Founder & C.E.O., Fox 40 International Inc.
Ron Foxcroft, the man behind the first pealess whistle, was recently named by Referee Magazine as one of the 52 most influential referees in North American History. He has also been recognized as one of the top 30 officials who have made a difference by the National Association of Sports Officials.
As a young referee, the idea to create the revolutionary pealess whistle came to Ron after falling victim to many frustrating incidents involving faulty pea-style whistles. The most embarrassing of these incidents took place at the Montreal Olympics during the Gold Medal basketball game. A player from the Yugoslavian national team elbowed a U.S team member. Ron blew the whistle – but nothing happened! Ron was booed by thousands of disgruntled fans that thought he had missed the call. That's when Ron knew he had to come up with a superior design, one that would never jam, stick, or fail... and so the Fox 40 Classic Pealess whistle was born.
Ron first introduced his Fox 40 Classic Pealess Whistle at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis. It was here that Ron's innovative pealess design changed the game for referees worldwide. The Fox 40 Whistle is the whistle of choice for referees in numerous professional sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, NHL, CFL, FIBA, FIFA and NCAA. Fox 40 Whistles are not only for sports, they are also used around the world by organizations and individuals for search and rescue, marine, outdoor and personal safety.
Ron plays an active role as Founder & C.E.O. of Fox 40, Chairman & C.E.O. of Fluke Transportation, and has been named by Profit Magazine as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs of the decade. He also proudly continues in his 11th season with the National Basketball Association as an Evaluator of Officials.
President & C.O.O., Fox 40 International Inc.
Dave Foxcroft has listened to whistles all of his life, he has also listened to the people who use them. Knowing everything about his products and his customers is very important to him.
Here at Fox 40, Dave is responsible for managing Fox 40's Global Sales, Marketing and Operations. He oversees the development of the company's diverse, innovative product base and strategic acquisitions.
Dave's experience along with his highly capable team, has led Fox 40 to a pivotal point in its evolution. Fox 40 is a product-led, consumer-focused, whistle and accessory company that people worldwide have come to know and trust. Dave is excited about the future growth opportunities for Fox 40 International, and would like to thank you for your support and continued patronage. "Growth in our business creates opportunities for us to make an even bigger difference for our clients by allowing us to bring new ideas and innovations of the highest performance, while staying focused on social and environmental issues. These are the things that allow us to be a dynamic, competitive force in the marketplace."
Dave served as Chairman of the Canadian Sporting Goods Association for 5 years and is currently a Board Member serving as Past Chairman of the Association. As a delegate for the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry Association and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, he is directly involved in many events of the industry. He is also an active supporter of several charitable associations that support today's youth. Dave plays an active role in the community and is on the board of directors as well as a member of the Burlington Minor Football Association. If he isn't at Fox 40's Worldwide Headquarters, you might find him working as a professional referee in the Canadian Football League (CFL Referee #30). Dave likes to use the Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG. If you can't see him, you’ll definitely hear his whistle!
Ron Foxcroft was a referee with a problem
Since an injury ended his football playing days at the age of 17, he gained satisfaction as a basketball referee. Eventually refereeing became a very successful part-time career, in addition to his full-time job as President of a Hamilton, Ontario trucking company, Fluke Transport & Warehousing, which sports the famous slogan "If It's On Time, It's A Fluke." Although in demand around the world as a referee of professional and even Olympic basketball games, Ron found himself frequently let down by his one piece of essential equipment.
"I always had a problem with whistles," he explains. "They have a cork pea in them and when you blow a pea-whistle really hard, nothing comes out. When they're frozen or wet or get some dirt inside, they lose their efficiency." As a result, Foxcroft, like many other referees, sometimes found himself unable to stop play even though he saw a clear violation take place. In a fast-moving game like basketball, a whistle that fails does not get a second chance to sound. In a really big game, even when the whistle did work, the play occasionally was not stopped because the whistle's sound was drowned out by the noise of the roaring crowds.
Although the occasional malfunctioning of small plastic whistles was hardly a problem likely to cripple professional basketball, it did hinder proper enforcement of the rules, not to mention causing referees such as Foxcroft substantial embarrassment from time to time. On one particularly frustrating occasion, a crowd of 18,000 fans (a record at that time for basketball attendance in Canada) at the Montreal Olympic finals, booed and hissed at Foxcroft when a Yugoslavian player elbowed a U.S. team member and was not penalized. Foxcroft had seen the infraction and blown his whistle, but it had failed to sound!
Conception of the Fox 40 Pealess Whistle
Eventually, he decided it was up to him to improve the situation. He made a wish list of features for a better whistle, and Foxcroft showed it to a plastics molding company in Stoney Creek, Ontario. They agreed to make parts for such a whistle if Foxcroft could present him with a design. They also recommended an Oakville, Ontario design consultant, Chuck Shepherd, who agreed to take on the project.
The first prototype Chuck produced was louder and more reliable than a pea-style whistle, but too large and awkward. Undaunted, Shepherd worked with Foxcroft through more than 14 prototypes before at last perfecting the Fox 40 pealess whistle. The Fox 40 whistle looked, felt and sounded very much like its predecessor, but worked on a very different principle. A pea-style whistle gets its shrill from the movement of the small cork pea in its interior, which alternately covers and uncovers the hole through which air is released. This produces a rapid alternation of sound and silence, the characteristic whistle vibrato – until the pea gets stuck in the hole.
Perserverance pays off!
Although Foxcroft was convinced a better whistle would sweep the basketball market, he was unable to obtain bank financing for the venture. He managed to put together $150,000 from his own private funds and, in 1987, he created Fox 40 International Inc. The whistle is a plastic-molded injection process that is ultrasonically welded together, rather than glued.
The Fox 40 Pealess Whistle was a success from the first time it was used professionally, at the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis, Indiana. Foxcroft was surprised to discover how far beyond basketball its appeal traveled – even the Indianapolis Police Department was interested in using this new whistle. In 1990, the pealess whistle was tested by the National Hockey League and had become the whistle of choice for the National Basketball Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Football League, the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League. It was heard above the crowd at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and was the whistle of choice in the 1990 World Cup Soccer held in Italy, the 1994 World Cup held in the United States and the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea. Fox 40 Pealess Whistles have since been used in numerous world-class tournaments, leagues and every Olympics.
Today Fox 40 whistles are sold in over 140 countries, not only to referees, but to coaches, water safety, search and rescue teams, personal security, animal trainers and all sport enthusiasts as well as the outdoor and premium incentive markets. In fact, the Fox 40 Pealess Whistle is an approved and recommended sound-signaling device for the Coast Guards worldwide.
The complete line of Fox 40 products has since grown substantially! The line now includes many whistles – Classic, Eclipse, Caul, Mini, Sonik Blast, Sharx, Micro, Pearl and SuperForce, most available in fingergrip and CMG (Cushioned Mouth Grip) styles; whistle attachments; a full line of Pro Coaching Boards in various sizes and sports; Mouthguards and an expanding Marine Safety product division.
Fox 40 continues to develop new and innovative products as well as attending many of the major sporting goods, premier incentives and safety tradeshows worldwide.
Ron's son, Dave Foxcroft, joined the research, development and promotional team and is currently President and COO. In over 25 years of business the company has grown and is now comprised of a Canadian head office with a U.S. based sister company Tri-Foxco U.S.A.