London Drive Systems

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London Drive Systems quietly opened its doors in a new 10,800 square foot facility in Forest City Industrial Park to the pleasure of  race car drivers, truck and car dealerships, and farm equipment dealerships across Southwestern Ontario and into the United States.

Matt Lake and his partners opened London Drive Systems in August of 2009 and, Martin Riley came out of retirement to join them. London Drive Systems designs, manufactures and repairs drive lines, the mechanism that transmits power from the engine to the driving wheels of a motor vehicle.  They supply OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) such as London Machinery Inc, and Robica Forman Tank in St. Mary’s and customizes orders for truck and car dealerships and farm equipment dealers.

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Specialized Services

London Drive Systems offers a very unique and specialized service that hits a very targeted demographic. But that does not mean we forget about the little people or businesses!

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London Economic Development Corporation

Driveshaft Shop

LONDON, Ontario – London Drive Systems quietly opened its doors in a new 10,800 square foot facility in Forest City Industrial Park to the pleasure of race car drivers, truck and car dealerships, and farm equipment - Read More

London Free Press

Service

Matthew Lake's big dreams are rather small - and that's exactly the way he wants it - Read More

London Economic Development Corporation

January 12, 2010

LONDON, Ontario – London Drive Systems quietly opened its doors in a new 10,800 square foot facility in Forest City Industrial Park to the pleasure of race car drivers, truck and car dealerships, and farm equipment dealerships across Southwestern Ontario and into the United States. With four employees currently, they do see the potential to double the number of employees in the next few years but that will be the maximum size they will want to grow to.

Matt Lake, in partnership with his wife Diane and Scott Burdick were formally with London Drive Line Centre, but his entrepreneurial spirit decided it was time to go back into business for himself, as he had done over twenty years ago before selling to a larger company. Matt and his partners opened London Drive Systems last August, 2009 and Martin Riley came out of retirement to join them.

London Drive Systems designs, manufactures and repairs drive lines, the mechanism that transmits power from the engine to the driving wheels of a motor vehicle. They supply OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) such as London Machinery Inc, and Robica Forman Tank in St. Mary’s and customizes orders for truck and car dealerships and farm equipment dealers.

They also do work designing and installing hydraulic and pneumatic systems for the trucking industry which includes supplying and installing systems for dump and garbage trucks as well.

As a very specialized business, the industry is small in Southwestern Ontario. However, there is enough business to go around, so they collaborate closely with these companies to share design improvements to make the drive lines more economical. With their work so specialized, all their business is developed through word of mouth with 95% of their business within Southwestern Ontario and the balance from eastern Ontario and north eastern US.

The London Drive Systems team is looking forward to the 2010 car shows that begin in January with the CPT Race Experience show at the Western Fair. Car racing and vehicle restoration are industries they been involved with for many years and provides the opportunity to build their custom work and repair side of the business. They have worked for several racing teams at Delaware Speedway and across the province over the years, and have even worked for Steve Plunkett’s well-known car collection here in London.

As a specialized business, developing the skill set for future generations is important to the team at London Drive systems, and they look forward to having a high-school co-op/summer student working with them to learn the tricks of the trade.

After more than 30 years, Matt is right back to where he started, and he couldn’t be happier. He’s working with his friends, doing a job he loves and personally serving their clients to meet their specialized needs.

London Free Press

January 11th, 2010

Matthew Lake's big dreams are rather small - and that's exactly the way he wants it.

More than two decades after starting a company he later sold to a large corporation, he has worked his way back to what he likes best: running a small company doing specialized work for a handful of happy customers.

Lake, 53, co-owns London Drive Systems Inc., a company he founded last August with business partner Scott Burdick. That was the same month both men left their old jobs, where the focus had changed over the years, prompting them to look elsewhere.

"We started the original company in 1986, and then after a few years, we were approached to sell to the company that was leasing us our space," Lake says.

"We decided to do it, but after a few years, we could see what we did was becoming a small part of a larger picture. I understand that, it wasn't surprising, but I wanted to get back to what we had been doing."

What he had been doing was a rather specialized service of building and repairing driveline components for heavy-duty trucks. And now, since August, he and Burdick are back doing the same thing in a facility with four employees, themselves included.

One employee is Lake's wife, Dianne, who does the paperwork and handles receivables. Burdick was an employee once upon a time. Lake hired him in 1994 at the old company. Both were ready for a change last summer.

Lake grew up around trucks and trailers. His father, Art Lake Sr., managed the city of London's fleet of service trucks for many years until he retired in 1994. Lake went into the business right out of high school and started his own company as soon as he was able to get the financing together.

Most of the current company's work is repairing and servicing drivelines on trucks that are out of warranty. As most car owners discover, once the warranty expires, the top-end charges of dealer garages can be a little daunting. But Lake and his associates do much more than just service trucks at reduced rates.

They also build drivelines and do a lot of repair work for other garages that lack the expertise to work on today's complicated drive systems. That includes vehicles of all kinds, from cars to heavy duty service trucks. "If it has a driveline, we can work on it," Lake says.

They've also worked for several racing teams at Delaware Speedway and across the province. They've even worked on some of the vehicles in Steve Plunkett's legendary collection.

It took Lake and Burdick a while to find a suitable location, but they secured 10,800 square feet, more than enough to run their business. The building they are in totals 30,000 square feet, but Lake has no desire to expand into the extra space.

"When I think about expansion, the most I would want is to possibly add a 4 p.m. shift to our existing operation, which would take us to eight employees, tops," he says. "I don't want to get any bigger than that. I like knowing everyone who works here and I like knowing all our customers. I'm more than happy to stay in our existing space. It's perfect."

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