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Entrepreneurial pioneer John Ruan dies

John Ruan, founder of Ruan Transportation Management Systems, died February 13, 2010. He was 96. Born Feb 11, 1914, Ruan began a company in 1932 with only one truck and grew it into Ruan Transportation Management Systems, now one of the nation’s largest transportation management companies.

In 1990, he established a foundation that assumed sponsorship of the World Food Prize, an international award recognizing individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food.

In 1997, the American Trucking Associations’ Ruan Transportation Center building was dedicated in Washington DC, honoring Ruan’s more than 50 years of service to the transportation industry.

An Iowa native, Ruan was 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 development of the downtown Des Moines skywalk system, the Des Moines Convention Center, and 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.

His wife, Elizabeth Ruan, and his sons John Ruan III and Thomas Ruan, all of Des Moines, Iowa, survive Ruan. Condolences may be sent to Ruan Transport Corp, 666 Grand Ave, Des Moines IA 50309. The family asks that donations in his memory be sent to the World Food Prize Foundation, 1700 Ruan Center, 666 Grand Ave, Des Moines IA 50309.

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