James B. “Pepper” Rutland is founder, president, and CEO of MMR Group, Inc., the nation’s largest privately owned merit shop electrical and instrumental contractor. Dedicated to excellence in electrical and instrumental construction, maintenance, and technical services, over the years the company has expanded throughout the country and across the globe.
Before founding MMR Group in 1991, Rutland was chair and CEO of MMR Holding Corporation and president, CEO, and executive vice president of Matthews-McCracken-Rutland Corporation. In 2000, he established the Southwestern Power Group, a leading force in renewable energy markets, and in 2007 began work on the SunZia energy project. He played major roles in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts with Fluor/FEMA.
A graduate of Baton Rouge High School, Rutland attended LSU on a football scholarship. He was a member of the 1971-1972 All SEC Academic Team and captain of the team in 1972. He earned a bachelor’s degree from LSU in 1972 as a member of the first graduating class from the construction technology program, now the construction management program.
Rutland is a corporate sponsor of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, supports an employee wellness center, and is a founding member of the Miracle League at Cypress Mounds, a nonprofit organization created to give children with any type of disability or special needs the opportunity to play baseball as a part of a team and an organized league. He supports the College of Engineering through the mentoring of construction and engineering students and has established two engineering laboratories.
His numerous honors include the College of Engineering Hall of Distinction Award, induction into the College of Engineering Society for Engineering Excellence, Baton Rouge Business Report “Best Places to Work” recognition and, most recently, Baton Rouge Business Report 2022 Hall of Fame Laureate.
Rutland and his wife, Connie, have two children, Kennan and Michael, and four grandchildren.
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"LSU has been a great place for me. It has helped me forge the foundation of who I am and contributed greatly to the successes I've had throughout my career. I continue to be amazed at the talent which comes from my alma mater, and for that I owe this University much gratitude. I will always be “Forever LSU.” - James B. "Pepper" Rutland