess. While working as a registered nurse in San Francisco, Church was also learning to fly and became a licensed pilot. When she learned the Boeing Air Transport (BAT, the predecessor to United Airlines) was planning to hire men as attendants for passengers, and after they refused to hire her as a pilot, she worked with the head of the San Francisco office and convinced BAT mana More

Thumbnail Picture

Ken Halsteadbegan driving for Halstead Trucking in the 1940''s and became the owner in 1950. The company was started by Leonard Halstead, his father. The business transported livestock locally and long distances. Straight trucks and semis were operated; with weekend runs to the Chicago Stockyards for Monday sales. The fleet included up to 8 or 9 International tractor/trailer semi units and 2 or 3 straight trucks.

More
Thumbnail Picture

James J. Ryan II    Safety belts save lives, and no one knew that better than the legendary James “Crash” Ryan, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota from 1931 to 1963. Professor James J. Ryan II was a 1920 graduate of LeClaire High School, later attending Iowa State University and teaching at the University of Minnesota.
A national advocate for automotive More

Thumbnail Picture

John A. Holmes

The first plane ride for John Holmes was in a 46 Aeronca Champ in the 60’s with his Uncle Clint Swan. There are warm memories of the excitement surrounding flights in the Champ with Uncle Clinton.  They would fly over the farms of all their relatives, waving, always creating an excited stir.  There, during those early years, the seeds of the lov More

Thumbnail Picture

James “Jimmy” Whitmore Johnson began his career as an engineer for the Iowa Highway Commission as an inspector 1922. In 1924 he became assistant engineer for the engineering experiment station. In 1927 Jimmy was named assistant lab chief at the Iowa Highway Commission and lab chief in 1938.

More
Thumbnail Picture

Thomas H. MacDonald

Thomas Harris “Chief” MacDonald was seen as an American civil engineer and politician who put forth tremendous influence in building the interstate highway system. He was born in 1881 in a Colorado log-cabin, followed by his families return to Poweshiek County when he was young. Growing up in Montezuma he attended public school and graduated high s More

Thumbnail Picture

John “Jack” Tremain

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroadsonce were prominent Class I railroads in the Midwestern United States, commonly known as the "Rock Island." In 1854 when the line connected just east of the Mississippi River area to Chicago and the East Coast, the event was marked by a large promo More

Thumbnail Picture

Earl Johnsonof Newton took over as the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) / Airport Manager and renamed Smith Aviation to Johnson Aviation in October 1949. During his career in the airport fixed based operator business, drove change andgrowth in general aviation.  From landing at municipal grass strips to making instrument approaches in complex turbine powered aircraft to the same international airport years later, Earl's career in Aviation and in More

Thumbnail Picture

Valere Lavent----Early in life Valere did whatever it took to get a ride in an airplane. At the very young age of 6 when a traveling barnstormer came to town, he talked his parents into letting him ride in a World War I “Jennie” at the price of a penny a pound. Daughter Debra Lavent shared in an email that her dad said he threw a tantrum and got his plane ride.

More