The Story Behind the Ruan Truck at ATA Headquarters

The Story Behind the Ruan Truck at ATA Headquarters

SunJae Smith/American Trucking Associations

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A shiny pink truck nestled by the foyer entrance greets guests to American Trucking Associations’ new Washington, D.C., headquarters at 80 M Avenue SE, a glass-lined house that sits throughout from the U.S. Division of Transportation.

The truck — donated by Ruan Transportation Administration Methods, whose historical past with ATA stretches again so far as the federation itself — and a location close to the company that regulates trucking each underscore the explanations ATA selected this new house: to amplify the trucking business’s significance to the nation.

For Ruan, the truck’s inclusion on this high-profile spot represents not solely the Des Moines, Iowa-based motor provider’s 90 years (and counting) of success, but in addition the contributions of the complete U.S. trucking business. In opposition to a backdrop of images that includes rolling fields and a illustration of a dry van trailer, the truck — which was painstakingly assembled contained in the room — is meant to spotlight motor carriers’ tenacity, grit and dedication to plain outdated onerous work.

“Our founder traded within the household automobile and acquired the truck so he may haul gravel south of Des Moines for a street constructing undertaking,” mentioned Ben McLean, the corporate’s CEO and third-generation chief, throughout a small commemoration ceremony in September with household and firm executives.

Van Alstine by John Sommers II for Transport Matters 


ATA President Chris Spear throughout the occasion mentioned the truck, “harkens again to the early days of ATA — when ATA got here into being with the assistance of John Ruan.”

Inside months of that preliminary buy, John Ruan had turned that one truck into three, and simply two years later — on the age of 20 — was working a fleet of a dozen vehicles all through the Midwest. Nevertheless it wasn’t simple; Ruan left college at Iowa State College to purchase a used 1921 Ford Mannequin T, which helped his household recuperate from monetary break wrought by the 1929 inventory market crash. He hauled the primary load of gravel in that truck on July 4, 1932.

From there, John Ruan constructed a extremely profitable motor provider. In 1942, the corporate was instrumental within the creation of the Iowa Motor Truck Affiliation. He additionally served in ATA’s early days as a member of its government committee. In 1949, he grew to become the fourth vp in ATA historical past.

In October, present Ruan President and COO Dan Van Alstine was elected ATA chairman. On the commemoration occasion, he talked about what the truck represents.

Spear on the unveiling by SunJae Smith/American Trucking Associations 

“The story behind the truck is de facto why our business exists,” he mentioned. “It highlights the important nature of what we do each day — what it takes for hardworking professionals. It simply all is there.”

Van Alstine added, “It creates a really large visible if you first enter, however what’s essential is what’s behind it. Whether or not it’s legislators or mates of our business — or maybe of us who will not be accustomed to our business — to start out with the story and speak about what’s behind it: the hardworking folks, the entrepreneurs with the fortitude and the grit that all of it took. Folks like John Ruan.”

At present, the corporate has greater than 300 nationwide operations, operates 4,000 energy models and 10,000 trailers, and employs 5,000 crew members. The corporate has additionally expanded into banking, actual property growth, export-import operations, and extra.

“Our business indisputably allows the usual of residing that all of us get pleasure from,” Van Alstine mentioned throughout a banquet at ATA’s Administration Convention & Exhibition in October. “Every of us has identified this because the time of our begin on this enterprise, but it took a world pandemic for our nation to really perceive and admire that with out our business, with out trucking, every thing merely stops.”

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