In the late 1990s, Quentin T. Howell found himself searching for a new career after concluding his service to his country as a naval officer. He was living in Savannah when a friend suggested becoming a representative in the medical supply industry.
“At the time, there were practically no African-Americans in the medical supply industry in the state,” said Howell. “That intrigued me, and so I started in this business working as a regional representative. “
Howell, a Milledgeville native, met his wife LaTonya on trips back to the area when servicing his clients. He credits her with naming the company — Howell’s Medical Equipment and Supply — while they were still dating and then taking the business to the next level after becoming his wife.
After 13 years of marriage, the couple still finds being partners in life and business a positive endeavor.
“Everyone wants to know how it is to work with my husband, and I tell them that it has always seemed very natural to me,” said LaTonya. “We both have each other’s best interest in mind when running our business together.”
Howell said that while he shines in the marketing aspects of the business, LaTonya manages the daily operations that keep their company thriving.
“I thought I could multi-task, but she is a true multi-tasker,” said Howell. “We truly complement each other, and that is why we work so well together.”
The company is a full-service medical equipment and supply retailer and wholesalers. They offer clients a wide range of supplies including but not limited to CPAP machines, motorized wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, seat lifts, diabetic shoes, and testing supplies, walkers, canes, Arthritis heating pads, and Erectile Dysfunction supplies.
The company bills all insurances including Medicaid and Medicare. Howell is fond of saying, “If Medicare covers it, we carry it.”
The Howells are proud of the services they provide to people in need of medical supplies. LaTonya said she enjoys educating people on how their lives are improved using medical equipment.
“This is a business where you truly get to bless people because you give people back their ability to be mobile and suppress pain, become more independent and allow them to get their self-esteem back, as well,” said Howell. “We care about our clients and try to live each day by our motto: ‘Doing What’s Best for the Patient.’”
According to Howell, HMES is one of the largest companies of its kind in the region — serving Georgia and parts of both South Carolina and Northern Florida. He takes pride in knowing their business provides jobs throughout the tri-state area.
The Howells are not just known from their company but are also well-respected members of the community because of their nonprofit affiliations and charitable causes.
LaTonya established a yearly clothing giveaway event for needy families that is held each second Saturday in December at the National Guard Army at 107 Ga. Highway 49.
The couple is also involved in multiple food drives with social groups that hold grocery giveaway days throughout the year.
Howell is a member of multiple community organizations including the Milledgeville-Baldwin County 100 Black Men, the Baldwin County Democratic Party, and the local chapters of the Southern Leadership Conference and the NAACP.
“LaTonya and I are involved in many service projects because we believe in helping people and giving back to our community,” said Howell.