News Service


Ben Allen, College of Business, (515) 294-2422
John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137
Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-4607


AMES, Iowa -- Russell and Ann Gerdin of Coralville, Iowa, are strong believers in the value of education. It led to their company, Heartland Express, Inc., setting up a children's college fund in 1988 for employees with 10 years or more of service.

The fund is called the Heartland Educational Trust Plan. Each year that Heartland Express achieves growth and operating goals, Gerdin contributes $1,000 per $1 million of gross revenues to the fund. To date, the fund has accumulated more than $1 million. A Heartland Express headquarters employee's child can apply for the monies to attend trade school or college.

"I get more personal satisfaction from that than any of our other success," said Russell Gerdin.

Success is a familiar feeling to Gerdin. The company he founded in 1978, Heartland Express, has received national attention for its growth. A short-to-medium haul truckload carrier, the company experienced a ten-fold increase in revenue and income from 1986 to 1997. Gerdin credits the success to the company's service standards and equipment accessibility.

The company has received numerous awards from the Whirlpool Corporation, Sears Logistic Service, Kellogg, AT&T, Monsanto, and Home Depot for outstanding performance, on-time service and carrier of the year.

"Distribution" magazine honored Heartland as a member of the "Best of the Best" national truckload carriers. A national survey placed Heartland among the top 10 in the industry for driver pay packages.

The company has been listed by "Financial World" as one of America's 50 best mid-cap companies and by "Business Week" as one of the "100 Best Small Corporations." In addition,

Forbes has counted it among their "Best 200 Small Companies in America" for 10 of the past 11 years.

"Our people are just down-home, hard-working, average Midwestern people, trying to do a good job serving the shipping public," said Russell Gerdin. "Our goal is to be the best carrier, service-wise, in the country."

Gerdin is a member of the Iowa State University College of Business Advisory Council. He currently is chairman of the Hawkeye State Bank in Iowa City. Gerdin also was president of the Shenandoah Chamber of Commerce and is a past board member of the Hand Community Hospital in Shenandoah. He also is active with the American Trucking Association, Iowa Motor Truck Association and Truckload Carrier Association.

Both Gerdins were born in Minnesota and earned bachelor's degrees from Moorhead State University: Ann in elementary education and Russell in business.


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