After looking at peer nominations, each month we award the PT of the Month to an outstanding member of our staff. In the case of Doug Howard — the owner and director of the Arrowhead location — this isn’t the first time he’s received this award. So what makes our January PT of the Month so great?
According to his coworkers, Doug is “popular amongst athletes and the active community,” and “known for his dry needling skills.” And, after the conversation I had with him, a few more things stood out, namely his love of Bruce Springsteen and baseball and, most of all, the passion he has to help his patients and grow his employees.
Doug grew up in Springfield, Illinois, a town situated in central Illinois and closer to St. Louis than Chicago. We’re guessing that’s how his love of baseball, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, was born, but we’ll touch on that later.
After asking him why he chose a career in physical therapy, Doug answered, “actually, it chose me,” followed with “and I am so very grateful that it did.” He pursued this calling by attending Midwestern University, in Downers Grove, IL and eventually joining our staff in 2004 as a physical therapist at our original Ahwatukee location. When the Arrowhead location opened in July 2005, he was transferred immediately and has served as the owner and director of the location ever since.
For over 12 years, Doug has been working on his passion. “I don’t have a ‘job,’ I have a passion, and I get to experience it every day,” Doug says. He says the best part of what he gets to do every day is creating opportunities for the 38 staff members he manages. “I am so very fortunate to have had so many passionate, hard-working, and caring people be a part of the Arrowhead staff over the years. I am sincerely committed to always do all I can to help those individuals pursue their own path,” Doug says.
The word “impactful” is one his office is familiar with, as he uses it daily and as part of the culture of the Arrowhead clinic. For him, there hasn’t been a single moment in time that has been the most impactful. Instead, it’s a recurring one. When he runs into current and former patients and they tell him “how impactful their experience was, it resonates as truly impactful for me,” Doug says.
When Doug isn’t at the clinic, he’s spending time with his family, exercising, eating at Arrowhead Grill, or heading to the beach. He loves listening to Bruce Springsteen and lists him first when asked, “what person, alive or dead, would you most want to meet?” — second and third go to Abe Lincoln and Stan Musial if you’re curious.
As far as the great loves of his life, we would guess practicing in the physical therapy industry is his first love and baseball would come in second. “As a child, I was a huge baseball junkie; knew every MLB player, every stat on the back of the baseball card. As the list of adult responsibilities grew, I drifted away from baseball,” Doug says. With the birth of his son, Dylan, in 2005 — “that was a BIG year” — he had a rebirth for the love of the game. “I made sure he arrived home from the hospital wearing a St. Louis Cardinals jersey. He is now 12, and through teaching him the game, he has helped to bring me back to that amazing game.”
Whether you’re an athlete wanting an expert dry needling treatment or simply a fellow baseball lover, make sure you chat with Doug the next time you’re at the Arrowhead clinic. You can also stop by any of our other locations with stellar physical therapists, like Doug, if the West Valley location isn’t easily accessible.
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