Founder & CEO of MMR Group, James “Pepper” Rutland, is an avid believer in giving back to his community. In addition to leading MMR Group, which has become America’s largest management-owned electrical and instrumentation firm, Pepper Rutland is also a founding member and Vice President of the Baton Rouge-based nonprofit, Miracle League at Cypress Mounds. The Miracle League provides opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball and experience team culture through an organized league effort. The league invites men’s and women’s baseball teams to mentor children, whom Pepper Rutland and the other members of his organization believe should not be discouraged from playing sports because of their disability.
This mission is close to Pepper Rutland’s heart, and the desire to share sports with children comes from his own passion for athletics. After high school, Pepper received a football scholarship to Louisiana State University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in Construction Technology and Engineering. Pepper played football at LSU, where he took great pride in being part of the LSU Tigers. Mr. Rutland played the position of outside linebacker and was the defensive team captain.
LSU greatly impacted Pepper’s life. His fond memories and lifelong friendships created during his time at one of the country’s most renowned institutions for higher education, has led Pepper to direct many of his philanthropic efforts toward his alma mater. Mr. Rutland is an active board member of LSU’s Charles McClendon Scholarship Foundation, which gives children of former LSU athletes the financial means to get an education. Pepper is also an advisor to the LSU Construction Management program and speaks at various events to promote the organization.
Most recently, Pepper Rutland received the honor of having a gate named after him at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Pepper Rutland was recognized for his contributions of a one million or more dollars to the athletics department at the university. The former student athlete is quite thankful for his opportunities he received at LSU and enjoys giving similar opportunities to ensure the bright futures of young people.
Additionally, Pepper Rutland’s professional success has resulted in MMR Group being inducted into the LSU College of Engineering’s Society for Engineering Excellence. MMR Group’s donations have been extremely instrumental in the education of LSU’s eager engineering students, and will lead to the construction of two new engineering laboratories: a building simulation and information modeling studio, and an advanced materials and methods laboratory. Students who utilize these resources will be armed with the skills and experience to get them on track for successful careers in the construction industry. In addition to this donation MMR Group also provides opportunities to LSU students majoring in construction management and athletes through its internships and summer jobs.
Alongside his own philanthropic endeavors, Pepper inspires the same within his company. In just the last year, MMR Group has helped children in need through the Salvation Army’s ‘Angel Tree Giving Program,’ made donations to help recovery efforts following the Louisiana Flood, and delivered toys to children in Ecuador while working in the country. As a whole, the company values charity and the act of helping those who need it most.
Pepper believes that emphasizing philanthropy in today’s youth will be a huge factor in how our communities continue to grow. Through his work with The Miracle League and at LSU, Pepper has inspired many young athletes and parents who strive to provide support and opportunity for their children, who will hopefully, in turn, do the same for their children. This blog has served as a way for Pepper to connect with his community and help to inspire others along the way. Knowing there are a plethora of different types of community outreach, Pepper tries to showcase many unique causes, organizations, and opportunities in the philanthropic world.
Pepper Rutland’s goal as a philanthropist is to make a difference. Hence, he contributes to a wide range of national organizations, which include: United Way, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Red Cross and the Special Olympics.
Contact Pepper to learn more about his impact on his community and on LSU.