After graduating from Purdue University with a Mechanical Engineering degree and then living and working for companies in the upper-Midwest and Southeast, Bob Ruark decided it was time to start his own company. The year was 1967, and after being courted by several different potential locales, Ruark picked Iowa because of the state’s right to work laws and the city of Oelwein because, “They just acted like they wanted me more than the other communities.”
With a strong belief in his own abilities and having established a working knowledge of conveyance equipment, Ruark started ABCO (America’s Best Conveyor Operation). Just months later the company was wiped out by a category-five tornado and then in 1975, after having just completed the construction of a brand new building, disaster struck again when that building burnt to the ground. Undaunted, Ruark kept pushing forward towards making ABCO live up to the promise of its name.
Over five decades later, ABCO has produced thousands of belt conveyors, hoppers, feeders, vibrating screens and other material handling equipment. And during its peak years, the company added recycling and farm machinery divisions and shipped product all over the world. But perhaps most important to its founder, ABCO established a reputation for quality products that perform beyond expectations and stand up to rigors of moving rock.
In 2015, Ruark retired from ABCO after 47 years of steering the ship and the company was sold and then sold once more in January of 2019.
ABCO proudly celebrated 50 years of being “America’s Best Conveyor Operation” in 2018, and after having expanded into business segments unrelated to its core area of expertise, has come full circle. ABCO is once again focused on building the best conveyors and surge bins in the aggregate industry.
Thank you for reading about ABCO’s history. We invite you to be part of our future by calling 319-283-5652 to discuss your material handling needs.
ABCO Manufacturing – Rock solid. Rock ready.