Now, it's all about traveling for Ron Sturgeon. He and his girlfriend, Linda Allen, have "been together nine years and we've made 165 trips."
Then, it was all about surviving.
"My dad died when I was a senior in high school and left me a Volkswagen and no place to live," Sturgeon begins. "My stepmother kicked us out and so I opened a Volkswagen repair shop. And so I was working on Volkswagens and we needed parts. So I started going to a salvage auction buying wrecked cars to get parts to fix my customer's cars.
"And pretty soon, I had accumulated 32 junk cars that we were robbing parts off of to sell parts to customers and that business was more lucrative than the repair business so I closed the repair business, took the 32 cars with one employee and opened a junk yard selling parts off the 32 cars in 1978."
Viewers will get to see just how far Sturgeon has come as his story is featured at 9 p.m. on CNBC in its original series, Blue Collar Millionaires. Its tagline? "They turned their dirty jobs into filthy riches," says narrator Tim McGraw.
It's the second season of the show that called Sturgeon a "junkyard god." But this day, he prefers another name.
"A magazine wrote a story about me some time ago and I ended up using the moniker, which is Mr. Mission Possible," Sturgeon said. "And I come from that school of thought that I believe anybody can be what they want to be."
His story is quickly told in the first segment of the show that includes a look at his now-former home.
("I did live in Colleville for the longest time, but I recently moved to downtown Fort Worth," he says. "I guess it's really not consistent with the story. I moved from my 10,000 square foot house with a 10-car garage to 2,300-square-foot condo with no garage, but I can keep up to 50 cars at my work, so I have plenty of places for cars.")
Wednesday's show also features a husband-and-wife team of gator hunters and a mother who hates messes.
Dressed in a brightly hued patterned shirt, Sturgeon looks directly into the camera and makes friends with an amiable demeanor, with accompanying video.
He built that first business, got it to 30 percent net profit and then sold it for $15 million to Ford Motor Co. ("In the long run," he says on the show, "it was a terrible fit for Ford.") When it didn't work out for Ford, he bought it back, made it profitable again and then sold it again.
His business sense is keen. Just look at two decisions he made early on.
He turned away from body work after someone came from the city and told him that he couldn't store cars "outside along Airport Freeway."
And another, even more fateful decision: "I will say that the other decision I made that was fortuitous, was back in that period -- I laugh now and you'll laugh -- but I was the guy that sold parts off the funny cars. And funny cars were 'Tyoti,' because no one could pronounce Toyota in 1978 so they called them 'Tyoti.' So I sold parts off 'Tyoti.' As you can kind of intuitively guess, that was a fortuitous move because no one else was selling parts off 'Tyotis.' And in coming years, as we know, 'Tyotis' became quite popular."
His story is not only inspiring, it's entertaining.
His other business interests include a chain of spas, self-storage and real estate holdings that include, you guessed it, junkyards. He also does "small business consulting" and has written seven books.
"I am trying to slow down, though," the self-proclaimed "overachiever" says.
Even his dogs over-achieve. Junkyards and dogs go hand in hand, we all know. Sturgeon's pampered pups Willie, Dixie and Lance have "their own room, their own door, and their own address." And a Facebook page with more than 27,000 fans.
A production company "filmed a sizzle reel for A&E about the dogs," he says. The show wasn't picked up nor was that time he was filmed for host Nick Cannon's new Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
He wouldn't be opposed to a show of his own, but whatever. He's got tonight.
Sturgeon has invited friends to watch the show with him at a place he goes once a week or so, The Smoke Pit. He says part of the show was filmed in the "absolute dive." He wouldn't be opposed to a show of his own. Will he make a speech Wednesday night?
"I think I will," he says. "I guess I am a ham."