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Our Mission
American Radiator provides expert solutions for heat transfer and cooling issues affecting trucks, automobiles, heavy duty equipment, commercial vehicles and more. Our professionals have the ability to repair or provide replacement heat exchange products such as radiators, charge air coolers, condensers, oil coolers and more.

As a strategic business partner, we help simplify your thermal management needs so your company can operate consistently, effectively and be more profitable.


Our Passion
To serve as trustworthy business partners that exceed customer expectations on a daily basis.


Our Company
American Radiator is owned by Joel Christianson and David Johnson. With over 75 years combined experience, Joel and David have used their background to create a company known nationally for great selection, service and professional knowledge. And with core company values like honesty, appreciation, dedication, knowledge and a drive to succeed...American Radiator has earned the trust of businesses all across the country. 

We understand you have options when it comes to thermal heat management solutions. And we appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and trust. 


Our History
American Radiator was originally founded by Joel Christianson in January 2000, and located in Ames, Iowa. In 2008 Joel and David merged their two businesses and maintained the American Radiator nameplate. It was at that time American Radiator relocated from Ames to the Des Moines location David's business was operating out of. Due to expanded product offerings and substantial growth, American Radiator moved to 1616 NE Broadway in Des Moines...the former home of Midwest Radiator. And today we continue to operate out of the 23,000 sq.ft. facility, with Joel and David putting their experience to great use, leading and directing our company on a daily basis.


Joel's Background
Joel’s radiator experience goes back to 1980, when as a high school student he began working for Midwest Radiator in Ankeny, Iowa. Joel began his career as a delivery driver and shop helper. Over the years, Joel gained experience in all phases of the radiator repair business and began selling heavy duty cooling parts along with a complete line of automotive parts. Joel's hard work enabled him to became a certified radiator repair technician, shop manager, and an awarded outside sales person with full line product knowledge. 

In 1994, Joel became a stock holder in Midwest Radiator, an opportunity offered to only a few select employees with exceptional experience. Joel's efforts as a stock holder greatly impacted the growth and development of the company. In 1999, Midwest Radiator was sold and Joel used that opportunity to establish his own shop in 2000, American Radiator. After 8 years of hard work and substantial growth as a small business owner, Joel saw an excellent opportunity to merge with David. This move allowed Joel to continue the growth of American Radiator at a substantial pace, and gave him the ability to focus on areas of the business he truly loves. Joel's 35 plus years of industry experience and performance is well recognized and respected. And this ultimately earned Joel feature articles in cooling magazines and the 2014 NARSA Business Achievement Award.  


David's Background
In 1976, David Johnson founded Midwest Radiator, a one man radiator repair facility in Ankeny, Iowa. Over the years Midwest Radiator expanded to include 11 locations in 4 states, with more than 150 employees. As a tenured employee, Joel Christianson became a stock holder and participated first hand in the growth and performance of the company. Midwest Radiator was an industry leader and developed repair methods that raised standards and changed methods used across the country. In addition to heat exchange products, Midwest Radiator carried a full line of AC Delco and Motorcraft product that rivaled national chains. This inventory mix made it easier to fulfill all of the customer's needs, and opened up massive opportunities for growth and expansion. David received national awards and recognition for his entrepreneurial skills and achievements.

In 1999, Midwest Radiator was sold to Factory Motor Parts, and David became an owner in a high performance business. A short time later he joined in ownership with Kenny Holm of Holms Radiator. This partnership combined former employees of Midwest Radiator and current employees of Holms Radiator. After a successful parternship, Kenny retired in 2007 leaving David as the sole owner. It was shortly after that Joel and David took advantage of the opportunity and merged American Radiator and Holm's Radiator. In 2013, David became involved in the business on a full time basis, serving as Treasure of the company.

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