Tom Foord is an exceptional business leader and an unselfish community volunteer. His concern, compassion and commitment have led to success in the workplace and achievements in the community.
Tom Foord was born in 1922 in Instow, Saskatchewan, and moved to Vernon in 1945 upon his discharge from the RCAF. In 1953 he and a partner started Kal Tire – naming it after the nearby B.C. landmark Kalamalka Lake. The business now employees more than 1,500 people and includes 150 stores, five warehouses, 15 retread plants, a fleet of approximately 200 transport trailers, and three corporate aircraft. A private company completely owned by B.C. residents, Kal Tire is still based in Vernon. It is the largest Canadian tire dealer and is among the top 10 largest tire dealerships in North America.
Mr. Foord’s leadership played an important role in the success and expansion of Kal Tire. He and his partners have always believed in the team approach: promoting from within, involving staff members in decision making and offering them a unique and generous profit-sharing plan. Mr. Foord continues to be actively involved with Kal Tire, which has expanded nationally and internationally – including the recent opening of a service facility in Chile where the company uses its experience with British Columbian’s resource industries to sell goods and services to the mining industry in northern Chile.
Mr. Foord is recognized as an outstanding citizen of the community. He has served as honorary chair of the Vernon Hospice Society and is a long-time supporter of the United Way and the Vernon Kinsman Club. Mr. Foord also helped found The People Place Society – a building that now serves as home to many North Okanagan community organizations, which benefit from the affordable workspace. Not only did he rally the business community around this project, but he and his wife donated the land and the Kal Tire partners made a substantial financial donation to it as well.
In 1989 he was acknowledged by the City of Vernon with its The Most Valuable People Award for his outstanding contribution to the community and in 1993 with its Corporate Good Citizen of the Year Award. He has received other honours for his community leadership and business success, including last year’s appointment to the Order of British Columbia.
Mr. Foord continues to live in Vernon with his wife of 57 years, Norah. They have five children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.