Orlick Industries owner, Honda supplier David Braley has died at 79

David Braley, a prominent executive in the auto supply chain and whose biggest customer was Honda, died Monday at the age of 79.

Braley had been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness for several months and died in his Burlington, Ont., home.

In 1969, Braley acquired a machine company named William Orlick Limited, founded by Bill Orlick in 1947 in the west end of Hamilton, Braley renamed it Orlick Industries and began expanding the business.

“David was a very, very strategic guy and decided to expand into the automotive field when automotive was going absolutely crazy,” said Ron Foxcroft, a prominent businessman in the trucking business and a longtime friend of Braley.

In 1979 Braley formed a tool-and-die division and subsequently expanded the business in 1985, with an aluminum die casting division. Braley expanded the company in subsequent years with more facilities.

The company became an automotive parts supplier for a variety of manufacturers, with Honda being its biggest customer.

“He reached out to Honda, as only David could, and said ‘whatever you are doing I can do it better,'” Foxcroft said. “This little machine shop continued machine shop work and when it got connected with Honda it basically exploded its business. He levered the profits to get into the real estate business and acquired land greater than the size of most cities.”

Orlick Industries has received multiple delivery awards from Honda North America.

Orlick makes everything from engine components, such as oil pans and engine covers, to steering gears and column houses.

Braley, a native of Montreal, had been well-known as a sportsman, owning several Canadian Football League teams. It began with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1989 and in later years he owned the B.C. Lions and the Toronto Argonauts. At one time he owned two franchises in the nine-team league. Braley served in a variety of roles with the CFL, including chair of the board of governors and interim commissioner. He was known to draw a hard line on many issues concerning the governance of the league. He had been actively trying to sell the Lions for some time.

Braley won the CFL’s championship game – the Grey Cup – four times, most recently with Toronto in 2012. He was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 2012. He received the Order of Canada in 2019 for his contributions to the CFL and his entrepreneur and philanthropic leadership in the community.

He also owned two professional soccer teams.

He was appointed to the Senate in 2010, but resigned his seat in November, 2013.

Foxcroft said Braley never owned a computer or a cell phone, preferring a land line, and that he had the spread sheets of all his businesses on his board room table.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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