Boyhood rivals team up to run business

By MELISSA ARNOLD State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Rick James and Scott Schrader have been best friends since the fifth grade despite the fact that when they met on the basketball court they were often wearing rival jerseys. But the two have remained friends for 30 years and are now in business together.

James is president and Schrader is vice-president of RJ industries, which specializes in the manufacturing of various plastic components for major automotive manufacturers.

James went to Elkhorn Middle School where he competed against Schrader, who went to Bondurant Middle School, in basketball and football.

After middle school, the two became teammates on Franklin County High School's basketball team.

Schrader said one of his favorite memories was sophomore year in high school when the basketball team played in the state championship.

"We were the only two sophomores on a pretty much senior team, but we got to play," he said. "We didn't win the game, but it was a great experience."

Schrader went to Georgetown College, where the friends found themselves competing against each other once again.

"I played on Georgetown's basketball team," Schrader said. "I was the point guard and Ricky played for Kentucky State University. He was there on scholarship and was their shooting guard."

James said he worked to put himself through college and in 2002 he received his criminal justice degree from KSU.

"I worked in KSU's cafeteria, and I was a housekeeper in the governor's mansion during the Martha Layne (Collins) and Wallace Wilkinson administrations," he said.

James said one of the qualities he loves about Schrader is that he is a very up-front and open guy. Also, he was Schrader's best man at his wedding.

"Scott is very humorous, and he is very down to earth," he said. "We have just been lifelong friends."

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