Ian Howard is the husband of state congressional candidate Melissa Howard. He suffered a reported heart attack as his wife faced increased scrutiny over her record. Melissa, who was running to represent House District 73 in Florida, was accused of lying about obtaining a college degree.
She claimed to have earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Miami University in Ohio. She even posted photos of herself alongside a supposed diploma. But the university confirmed to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that Melissa never graduated. Miami University general counsel Robin Parker also stated that the diploma she posted a picture with did not match diplomas the university has given out. Melissa Howard has admitted to lying, apologized and has dropped out of the race.
As all of this controversy unfolded around his wife, Ian Howard was recovering from a reported heart attack. He suffered a “cardiac event,” according to chairman of the Sarasota County Republican Party, Joe Gruters. The Lakewood Ranch Medical Center confirmed to FloridaPolitics.com that Ian Howard had been released from the hospital.
In addition to supporting Melissa’s political goals, Ian Howard also does business with his wife. Together they operate an international medical trade show.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Ian and Melissa Howard Are in Business Together in the Medical Field
Ian Howard is the president of the International Medical Expo & Marketplace. According to the website, the networking event takes place twice a year in Miami. The expo is billed as an opportunity for medical professionals to get together and make business deals. The exhibitions showcase products including medical equipment, biotechnology, lab equipment and pharmaceuticals.
Ian and Melissa Howard run the event together. She is named on the website as its Vice President. They promote the event as being very exclusive. Ian writes on the page, “Only aggressive and forward-thinking companies will be able to exhibit with us and reach a global audience, especially from Latin America & the Caribbean.”
According to Ian Howard’s LinkedIn page, IMMEX LLC haas been in operation since January 2016. But this was not Ian’s first experience in this particular field. The IMMEX website states that he has produced hundreds of trade shows since the late 1980s. That experience included working as Vice President for the Florida International Medical Exposition from 1988 until 1998.
Melissa and Ian also run their own real estate business. They reportedly own at least 15 rental properties.
2. Ian Howard Has Survived Cancer Twice and Published Books About His Battle
Ian Howard has written extensively about his persistent battles with cancer. He survived two bouts of the disease as a young man in his early 20s. According to his LinkedIn profile, Howard says he has also survived an earlier heart attack, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and undergone at least 24 surgeries.
He wrote a book about his health struggles, entitled Gotta Live. On his author website, Ian describes being in the hospital and hearing doctors whisper about how long he had to live. Ian says he refused to listen to the pessimistic outlook and just keep fighting.
In 2017, he released another book entitled Happiness. Part of the proceeds benefited the organization “Hope for the Warriors,” which helps veterans and families of fallen soldiers. The back cover of the book includes the following:
“I often wonder why people take life for granted. When people almost lose the most precious gift one can have….their life, or they wake up to daily uncompromising pain, then a person might stop, look around and start appreciating all the wonderful things that make up our daily existence. It’s time to stop and smell the roses. Before the roses are all gone.”
3. Ian Howard is a Navy Veteran and Remains Devoted to Helping Other Veterans
According to his Facebook page, Ian Howard previously served in the Navy. He does not specify exactly when. But he has apparently remained physically active ever since his Navy experience. His Facebook page also states that he is trained in Kick Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Amazon page for his book Gotta Live lists other professional ventures including professional wrestling manager, fitness consultant and actor.
Howard has reportedly remained devoted to giving back and helping his fellow veterans. As stated above, the organization he is most active with is Hope for the Warriors. Part of the proceeds from his book sales goes to the organization. According to its website, the non-profit provides support programs for current and retired service members as well as their families. Its stated goal is to restore service members’ “sense of self, family, and hope.”
4. Melissa Howard is Running for Office as a Republican and Husband Ian Appears to Share Conservative Political Ideas
Melissa Howard is running for the Florida House in her very first political race. She has previously served as president of a local chapter of the Florida Federation of Republican Women. Ian does not appear to be an outspoken political advocate, but Facebook posts reveal clues about his political ideology.
Support for Israel and fighting anti-Semitism appear to be important issues for Ian Howard. In 2015, he shared an article praising actor Michael Douglas. It was entitled, “World Tackle the Madness of Anti-Semitism.”
In January of 2015, Ian commented on an article by iHeart Media about Saudi Arabia’s alleged plans to build a “Great Wall.” The 600-mile barrier was planned to go up along its border with Iraq with the intention of guarding against ISIS fighters. Howard shared the article along with the comment, “Why aren’t we doing this with our Mexican boarder?”
5. Ian Howard Is Originally From the Northeast and Keeps Family Details Private on Social Media
Ian Howard is originally from Middletown, New Jersey, according to his Facebook page. His LinkedIn page states that he attended Rutgers University but does not specify when or if he graduated. But he did earn a bachelor’s degree from Union College in Miami in 1983. He studied pre-medicine and pre-medical studies.
Ian’s public Facebook page does not specify when he and Melissa got married. According to an article in the Herald Tribune, they live in Bradenton, Florida in a gated community called Lake Club. Their house is worth an estimated $1.4 million.
On Facebook, Ian also does not specify how many children he has, at least to people who are not his friends on the social media site. But he does appear to have at least one daughter. The photo above was shared on Facebook in November 2017, of Ian walking the bride down the aisle. There are no comments or no caption accompanying the photo.