Great Lakes Boat Building School

Great Lakes Boat Building School Welcomes Irish Boat Shop as First Network Member

Cedarville, Michigan – In Great Lakes Boat Building School’s continued pursuit of its mission to prepare students for rewarding careers in the marine industry, a first-of-its-kind program in the nation has been developed by its leadership.  The marine trades institution located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan welcomes Irish Boat Shop, headquartered in Harbor Springs, Michigan as its inaugural member of the newly created GLBBS Marine Dealers Education Network (MDEN).

The MDEN is designed to provide an opportunity for marine dealers to positively influence the industry of the future by impacting the education and development of future marine industry professionals. In addition, a MDEN membership is a conduit to interact with GLBBS students and build a network for attracting well-trained and prepared graduates.  Great Lakes Boat Building School has created this program to help address the dire workforce shortage in the Great Lakes region marine industry and beyond.

Irish Boat Shop was established in Harbor Springs by Dave Irish in 1961, another location was added on Lake Charlevoix in 1971 followed by Traverse City in 2018. Their modern, comprehensive facilities in these communities offer a wide range of services, sales and the strength of the Irish Boat Shop experience.

In Harbor Springs and Charlevoix, new and used boat sales, chandlery, dockage, storage and complete service are integrated to make boating a fun and hassle-free experience for their customers. In Traverse City, Irish offers new and used boat sales, chandlery and mobile service for convenience. 

The Irish Boat Shop’s mission is to promote recreational boating by delivering quality and value in boats and services while meeting the obligations of their customers, employees, communities and the environment.

“We are extremely excited to partner in this unique way with Irish Boat Shop, such a respected and well-known Northern Michigan boat dealer,” said Nikki Storey, President, Great Lakes Boat Building School. “This is a classic win-win scenario as we seek to continue placing our students in rewarding careers and Irish Boat Shop offers our graduates outstanding opportunities for growth and development in their organization.”

By Irish Boat Shop enrolling as a member of the GLBBS Marine Dealers Education Network they will be able to hold an exclusive recruitment day at the school, host a student at their facilities and organize a “Marine Trades Showcase” event to create awareness regarding employment opportunities with their organization to area high schools and community members. This unique partnership entails collaborations in marketing and student recruitment that will advance the missions of both organizations.

“Our biggest challenge as a marine dealer is finding qualified, well-trained and career-ready employees,” said Micheal Esposito, President, Irish Boat Shop. “We have been involved with Great Lakes Boat Building School and hired graduates that are developing careers with us now. Joining this network and sponsoring a future student was a natural next step for us to attract more talented people and enhance our relationship with the school.”

The Irish Boat Shop Student Sponsorship will benefit one student each year from either the Comprehensive Career Boat Building or Marine Service Technology program at GLBBS. Irish will fund $15,000 towards a student’s tuition with the student agreeing to work at Irish following graduation. Student sponsorships have been an excellent way to assist students in attaining their post-secondary education goals and resulting in rewarding careers in the marine industry.

The combination of a GLBBS Marine Dealership Network membership with a student sponsorship will create an effective career pathway for graduates while assisting Irish Boat Shop in enhancing their talented team.

GLBBS produces qualified students from their Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program (CCBB) and the Marine Service Technology Program (MST), in partnership with Mercury Marine University, with a consistent 100% placement rate.  The School addresses the shortage of skilled trades and craftspeople in the marine industry following graduation. For prospective student enrollment information go to or call 906.484.1081. 

Information about the “GLBBS Marine Dealer Education Network” is available by contacting Tom Coates, Director of Development at or by calling 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.

Irish Boat Shop and Great Lakes Boat Building Ink Unique Agreement – Irish Boat Shop, headquartered in Harbor Springs, MI is the first member of Great Lakes Boat Building School’s Marine Dealer’s Education Network (MDEN). The network is the first-of-its-kind partnership designed for dealers to positively impact the education and future development of future marine industry professionals. The school’s students gain awareness of rewarding career opportunities and receive mentoring, in this case from Irish Boat Shop leadership. (left to right) Laura Kohler, Human Resource Manager and Michael Esposito, President – Irish Boat Shop, join Great Lakes Boat Building School President Nikki Storey in the showroom following executing the agreement.