In January 1978, on orders from the bishop, Ed Robb and his wife, Beverly, arrived in The Woodlands to establish the community's first Methodist church. Robb was 27 years old at the time, and The Woodlands was even younger, only 4 years old.
"I grew up in West Texas, and I'd never heard of The Woodlands—no one had," Robb said. "From the beginning the [Woodlands] Development Company advertised that The Woodlands some day would be a community of 150,000 people on 28,000 continuous acres. Of course, that was hard to believe."
His first year in The Woodlands, Robb established The Woodlands United Methodist Church, which initially met at the community's Information Center in the Grogan's Mill Village Center.
Under Robb's pastorship, The Woodlands United Methodist Church moved into its own location next to what was then McCullough High School.
Not long after Robb got his church going, he began his involvement serving the community. Over the years, Robb has been involved in a variety of organizations, including serving on various boards of nonprofit organizations, such as the South County YMCA, the Montgomery County Women's Center, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Interfaith.
In 1999, Robb made his first foray into local government, when he served as the chairman of the board of directors of the Town Center Improvement District, the forerunner to The Woodlands Township.
Robb said he has faced almost no challenges between his two roles as a faith leader and an elected official.
"Sometimes there have been misconceptions when people thought I was running with a religious agenda," he said. "I have no religious agenda in [the capacity of public office]. My interests are the same as the other directors, to determine what's beneficial to the residents and commercial interests of The Woodlands."
During Robb's tenure as chairman of the TCID board, The Woodlands began discussions into avoiding potential annexation by the city of Houston. Robb, along with State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, played key roles in the creation of The Woodlands' new form of governance as a township. Since 2010, Robb has served as a director on The Woodlands Township board of directors.
"When [all the political entities] became one by that legislation, it was only natural that I would continue to serve and build upon the successes of this new unified government," Robb said. "I've stood for election twice and am thankful that the voters have allowed me to continue to serve."
During his tenure as an elected official in The Woodlands, Robb has helped oversee the development of Waterway Square, the expansion of The Woodlands Pavilion, Market Street, Town Green Park and the community's new fire stations.
While the community has grown under Robb's leadership, so has his church. His congregation membership recently eclipsed the 10,000 mark, and the church began construction on a new $22 million Family Life Center.
"When we came here, The Woodlands had less than 2,700 residents, not a stop light, not a grocery store," Robb said. "All of our adult lives have been in The Woodlands. We've had the pleasure of growing with this community."