After high school, Brown headed to Texas A&M to study aeronautical engineering. Before long, he was called to serve in the army and when he returned to college, his future plans had changed. "I heard that petroleum engineers make a better salary than aeronautical did, so I changed," says Brown, co-founder of Wagner & Brown.
Starting out as a roughneck, Brown worked in Sonora and Abilene before getting his first job as an engineer. "I worked first of all in Alice as a production engineer. (Mycah) And then you moved to Venezuela. How was that? (Jack) I enjoyed it very much. Just down there for two years. It was exciting."
In 1957, Brown moved to Midland to work for J.E. Jones Drilling where he'd eventually meet his future partners. "Cy (Wagner) came to work for Jones a few years later than I did. Then, Dean Stolz, who also was our partner, promoted a well with Jones, so he got involved with drilling wells. Cy and I were engineers and geologist, so he would like to get together and have a beer and talk about how things worked and everything. Finally, just decided we would make a good partnership."
Although Brown and the late Cy Wagner spent most of their time making deals, they also took time to make some memories. Like on a fishing trip to Mexico that Brown describes as, "an example of how we had such a good relationship."
On April 1, their company, Wagner and Brown, will celebrate 50 years of success. With a lot of success came a lot of money. But instead of keeping it all for himself, Brown chose to give back. The dining hall at Midland College is just one of the many things he's done for his community.
When asked why giving back has been so important, Brown replied, "The community gave it all to me. Midland, in my mind, is the center of the oil business. I couldn't have done it without Midland. So, why shouldn't I give back to Midland."
Now, at the age of 86, Brown still enjoys coming to his office daily for the same reason he always has. "Excitement everyday. What's gonna happen today? Been that way for fifty years."
He typically only takes time off for his favorite hobbies - skiing and sailing. He says his favorite place to set sail is, "Down in the Caribbean. I've been to most of the islands down there a time or two."
But at the end of the day, he says there's no place like home. "I could go just about anywhere in the world I wanted to to live, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere besides Midland."
Brown has also received dozens of honors and awards including the highly coveted "Sterling C. Evans" medal that only eleven people, including Brown, have ever received. He's received the Permian Basin Petroleum Associations Top Hand Award, and he's also been inducted into the Petroleum Museum's Hall of Fame. Brown and the late Cy Wagner were also the 2010 Permian Basin International Oil Show's honorees.