Category: CEO

Ron Foxcroft, Fox 40 & Fluke Transport

Ron Foxcroft
Ron Foxcroft

Insights from this inteview with Ron Foxcroft

About Ron Foxcroft

Wears at least three hats

Chairman & CEO Fluke Transport
Chairman, CEO and Founder Fox 40
Professional Basketball referee

Kicked out of high school

Trained to become a basketball referee
Paid 75 cents to referee his first game and told that he was lousy and would never make it as a referee.

Ten years later he refereed the basketball Olympic game

If you want to be respected, learn to listen.

Fluke Transport

Fluke Transport is the most challenging hat he wears. Trucking is not for the faint of heart. It is high volume with low profit and fraught with complications. It depends on people and trucks – both which occasionally break down.

I knew nothing about trucking before I bought the trucking company

How did he buy Fluke Transport with no money?
How did he add 20 trucks with no money?

Everybody has a hot button – a deal making button. It’s something other than money.

Entrepreneurs and Business Success

I didn’t want to work for a dumb boss.

Hire people smarter than you

No such thing as raw inborn talent. Entrepreneurs learn and grow. They are built.

My entrepreneurship qualities:
Drive to success
Fear of failure

Challenges are speed bumps. I had to practice overcoming speed bumps
Failure is a learning experience

My business approach was simple – revenue must exceed expenses

I’m 68 years old and work 100 hours a week. But it’s not work because its fun.

Contacts are everything. That’s why community involvement is important. Every person I meet is smarter than me in something.

When you work 20 hours a day it’s amazing what good luck comes your way.

You can buy a business even if you don’t have any money.

You need a business plan and a plan B and Plan C

You need a stable of mentors

You can’t be a winner without a team

Sometimes you have to have Onions

About Fox 40

The Fox 40 whistle is sold in 140 countries

The Fox 40 whistle was conceived out of frustration with the existing product

In Canada they don’t like change. We were selling in 35 countries before we sold any in Canada. The first Canadian customer commented that “I read about you in Sports Illustrated. If the Americans like you, it must be good.”

The whistle is sold in sports, marine and personal safety markets


More information about our guest

Fluke Transport

Fox 40

Canada Basketball

Hamilton Community Foundation

McMaster Alumni Gallery


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Bill Johnson – I am McJobs

Bill Johnson – former CEO McDonalds Canada

At age 18, Bill Johnson started flipping burgers at a McDonalds in London, Ontario. It was painful to be behind the grill on a Friday night while his friends ventured out for a night of socializing. When they stopped by for burgers they laughed at him and the funny outfit with the paper hat.

They’re not laughing anymore. Bill leveraged hard work and a little luck to move up through the ranks. After serving as President of McDonald’s Mexico he returned home to become President, CEO and Chairman of McDonald’s Canada.

It was a challenging 35 year career that equipped Bill with powerful lessons for career success. He retired in his early fifties. He now generously shares those life lessons with university students and almost anyone who wants to grow their career.

Insights from this interview

McJobs – that term angered Bill so much that he went on the TV news to defend retail work. Today he’s adopted “I am McJobs” as his banner and website.

You don’t need to invent the solution. Somewhere in the world someone has gone through this before.

The expensive lesson from guacamole burgers


Bill Johnson didn’t go to college or university but today he lectures to MBA and EMBA students at Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

Career advice

Tell the company about your expectations.

What was the silver bullet? Hard work!

You might need to grow a mustache.

Find a mentor that you can call anytime.

Get out of Canada. Work internationally.


I am McJobs

Video – work international

McDonalds Canada

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Jim Estill – Zero to $2 Billion

Jim EstillJim Estill – Zero to $2 Billion

Jim Estill was CEO of Synnex Canada at the time of this interview (June 2008). Synnex Canada with sales of about $2 billion is a distributer of computer and electrical products. Jim started EMJ Data from the trunk of his car in 1979 and grew sales to $375 million 25 years later when he sold to Synnex Canada and became the CEO.

Interesting facts about Jim Estill

  • Started a painting business while in high school
  • Author of the book, Time Leadership
  • Started his CEO blog in May 2005
  • Marathon runner

Insights from this interview

Started selling from the trunk of his car because that’s what he had at the time

A growth maniac – set and revised sales goals at $100M to $200M to $500M

There is a right business opportunity for everybody of every size

For selling – “no” means “not now”

Every strength is a weakness and every weakness is a strength

Being healthy is a good time management tool

Hire for cultural fit and integrity

Seek out successful people to learn from them

Start, do it, build momentum.  Success breeds success

Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap.  I want to have failures because it means I’m stretching


CEO Blog: Time Leadership

TEDx Talk

Forbes Article about CEO blogging

Computer Dealer News on Jim’s departure from Synnex

Jim Estill at CanRock Ventures


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Fred Eisenberger, The Canadian Urban Institute

Fred Eisenberger BIM Sept 16, 2011

Interview with Fred Eisenberger, President and CEO of The Canadian Urban Institute and former Mayor of Hamilton.

Fred Eisenberger was appointed President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute in December of 2010. His career includes serving as a Councillor for the City of Hamilton and the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth for nearly a decade in the 1990s.  In 2001, he was appointed by the Federal Government as the inaugural Chairman of the new Hamilton Port Authority providing strategic and operational leadership to one of Canada’s largest inland Ports and, in 2006, Eisenberger was elected Mayor of Hamilton and served until November of 2010.  As Mayor, he championed a wide array of successful initiatives promoting sustainability, urban revitalization and economic transformation in a diverse regional city of more than 500,000 people. His private sector experience as Government and Community Relations President for ECS Consulting (2000-2006) was focussed on providing public and private entities consulting services in strategic planning, business development, public relations and communications.

