Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - February 8, 2001
President, Calgary Flames & Canadian Airlines Saddledome
"Hey, did you hear the one about the animals playing football? You see, all the animals were having a football game at Ann Arbor Stadium," Ron started, "and 100,000 people were watching the Zoo Animals playing the Domestic Animals & Insects. Every time the Domestic Animals kicked or punted the ball, the Zoo Animals scored. The Elephant got a touchdown; the Zebra got a touchdown; and the Water Buffalo got a touchdown. Why, the score was 77-0 at the half. Then the Domestic Animals kicked off to the Zoo Animals for the second half and the Elephant got the ball on the 5-yard-line, and was tackled by the Centipede. Well, not only did the Elephant fumble, the Centipede grabbed the ball with one of his legs, passed the ball down to his other legs and put the ball over the line with one of his hind legs. Next kick off, the Zebra gets the ball, and once again, the Centipede tackles him at the 10 yard line, causes a fumbles, grabs the ball with one of his legs, puts the ball over the touchdown line with his other leg. This happens on the next 9 kick offs and finally the score is tied 77 - 77. The coach of the Domestic Animals & Insects can't believe what he's seeing." "This is true!" pleads Ron, "so he goes over to the Centipede and says, "Where in the heck were you in the first half?!' And the Centipede looks up and says, "Putting on my cleats.'"
Those of us around Ron insist he should have had a career in stand-up comedy but he chose radio sales. He is constantly upbeat, quick witted, and loves to tell jokes.
But, those of us who enjoy a good laugh can sometimes cry. I received a fax one day from one of Ron's friends telling me he got word that one of Ron's sons had been in a terrible car accident and Ron was in Hamilton, Ontario at his parents. I called Ron immediately.
"Oh, it's so bad," he started to say on the phone. "It was so bad."
The sound of his pain made me cry. Maybe it will always be that way. The sadness he exhibited over his son's death touched off my own forever-lingering emptiness over my father's early death. You are never prepared.
"I kissed him (his son, Scott) goodbye," Ron recounted. "He drove away in his little car, and something strange came over me. I visualized some great big rock and had a sense I would never see him again. A couple of days later, I was called by the police telling me that my son had presumably fallen asleep driving and ran his car into a rock. He was all but dead when I saw him at hospital."
Some say the greatest pain we will feel is the loss of our own children. We're the first in line to go, not them. The outpouring of love and support for Ron and his family was evident in cards and letters and by the huge numbers of people who attended Scott's funeral. The theme music from "Titanic" was the backdrop to a very touching time. The words to that song, I'm sure, forever remind him, remind me and remind all of us that our hearts will go on.
- Buffy Filippell
"Ron is a wonderful, decent, thoughtful and incredibly energetic person. It's those qualities that have made him really successful."
--Jon Festinger, former legal counsel, WIC. What I do
Click here to view more profiles of sports executives featured on TeamWorkOnline.com.