Asked for his reaction to the announcement he was to be recognized with one of this nation’s highest recognitions Ron Foxcroft said “It is with great gratitude I accept this honour on behalf of my family and my teammates at work and in the community who have helped me along the way. If I have achieved any success it is because of surrounding myself with smart, dedicated and talented people. Together we achieved!”
Ron Foxcroft is all about teamwork. Ask him about success and accomplishment and Ron will be the last to claim personal credit.
That is the Ron Foxcroft Burlington and Hamilton knows. While his presence is literally global, Ron’s heart remains firmly anchored at home. “I have always felt a person should give where they live and give where they work. Being named Citizen of the Year in Burlington where I live and Citizen of the Year in Hamilton where I work delivers a sense of pride. Being a dual citizen of Burlington and Hamilton is wonderful.”
“Hey Fox….” Walk along Brant Street or Main Street, it’s always “Hey Fox….”
Attempt a time tight plane connection in Miami or New York and it’s “Hey Fox….” from former NCAA basketball players, referees, NBA stars or international business leaders. “Hey Fox…..”! There’s always a grin. People are genuinely happy to see Ron and they won’t pass up the opportunity to let him know that.
Ron Foxcroft took seriously that he was the first Canadian to referee NCAA Division 1 basketball. Ask Michael Jordan who refereed his very first NCAA game playing for North Carolina. Ron’s presence internationally, such as refereeing the 1976 Montreal Olympics Gold Medal game had special meaning. “I always felt a duty to represent Canada well on the U.S. and international stages.”
Referee magazine named Ron Foxcroft among the 52 most influential referees of all time.
The entrepreneurial spirit has always burned strongly in Ron Foxcroft. Never more so than thirty-four years ago in Brazil, as the global Fox 40 success story emerged. Although under not exactly the most agreeable of circumstances.
Brazil was playing Uruguay in a pre-Olympic final and Ron blew his whistle to signal a foul. Silence. The pea had gotten stuck and Brazilian fans were wild.
“There were 19,000 people, no air conditioning, 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the defining moment of my life.” The seed for the Fox 40 pealess whistle had been planted.
Today, hear a referee’s whistle in the NFL, CFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA or international soccer and you’re hearing one of a continuing series of Fox 40’s.
The whistle was used for rescue operations during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake and hurricanes Wilma and Katrina. Because the Fox 40 can be heard through concrete the Governor of Oklahoma sent a private jet to pick up 500 whistles to be used in rescue efforts following Timothy McVey’s bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
Getting the first Fox 40’s developed wasn’t easy. “My economic climate 34 years ago was very poor. I had just bought a trucking company, drove a rented Mazda and had $65 in the bank” remembers Ron.
That trucking company?
Say “if it’s on time” to anyone in Hamilton or Burlington and you’ll immediately hear “it’s a Fluke” in reply. The iconic signature of Fluke Transport. A Ron Foxcroft original.
Ron Foxcroft inspires by his deeds.
It was January 4, 1998. Temperatures in the Hamilton-Burlington area were in the plus 4 degree Celsius range. It was raining. Further eastward the temperature dropped a few degrees. Not enough for snow, but perfect for freezing rain. A catastrophe. 5 million people would lose power, 600,000 in Eastern Ontario, many more in Quebec.
On air Canadians in the affected areas of Ontario whose phones still worked shared disturbing stories.
Almost immediately a call from Ron. “Can I be of help?”
The plan was to ask listeners to take emergency supplies identified as needed by our eastern neighbours to the Fluke yard where Ron would have his staff wrap, pallet and then truck the supplies to where they were most needed.
Hundreds of great and caring people, perhaps more than a thousand made their way to Fluke Transport.
The next day Fluke 18 wheelers headed east along Highway 401 to Kingston and Cornwall to provide those communities with the help they desperately needed. All normal business had been stopped at Fluke for 24 hours.
Ron’s successes are many. Personal, in business and in the world of sports officiating. All the result of hard work and uncompromising dedication to principle.
Ron Foxcroft. A good man, a great Canadian. Deserving of the Order of Canada.