US Navy Seabee Veteran Robert “Bob” Brown of Andover ~ VALLEY PATRIOT OF THE MONTH, HERO IN OUR MIDST


By: John Cuddy – 02-23

US Navy Seabee Veteran and Andover resident Robert “Bob” Brown is the son of a US Military Veteran and Massachusetts firefighter. The Valley Patriot first met up with Bob Brown last year at a Chamber of Commerce function at Salvatore’s in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Bob and his staff helped write this article, a story of one of many local young, American Veterans, who are starting dynamic, mission focused, locally owned businesses, employing residents of the Merrimack Valley, after serving our Nation in the US Military.

After serving our Nation in the US Navy Seabees, Bob Brown started Broco Oil in 2007 with a $25,000 SBA loan which he used to purchase an old fuel truck for $7,000, renting a parking space for $100 monthly. Banks would not approve him while he was starting out as a young entrepreneur, and he had no collateral to secure a loan. In 2023, Broco Oil has a fleet of over thirty-five trucks, fifty employees and four commercial locations.

“The Small Business Administration not only provided me a $25,000 small business loan to get Broco Oil started in 2007, but also provided me resources to assist in state and federal government contracting opportunities,” said President and CEO, Bob Brown. “I am beyond grateful and humbled to be named “Veteran Owned Business of the Year” by the Small Business Administration. It’s an honor to be recognized among the other amazing Veteran Owned businesses throughout the Commonwealth.”

Robert “Bob” Brown began receiving counseling from Len Green at the Procurement Technical Assistance Center to prepare his business to handle the capacity required of government contractors. In 2017 a major event occurred – Broco Oil was called upon by the Federal Emergency Management Authority, (FEMA) as a prime contractor to assist in the national emergency response of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Without hesitation, Bob deployed his disaster response team to assist with the situation, earning his company recognition as a qualified small business applicant. One month after submitting his first federal contract bid, Bob and his staff, received notification that Broco Oil had been awarded a significant contract with the Department of Defense for ground fuels in the New England and Tri State area.

In 2019, Broco Oil broke ground on a new rail-served, bio-diesel facility that significantly lowers the carbon footprint for local oil heat consumers. As a result, two old railroad switches in Haverhill, which had been dormant for over 50 years were also reactivated, providing a new opportunity for many local small businesses to cut down on emissions and freight costs. This has opened new business activities within an SBA HUBZone, spurring new economic development activity in the Haverhill area.

“As a U.S. Navy Seabee veteran, Mr. Brown gained an understanding of the unique constraints involved with emergency response and large constructions jobs,” said SBA Massachusetts District Director, Robert Nelson. “We congratulate Mr. Brown for taking his military experience and turning it into a successful business that is supporting other veterans and the local community.”

Broco Oil earned the recognition of the 2019 Veteran Small Business Owner of the Year for Massachusetts for successfully expanding as a government contractor with designations as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). Broco Oil sells and distributes petroleum products to an active clientele of over 15,000 commercial and residential accounts in the Greater Boston area. Brown is a member of NEFI, MEMA, and the North Shore Oil Heat Association. He also enjoys mentoring other veterans and working as a Fire Captain at his local firehouse.

The U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo Memorial Award was presented on Veteran’s Day, November 11th 2021, to U.S. Navy Seabee veteran Robert Brown, owner of Haverhill’s Broco Oil. From the entire staff of the Valley Patriot, a very special thank you to Bob, and the employees of Broco Oil for their assistance in writing this article, especially Beth Downey of Broco Oil.

Firefighter, Veteran, Small Businessman, husband and father, Bob Brown is a “Hero in Our Midst”.

The Dracut American Legion asks all World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War Veterans, to call (603) 518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC! Veterans of all eras are asked to go the American Legion’s Web site, and join the American Legion, our mission is working with Congress, Veterans, and the Community, preserving our Veteran’s Benefits for future generations and serving all Veterans and their families.

John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (also known as the Seabees) after retiring from the US Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 26 years. If you know a World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War Veteran who would like their story told, please email him at ◊