How to Be a Classic – Tips for Success and Happiness from Sugar Land’s Bob Brown

Brought to you by Classic Chevrolet

LinkedIn. Social networking. Life coaches.

Believe it or not, people used to succeed in life without all that stuff. Yes, once upon a time, folks found a place, rolled up their sleeves, and went to work in hopes of creating something lasting. Sugar Land has few better examples of this kind of pioneering spirit than Robert “Bob” Brown, who arrived here in 1977 to create Sugar Land Telephone, before eventually selling, retiring, and becoming a key fixture in Fort Bend/Sugar Land philanthropy. He serves or has served on 28 boards of directors of major businesses, has advised President George H. W. Bush, and is so active in local commerce that he’s a blur in his Sugar Land offices, where he serves as chairman of the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council. But the ever-humble Brown likes to be known as “Bob,” who looks out for the elderly, mentors aspiring entrepreneurs, and is passionate about Sugar Land’s heritage and his family. “We all know Bob as a very successful businessman and community figure here,” says Ray Aguilar of Classic Chevrolet, “but he’s just a plain good person. He’s bought four cars from us, refers business to us, and looks out for our customers like they’re his own. And to me, he’s a brother. He represents all the values that we promote at Classic Chevrolet.”

So who better to share tips on a classic approach to success? We sat down with Brown, who loves to chat sports, some of his favorite cars (there’s the ’36 Plymouth, the ’49 Ford, the ’53 Oldsmobile, and the mean 12-cylinder, ’58 Packard) and his wife Carole, and his two daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. And he agreed to share a few tips on how a classic approach can make for a happy and successful life:

Want a successful marriage? Have a plan, and stick to it:

When we were young – really young – my wife and I sat down and wrote down all our goals. I was 18 years old, she was 16, but we had specific goals. I wanted to retire at 55 years old. We wanted three children. We wrote down a goal for every year of our marriage. And do you know, although we were only able to have two children, whom we are so thankful for, we achieved every goal for every year of our marriage. This year, we will have been married for 60 years. It’s all about being committed to each other, and being committed to the plan for your lives.

The key to happiness is to give back:

I learned at a very young age: If you earn a wage or make something somewhere, then that’s the place you give back. When I was seven years old, my grandmother took me to the pharmacy, and volunteered me to work there. Of course, I didn’t understand at the time, but what she was teaching me is that you always have to give back. Fortunately, there’s a lot more charity work being done now than when I started out. Most people don’t know: There are 1,700 charities here in Sugar Land. So there’s no reason you can’t get involved. If you put yourself out there and show up for others, it comes back to you, I’m proof of that.

Success means creating successful relationships:

When we first got here, it was every man for himself and the good ol’ boy system. I worked hard to make things fair for everybody and do things the right way. The oil crash in the ’80s taught us to look out for everyone’s success, and create possibilities and opportunities for everybody. Really, you’ve got to care about each other. And how do you do that? You’ve got to treat the guy worth $50 million the same way you treat the guy worth five bucks. You talk to people and really get to know them. Just walk up, introduce yourself, and get to know them and what they’re about. And you’ve got to be good to people, even if they don’t trust you or understand why you’re being good to them. One day, they will.

If you’re looking for a classic experience for your next car purchase, we invite you to visit Classic Chevrolet, 13115 Southwest Fwy, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Call us at (866) 498-5485 or visit

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