Each April, our country recognizes National Donate Life Month (NDLM), which aims to spread awareness about organ donation and honor those who have saved lives by becoming donors. As we acknowledge NDLM, we are happy to share this People First Spotlight featuring Steve Larsen, our Manager of Properties and Fuel, who has a personal story about organ donation.
Q: Tell us a little about your career path and background.
I started at Ruan in 1995 in treasury. Throughout the years, I have held many titles. As assistant treasurer, I handled truck and trailer financing and managed a wide range of teams including financial analysis, tax and licensing, procurement, properties, and fuel. I was also an information technology product owner. I am now the Manager of Properties and Fuel and have been helping lead a growing emissions reporting function.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working for Ruan?
Since I have been at Ruan for a while now, I have many great relationships with Ruan team members (and even our vendors), and work interactions feel more like talking with friends, which makes for a positive working environment. I also think my breadth of experience helps me think strategically and make connections across many Ruan functions. I like using these connections and my overall knowledge to help operations and other departments solve a problem or make improvements.
I take pride in my work and am proud of Ruan’s long legacy of integrity and performance. I also love learning about the great things happening across all our operations.
Q: What is your favorite memory during your time at Ruan?
When I started with Ruan, our founder, John Ruan Sr., was still coming into the office every day. If he would see a team of us in the conference room, he would sometimes stop in and ask what we were working on. He would share the occasional story and would usually leave us with something like, “You’re spending a lot of money in here—better get back to work.”
Also, I thought it was special that Ruan provided each employee with Deming Theory, Quality, Statistical Process Control classes. It showed a willingness to invest in people to align with company philosophy.
Q: Why is National Donate Life Month important to you?
I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and was in end stage renal failure in 2018. I had both kidneys removed and went on dialysis at that time. In 2019, I was generously blessed with a kidney donation by a long-time friend and former Ruan co-worker, Joanna Liston. She had always been interested in donation, and when she learned about my situation, she volunteered to get tested and was a match! Organ donation saves lives and dramatically improves quality of life, so I always encourage others to be a donor and support the cause.
Q: What advice would you share with those considering joining the trucking industry?
Be a problem solver. Develop flexibility in both your ways of approaching issues but also in teaching yourself to appreciate and enjoy the variability in your daily work. Trucking is a very dynamic industry and can be very rewarding. I think there is a real pride in the work the drivers, technicians, and warehouse teams do every day that isn’t present in the same way in all industries. It’s a special group.
Q: What excites you about Ruan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts?
It is good to know Ruan is a thoughtful company that cares about all employees and our working environment. My work on emissions reporting overlaps these areas in some ways, so it has been interesting to see how that all comes together.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have over 1,400 board games in a collection, and I am always up for a quick game or a game night with friends or family. I enjoy camping with our travel trailer, a little golf from time to time, and doing occasional wood working projects. I am a graduate of Iowa State University and am a life-long Cyclone fan!
Q: In what ways are you involved in your community?
I try to be kind to others—helping shut-ins with yard or snow work, keeping an eye out on things, and just being a good neighbor. I like to support organizations like our local Animal Rescue League chapter. And I have always enjoyed participating in Ruan’s Founder’s Days volunteering opportunities, ranging from Habitat for Humanity to helping adults with developmental disabilities.
To observe National Donate Life Month, we encourage you to learn more about organ donation, consider becoming a registered donor, and spread awareness to others on how they can help save a life. Click here to learn more about organ donation!