Inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame in 2004
Ernie was born in 1940, in Hot Springs, VA. He graduated from Virginia’s Bridgewater College with a bachelor of arts degree in physical education, and later obtained his Masters degree from West Virginia University.
In 1963, he married and began teaching and coaching at Bath County Public Schools and in 1967 became a baseball coach at Washington & Jefferson College. Four years later he joined the George J. Howe Co., working his way from positions in administration and sales to become president, the position he held at the time of his induction.
Ernie says two people have had a lasting impact on his career. Gil Cooley, of Powers Candy Co., guided him in the business of candy packaging and distribution. His mother-in-law, Polly Howe Beech, who is also the daughter of Howe’s founder, “constantly encouraged me to continue the family business, but in doing so to treat our employees as family,” Ernie says.
A 12-year veteran of the NCWA board, Ernie has also served as the association’s president, and holds a seat on the NCA Buyer Advisory Committee. In addition, he is trustee and treasurer at United Community Hospital, chairman of the Grove City Foundation and a member of the Grove City Planning Commission.
Advice that has served Ernie well in his career is: “Put integrity as the top priority with your employees, suppliers and customers.”
He and his wife, Becky, have three children - Richard, Polly and Micaela. In his free time, Ernie enjoys playing golf.