Monday, 11 September 2017 10:43

Ron Simmons, Vice President, Destination Sales, MACC

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RRJ:  You mentioned that you were raised in a Christian home.  How instrumental do you think that foundation was in who you are today?


Ron:  Being raised in a Christian home was critical to everything I believe today.  It was the foundation for my life and lifestyle. I’m by no means perfect! I make mistakes like anyone else. I sin. I’m human. However, when I do make those mistakes, I know God is forgiving, and I ask for his forgiveness. Then I try to change and do better. I try to please God. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I learned that as a child. My mother and father were excellent examples of that as they displayed love for us in the home. We were raised in the church and learned the principles of Christian living…LOVE. The Bible doesn’t specifically address every situation we will be faced with in life, but the Christian principles I was taught still help me with those decisions.  


RRJ:  While your father was away during your childhood serving three tours in Vietnam, he still was a strong, male lead in your life. How did his influence grow you as a man?


Ron:  I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have a father and mother like I had. My dad is retired Air Force. He taught me everything about being a man. He taught me the importance of doing things right… the first time. He taught me there is no such thing as “I can’t.” He taught me how to work with my hands and my brains. He taught me how to love my family and take care of them. He taught me how to support my children and their goals and participate with them. He taught me how to manage stress and trust in God regardless of the task. He allowed me to experience difficulty without always bailing me out. It made me stronger and wiser. He was always there when I needed him. He was TOUGH! REAL TOUGH. At the time, I thought he was mean. Today, he’s 82 years old, and I thank God for him every day! He was and still is a blessing to our family!


RRJ:  When you were young, while your father was away in Vietnam, your mother made sure you were in church.  How important do you think church involvement is in spiritual growth?


Ron:  I honestly can say, had it not been for my mother and the church, I don’t know where I would be today. Going to church wasn’t an option in our house. We didn’t consider it an option nor a task. We loved it! I was very involved in the youth group ministry, serving in the church.

I attended private school first through sixth grades. My first public school experience was at Bellingrath Jr. High. What an experience! That’s where my Christianity was tested for the first time…7th grade! I graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in 1983, and loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute. I was a student athlete and was very active in school, but being a Christian was very important to me. I didn’t want to let my mother, father, or church members down.

I remember I would walk from home to the church in high school to meet my minister on Saturday to study the Bible and practice public speaking. In high school, I was chaplin of the largest club in the school…Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Three students were selected by the club sponsor, Coach John Bricken, to speak to students in Talladega at the Helen Keller School. I was one of the three. This wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for my church involvement and my mother. My mother is the reason!


RRJ:  Your job at the Chamber of Commerce has given you opportunities to use the talents God has given you.  How has your ability to form relationships been helpful in your profession?


Ron:  I am very fortunate to work for an organization that still allows us to pray publicly and talk about God. I have the opportunity to meet people from around the country and the world. I have built relationships that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to build otherwise. I get to discuss difficult topics and experiences with them, such as: the South and its history, civil rights and our progression. And through these conversations, I usually get to discuss the goodness of God. I get to share how God has used our city to bring about change to the world for everyone. It’s a blessing to have a passion for this work, but still get to share the good news when appropriate and needed. That’s not usual in today’s society.


RRJ:  Explain how you get to live out your faith in the workplace? 


Ron:  The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce encourages community service and involvement. It’s a perfect fit for me. Currently, I serve on the Board of Directors for Brantwood Children’s Home, the Montgomery Area Food Bank, and the Montgomery Metro YMCA. All of these organizations make a direct impact and serve our community. Christianity is more than “going to church”. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday, how we serve others. These groups provide that opportunity for me.


RRJ:  You created the group D.A.D.S., which meets at the Montgomery Public Library every 2nd Saturday.  Can you tell us the goal behind that group?


Ron:  D.A.D.S. (Dads and Daughters Saturday) is my favorite service organization. My daughter (Erin) and I started D.A.D.S. in 2017, in partnership with the Montgomery City County Public Library and Dreamland BBQ.  Approximately 15-20 fathers (or moms) and their daughters (or sons) meet at the downtown library every 2nd Saturday from 11am – 12 noon. We read, play, laugh and do activities together. We build relationships! We discuss life lessons and challenges. We talk about how we can be better people. The older girls have formed a book club and discuss the books together.

Watching those dads and daughters bond and have fun is a good feeling! Plus, it provides my daughter with the opportunity to give back and serve. She’s learning how to build relationships with others regardless of their background and how to demonstrate grace and love to others.


RRJ:  What advice would you share with our readers on living consistently for God in everyday life?


Ron:  When I was a boy, my minister used to make reference to a TV show called, “Wild Kingdom”. Wild Kingdom was a show that documented wild animal life in Africa. He would ask, “How does a lion determine which gazelle he will attack in the pack?” The answer was, the one that leaves the pack. The pack refers to God’s word. My suggestions:


1. Stay in God’s word! Don’t leave the pack.

2. When you make a mistake, ask God for forgiveness, and forgive yourself. Move on, and look for opportunities to share God’s word with others though your life experiences.

3. Look for the positives in a challenging situation.

4. The more you understand God’s grace and His expectations of us to extend it, the happier you’ll become, regardless of your circumstances.

5. Use your talents to serve. When you fall off track, get back in the pack!


1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.


Ron lives in Montgomery with his wife, Annette.  They have three children: Ron, Jr., Austin, and Erin.


Photo by Shelby Berry, ExploreMedia.

Last modified on Monday, 11 September 2017 10:48
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