John Ruga is the owner of Northeast Precast, a business that manufactures commercial products and residential foundation wall systems.
He’s an active philanthropist, volunteering his time and talent to local organizations in the area. He holds leadership positions with the Cumberland County YMCA (board president), Hopewell Township, and Century Savings Bank.
Early Life and Education
John Ruga was born and raised in Wellsville, New York – the son of Greek immigrants James and Eleni Rigas who wanted for their children to have a better life.
He then continued on to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York to study engineering. Subsequently, he worked for Sylvania Corporation in Emporium, Pennsylvania.
In the 1950s, Ruga ran for Central State University and quickly rose to become one of the top scholastic runners in America. He earned two NCAA Small College All-American honors and helped lead their cross country team to its first national championship in 1962. Nowadays he resides in Dororthy, New Jersey. Additionally, Ruga works as an artist; his artwork can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world.
John Ruga, co-founder of Northeast Precast in Millville, began his career in precast during the housing boom of the 1980s. Throughout his career he has been actively involved with local organizations such as YMCA and is currently on several prestigious boards.
One of Ruga’s projects that is making headlines in Vineland involves a two-phase industrial park off South Lincoln Avenue, near Route 55 at Exit 26. Although the development is ongoing, Ruga has the city on board as major financial backer. According to Sandy Forosisky, economic development director for Vineland Urban Renewal, this project will significantly increase land value for tax purposes; they have agreed on a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with Ruga but the sale has yet to take place.
Achievements and Honors
John Ruga is an accomplished runner and has earned himself numerous accolades along the way. During his college days at Central State University in New Jersey, he excelled in cross country running and remains one of the top distance runners to ever wear maroon and gold.
Ruga has always been a generous and giving member of his community, having served on the board of Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA for 10 years and sponsored and coached youth sports in the area for decades. Recently he designed two handbags for Dior. Aside from his professional career, Ruga is passionate about attending church and following sports with his wife Leslie; they have five children: Rita, Samantha, Jack, Nicholas and Joseph.
John Ruga is an artist who creates alternate realities to criticize and parody the political and social status quo. He is one of a few artists working in South Africa today who uses myth as a form of contemporary response to post-apartheid.
His practice is driven by a fantasy metaverse, where self-appointed Olympian gods and heroes are created and depicted. Through this utopia he uses colonial history, present criticism, and humanist visions for the future as inspiration.
His ‘The Beatification of Feral Benga’ series pays homage to the Senegalese dancer who was disowned by his father and largely written off history. Through these projects, he positions Benga in an influential position, commanding tribute as a queer icon.
John Ruga is a South African artist whose works encompass performance, tapestry, sculpture, video and photography to tell an epic tale about Azania’s non-dynastic line of queens.
At London’s Somerset House, he currently has an exhibition titled Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions on view.
The saga is an allegory for post apartheid nationalism that draws inspiration from pre Xhosa history and urges for radical transformation in the future.
His artwork has been showcased in both public and private collections. Additionally, he was included in Phaidon’s Younger Than Jesus exhibition which showcases over 500 of the world’s most talented artists under 33 years old.
Ruga’s net worth has surged, leading to the purchase of Northeast Precast in Millville – which would benefit from the development of an industrial park nearby.