What is the Canadian Urban Institute?

The Canadian Urban Institute is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in researching and championing urban issues.

Because so much of the world’s population lives in urban areas, the CUI helps Canadian and International urban leaders make more informed decisions about urban planning and economic development.

The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) is a Toronto-based not for profit organization with a national and international reach. Through our work we seek to create a world of thriving, sustainable, harmonious and engaged urban regions

Some of the countries that CUI is working in includes Jamaica, Phillipines, Cuba and Ethiopia.


Insights from this interview

Two important questions that need to be addressed about regional economic development are:

How do you organize your assets?

How do you promote your assets to the world?

What under-valued asset does Iloilo, Iloilo have to offer?

Two big issues that urban centers need to review are their approaches to energy and water.

The Canadian Urban Institute provides clients with independent and unbiased data and advice. Their strength is that they will tell you what you need to know – not necessarily what you want to hear.

As a not-for-profit, the CUI has both advantages and disadvantages in the marketplace. But they still need to sell the value of their services.

Personal insights from Fred Eisenberger

Leadership is not about managing. It’s about taking the organization somewhere.

It all comes down to relationships.

On economic development: Give the people the resources and get out there and beat the bushes.

On politics as a career

There is always both the business side and the personal side to relationships.

Politics can be a career and business killer. It consumes you fully.

Make sure you are ready to take the slings and arrows of politics.

Have a plan B.

Interview with Fred Eisenberger, President of the Canadian Urban Institute,  on the weekly radio show,  Business in Motion with host George Torok.

Canadian Urban Institute


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Alan McLaren, Infinity Communications

Alan McLarenInterview with Alan McLaren, Co-CEO of Infinity Communications

Who is Infinity Communications?

Infinity is a full service communications agency specializing in public relations, branding and social media strategies.  We help our clients “Get Noticed and Stay Noticed”, through focused communication programs designed to build brand awareness and drive revenue growth.

One of the best ways to reach your target audiences is to use a combination of traditional public relations strategies offline, while leveraging social media and web strategies online.

We are living in a connected world and it is important to bridge the conversation both online and offline.


Insights and excerpts from this interview with Alan McLaren of Infinity Communications

Purpose of marketing is building the brand to be top of mind.

Common mistake on the web is not connecting the dots.

Key question is, does more traffic mean more business? That is the bottom line.

Marketing is not scientific. One plus one does not equal two.

Half the time, we turn prospective clients away because the fit is not right.

Red Flag Deals was one of our proud success stories.

I hate doing the numbers – but you need to do that.

As Co-CEOs we each have our strengths and defined roles.

Interview on Business in Motion with radio show host George Torok


Click below to listen to, or download the interview with Alan McLaren.

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Kathy Bardswick, The Co-Operators Group

Kathy Bardswick CEO
CEO Co-operators

Radio interview with Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of the Co-Operators Group.

Kathy Bardswick has been with the Co-Operators for 32 years. She worked her way through various roles with the company. A working mom with four children she was inspired by her own mother (with six children) who encouraged her to pursue her dreams. Kathy earned her MBA at McMaster University.


Inisghts from this interview with Kathy Bardswick

The Co-Operators is a co-operative that is owned by 47 other like-minded co-operatives.

Each owner owns an equal share. The share value does not change which means that the company does not focus on driving share value.

They are in the business of offering financial security for Canadians along with peace of mind for the ups and downs of life.

Co-operators was formed to meet unmet needs in 1945 by Saskachewan farmers who were unable to buy insurance from the traditional insurers.

It is run democratically in that everyone has a voice – yet people are held accountable.

A big concern and worry is the sustainability of our world environment and the quality of life. The increasing gap between rich and poor does not bode well.

Youth Sustainability Conference – an opportunity for students to leverage their passion for sustainability.

We have reduced our internal footprint by 22%. The next goal is 50% and the step after that is to be carbon neutral.

entrepreneur to separate the two.


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Ray Simmons

Interview with Ray Simmons, President of CableTest Systems Inc.

CableTest Systems tests the wiring systems of military jets, high speed trains and the Space Shuttle (the exterior fuel tank has 8,000 connenctions). They provide a complex version of an electritian’s multi meter.

Ray Simmons has been the president and owner of CableTest Systems for the past nine years. Previously he was President of CRS Robotics. After a two year “retirement” he got edgy and longed to get back into business so he bought CableTest Systems.

Insights from this interview with Ray Simmons:

“Going public with CRS … was not me. That’s why I retired.”

“Retirement was quite challenging. I felt like I was disconnected.”

“55% of our business last year was in Europe. Asia is our next frontier. We like India.”

“Regrets? Two…”

“I think that in a technologly company a president that is totally focussed on technology is dangerous.”

“We’re on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.”


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Howard Shearer, Hitachi

Howard Shearer
Howard Shearer

Interview with Howard Shearer, President and CEO of Hitachi Canada. He is the first non-Japanese to be president of the company. He seems to thrive on cultural diversity. He is orginally from Jamaica. He is also a people person. The two characteristics probably go hand-in-hand.

Howard has worked at Hitachi for over 25 years.

Hitachi globally employs over 300,000 people.

Hitachi is a strong technology company that operates in several markets including: consumer electronics, automotive electronics, computer storage, energy, medical, biotechnology, and high speed trains.

Insights from this interview with Howard Schearer:

“We’re in the business of serving customers.”

“There is no Hitachi car, but we are a major component in cars.”

“Business in all about relatioinships and that’s not done with products.”

“I don’t screen my calls. If it’s good news I want to hear it. If it’s bad news I want to hear it first.”

“I’m happy when it’s Monday.”


Hitachi Canada

Click below to listen to this 30-minute interview with Howard Shearer.

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