Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

In Memoriam: John Ruan, 1914-2010

February 19, 2010

DES MOINES, IA - John Ruan, founder of Ruan Transportation Management Systems, passed away Feb. 13. He was 96.

Ruan began his transportation company in 1932 with only one truck. The small business grew into Ruan Transportation Management Systems, now one of the nation's largest transportation management companies. With more than 75 years of transportation management experience, the company provides dedicated contract carriage services as well as bulk transportation and Ruan Certified Brokerage Services.

As chairman and CEO of the Ruan family of companies, John Ruan represented a diversified group of businesses with activities including transportation, commercial banking, financial services, international trading, and real estate development. Ruan Companies owns Bankers Trust Company, the largest independent bank in Iowa. 

"My father's influence in the industry and with his employees and customers built the strong foundation for the company that exists today," said Ruan's son, John Ruan III, chairman and CEO of Ruan Transportation Management Systems.

Ruan was widely recognized for many of his contributions to the transportation industry. In 1997, the American Trucking Associations' Ruan Transportation Center building was dedicated in Washington, D.C., honoring Ruan's more than 50 years of service to the transportation industry.

An Iowa native, Ruan was also a major contributor in business and the development of the Des Moines metropolitan area. He built the 36-story Ruan Center, the Marriott Hotel, and the 14-story Two Ruan Center. He was instrumental in the development of the downtown Des Moines skywalk system, the Des Moines Convention Center and the construction of several city parking structures. Ruan also contributed more than $2 million for the establishment of the Ruan Neurological Center (now the Ruan Rehabilitation Center) and the Ruan Neurology Clinic at Mercy Medical Center.

Ruan shared his success with his wife, the former Elizabeth Jayne Adams; their children John Ruan III (Janis), Thomas Ruan, Jayne Ruan Fletcher (deceased); six grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to Ruan Transport Corp., 666 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. Donations in memory of Ruan may be sent to the World Food Prize Foundation, 1700 Ruan Center, 666 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309.

More information on John Ruan is available at The Ruan Companies' tribute site at


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