Great Lakes Boat Building School

Great Lakes Boat Building School Expansion Receives Boost

GLBBS was recently published in Read the full article below:

January 24, 2022

Boat School Lands Support – Great Lakes Boat Building School President Nikki Storey (center) received a donation of $25,000 in support of the school’s “Come Aboard, Launch Careers” capital campaign to fund a $3.8 million infrastructure project that will increase the Cedarville, Michigan’s graduation capacity to 50 students annually. Pictured left to right are Walstrom Marine Service Director David Lesh, President Tom Ervin, Storey, Tom Coates, GLBBS Director of Development and Ward Walstrom, Jr.

Cedarville, Michigan – The “Come Aboard, Launch Careers” capital campaign in support of doubling the instructional infrastructure at the Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) received significant support last week.  Walstrom Marine, headquartered in Harbor Springs, Michigan contributed $25,000 to the project.

The $3.8 million expansion project at GLBBS involves the demolition of an existing building and docking structures along with the modification of the existing site and utilities to accommodate the new 10,000 sf building for instruction and hands-on skill training in marine mechanics and marine electronics.  The space can offer training to individuals currently working in the marine industry as well.

The school leadership announced last month the final hurdles will be cleared shortly to finalize an economic development related grant that will provide $2.7 million in funding.  The remaining $1.1 million for the project will be raised from private sources.  With the Walstrom Marine gift included, the GLBBS campaign stands at 37% of the goal in the very early stages of the campaign.

“To garner the support of such a highly regarded and respected leader in the Michigan boating industry like Walstrom Marine is something we are extremely proud of at GLBBS.” said Nikki Storey, GLBBS President.  “Our relationship began with Walstrom’s Service Director David Lesh serving on our Program Advisory Board, then they hired two of our graduates last fall and now to receive this generous gift is almost unbelievable. They have been phenomenal partners and we envision some great endeavors together in the future.”

Walstrom Marine has shared its passion for boating since 1946 and has evolved into Michigan’s premier full-service marina over the last 76 years of service. Spanning across six locations from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, Walstrom Marine offers prime dockage, storage, service, and sales to its customers. They are a 2021 Top 100 Dealer in the country with award winning service and sales teams. The main Walstrom Marine facility is located in downtown Harbor Springs with another large facility on the river in downtown Cheboygan that has been in operation since 1987. Walstrom Marine expanded its Traverse City facility in 2020 and has plans for further expansion at that location in the next two years. They sell American-made brands Tiara, Pursuit, Chris-Craft, Sea Ray, MJM, Crest, Qwest, Lund, NauticStar, and Angler Qwest.

“We are very pleased to support the Great Lakes Boat Building facility expansion project in Cedarville,” said Tom Ervin, President at Walstrom Marine. “The two graduates we hired last fall became extremely productive members of our service team in a short period of time.  The marine industry is in dire need of marine professionals like them and GLBBS is part of that solution.  It is our pleasure to support the school and I encourage others to join Walstrom in this effort.”

GLBBS continues to produce qualified students from their Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program and the Marine Service Technology Program (MST), in partnership with Mercury Marine University, with a consistent 100% placement rate.  Walstrom Service Director David Lesh provided valuable input for the development of the MST curriculum. The School is helping to address the shortage of skilled trades and craft people in the marine industry following graduation.

Information about the “Come Aboard…Launch Careers capital campaign is available by contacting Nikki Storey by calling 906.484.1081 or Tom Coates at For prospective student enrollment information contact or call 906.484.1081.

Great Lakes Boat Building School is a non-profit organization recognized as a charitable organization and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.