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Blowing The Lid Off

"Ron Foxcroft"

Mid way through my speaking engagements I surreptitiously place my hand over my mouth and jar the audience awake with a shrill ear piercing blast on my FOX40 whistle. What's a FOX40 whistle? I'll explain in a moment.

They say if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. Ron Foxcroft designed a better whistle and the world is blowing down his door.

For years Ron Foxcroft was an amateur basketball referee. In real life he is the operator of a successful trucking company in Hamilton, Ontario, called 'Fluke Transport'. Their slogan was "if it's on time, it's a fluke". (So help me, I did not make this up. It's painted on his trucks.)

Ron refereed games where thousands of fans cheering and yelling would drown out his referee's whistle. There had to be a better way. In 1984, he set about designing a new shriller whistle. One that could be heard above any crowd no matter how noisy. It took three years to develop just the right

whistle, and in 1987, Ron was ready to market it. He introduced it at the Pan Am Games in Indianapolis. People went nuts. He had people knocking on his hotel room door at two a.m. wanting, demanding, to buy them. It's now being used at every major sports event. South American police ordered several thousand. Referees at the Olympics use this new Canadian phenomenon. In fact, it's now being sold through over 6,000 outlets in 80 countries.

He told me recently ... "We have really made an impact in the world personal security business. We expect the U.S. military will soon announce that our whistle is their official survival whistle. It was to have been announced a while ago but the Persian Gulf Crisis is holding it up.

"Lifeguards are using our whistle because they have finally found a whistle that will work when wet. Water doesn't affect them."

Recently, Ron introduced a new whistle. "We call it the 'Mini FOX40'. Itís smaller, available in assorted bright colors and has the same high shrill of the other one. It's no different."

Why, if it's the same as the other one did they bring out a new one in assorted colors, you ask?

"A whistle is no different than any other consumer product. Customers want to have choices. And I believe in giving customers what they want."

Not to mention he gets more shelfspace.

The factory in Hamilton, blows out over 10,000 whistles a day. And still can't keep up with demand. Ron's biggest single order came in the Fall of 1990 when Shoppers Drug Mart and Images Magazine ordered 250,000 whistles for a consumer promotion selling the whistle as a personal security warning device. The 'FOX40' is different from regular whistles in that it does not have a pea in it. Rather it is a scientifically designed three chamber configuration with each chamber set to a different pitch. The harder you blow, the shriller the ear piercing sound. Another sound it creates is that of cash registers ringing. Ron expects to sell over one million whistles in 1991. That will generate over 3 million dollars in sales as the world whistles a path to his door.

Ron's company 'Fortran International Inc.' is a family affair. Wife Marie, son Steve, and sister-in-law Elizabeth Grant, have worked with him since day one. In fact, Elizabeth is in charge of Foreign Sales.

Always on the go, Ron is looking to develop other sports related items that he can blow the lid off. Ron Foxcroft, another Canadian Achiever.

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