Guy to Know: Ed Howie

By Bonny Osterhage 

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BTY Creative founder Ed Howie is known for his big, booming voice and even bigger personality. Both are dwarfed, however, by his seemingly boundless zest for life. Whether he’s helping his clients define their brands or leading riders on one of his signature uphill climbs as an indoor cycle instructor at Amp Studios, Howie brings unbridled joy to his work and his community. With the launch of a successful podcast, This is Howie Do It, and a book in the works, the 55-year-old entrepreneur leads what he describes as a “robust” life, but it hasn’t always been that way. Before launching BTY Creative, Howie, a North Carolina native, worked his way through high school and college at Chick-Fil-A. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, he was recruited for the chicken giant’s corporate team in Atlanta, Georgia as a Senior Business Consultant. That launched a career that included roles as the Director of Marketing for Atlanta Bread Company and Director of Food Service Marketing with H-E-B in San Antonio. While his life may have appeared successful by society’s standards, the reality is that Howie was “unfulfilled” in his career and struggling with alcohol addiction. He credits his faith, and the love and support of his wife of 33 years, Kathryn, along with their two children, Parker and Sarah, for helping him find the path to sobriety and win at life on his terms.  

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“To me, winning at life means navigating it with peace of mind, which is what I define as joy,” he explains. “I had wins, but I didn’t have joy. Now I do.”  

Branding has become a big buzzword over the past few years, but what is it, and why does it matter?  

Branding is your identity. It’s not just what you tell the world you are, but it’s also what the world tells you that you are. Sometimes companies become so absorbed in their day-to-day operations that they lose sight of their distinction. At BTY, which stands for “Boldest, Truest, You,” our mission is to help brands remember and refine their purpose. Storytelling is how people connect, and our team equips brands with the words and actions they need to tell their stories effectively and persuasively.  

Your story includes a journey to sobriety. What made you give up alcohol more than 16 years ago? 

For many people, alcoholism is not about how much you consume, it’s about the way alcohol holds your mind and spirit hostage. Although my problem was mostly invisible to the world, I knew I needed to quit, but I was selfish. I didn’t want to be “Ed the alcoholic” or the guy that was never invited to parties. I also never wanted people to feel uncomfortable drinking around me. Eventually, though, I had to acknowledge that alcohol had more power over me than I had over it. I joined AA, and I asked God to remove the desire from my life. I believe the secret to success in recovery is faith in God or a higher power.  

At amp studios, you are known as the “King of the Hills” for your Friday resistance ride. What is it that you love about the climb?  

The world tells you that speed is power, but I disagree. One of my foundational beliefs is that true power exists where obstacles and effort collide, both in my classes and in my life. For me, that 50 minutes every Friday is group therapy in the sweatiest of ways. 

You have a book coming out in 2024 titled The Wonder of WOOO. What is WOOO? WOOO is an acronym for Winning Others Over and Over. If we want to win others over in our business and personal relationships, we must intentionally take care of ourselves. We need to find peace of mind, overcome our obstacles, and remember to breathe. When we are depleted in our own lives, it is hard to serve others from a place of fullness.  

You have helped countless local and national companies find their branding message, but what is Ed Howie’s brand?  

Joy Beast! I intentionally try to seek and create joy whenever and wherever I can.  

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