MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO David Bronner needs no introduction in financial circles. But it wasn't Bronner's investment prowess recognized Monday by the state tourism department.
Bronner received the group's lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the tourism industry.
Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail -- a collection of top-notch courses statewide -- made Alabama one of the greatest golf destinations in the world. And it was Bronner who came up with the idea.
When you add the trail's accompanying hotels, convention centers and spas, it's clear why tourism officials chose Bronner for the honor. He received the award in one of the hotels he built -- the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa, which played host to the Governor's Conference on Tourism.
When asked about his interest in tourism, Bronner explained his overreaching goal is to attract more economic development to the state.
"Whether it's hotels or golf courses, the idea is to get industrial leaders interested in Alabama," Bronner said. "When we get industrial leaders interested, we get things like Hyundai. We get things like Toyota."
Bronner's many investments have not only benefited members of the RSA, but the entire state. Reflecting on his career so far, Bronner admitted, helping others has been very gratifying.
"It's fun to be in a place where positive change can happen," he said. "You gotta have fun at whatever you do or you won't be successful."
During his speech to the tourism group, Bronner also gave a less-than-optimistic prediction for America's economy. He said political bickering in Washington has many business leaders feeling uncertain about the future. That uncertainty, he says, is why many companies are not hiring.
You can listen to Bronner's entire speech above.
You can read a list of other award recipients from the Governor's Conference on Tourism here.