Carine graduated from Metropolitan State College in 1993 with a BA in Behavioral Science and a Minor in Early Childhood Education. Though she aspired to follow a path employing her degree, God seemingly had a different plan when she crossed paths with James Ruder in the spring of 1992. They quickly fell in love, were married and began the journey that God had planned for them both by joining the Ruder family business at L&R Pallet. James developed sales and operations, while Carine learned the administration side and advanced the back office to support the rapidly growing business.
Carine’s husband grew up in a Christian home and introduced her to Jesus immediately following their engagement. For years, neither of them really understood the difference between what it meant to be Christians who ran a business that they owned, versus being Christian stewards of a Kingdom Company that belonged to God. That all began to change however, when Carine led the family into missions work by taking their two boys to Peru in the spring of 2012. Not only did she find purpose in serving others abroad, she clearly felt God tugging on her heart to do missions work back in America, but she had no idea what that would look like.
The business had flourished for nearly 20 years, growing exponentially from $1 million in annual revenue to nearly $18 million. Carine not only juggled the ever-changing demands associated with the administrative growth, but she also provided Human Resource support as the employee numbers grew from 12 to over 130 full time team members. It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that God began to bring His vision into alignment with Carine’s desire to do missions work locally, as L&R Pallet began to actively hire refugees from Burma into their workforce. Looking back now, it is easy to see that God had shaped L&R to be a place of refuge for people from all types of challenging backgrounds, ethnic groups and demographics when they had barriers to employment.
Far exceeding the accomplishments associated with a thriving business, Carine’s greatest joy and most significant achievement in life can easily be identified as being the full-time mother of her three beautiful children, none of whom were strangers to the office. Carine’s dedication to being fully present in their lives, while also partnering in the growth of the pallet business, was modeled by her willingness to take each of her kids to work until they were old enough to go to school. Even then, she was intent on juggling her work schedule so she could personally drop them off each morning and return in time to receive their full download of the day’s events when school concluded.
Today, L&R Pallet has matured to incorporate four additional entities that have been developed to support the “giving engine” that serves their team members and the developing ministry at L&R Pallet. Looking back, Carine sees her and her husband as the true heirs of the legacy that James’ parents, Larry and Doris, created in 1974 by founding the business on Jesus. Through hours of endless prayer, hard work and never-ending faith, Carine diligently prepared the rich soil that seeds are taking root in daily. She remains determined to take a bold stance in the marketplace with respect to her faith in God and is committed to giving Him glory through her actions.