Program Advisory Board

Program Advisory Board

GLBBS Career Programs, students, and future employers, are all a part of a rapidly changing environment. The pace of change requires that the School review the curriculum and practices often to ensure relevancy, to be proactive, and that we meet future employment expectations. One of the ways to gauge how those expectations are met is through respectful dialog and commitment of professionals in the field. We have to ask ourselves, “Do GLBBS Career Programs provide sufficient training to allow a graduate to gain initial employment in the field?

Knowing this, the School’s ultimate goal for students enrolled in GLBBS Career Programs is to, at the best of the School’s ability, prepare them to obtain employment in any region. Therefore, GLBBS relies on the input, feedback, new ideas, and multiple perspectives from the PAB. The PAB is a paramount component to the success, growth, and improvement of the Career Programs. Although the PAB is neither administrative nor policy making in its orientation, their recommendations play an instrumental role in program development.  Since the PAB’s focus is on planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating programs, their review of curriculum content can help ensure GLBBS Career Courses relate to the present and future employment needs.

Are you interested in becoming a member?

To become a member, please contact Nikki Storey, Executive Director of Operations, at


Steven VanDam – Board Chairman:

Steve trained as a wooden sailboat boat builder in the early 1970’s with one of the pioneers of epoxy and wood boatbuilding in North America. He, along with his wife Jean, started Van Dam Custom Boats in 1977. VDCB has evolved over the years from a one-man effort (with support from Jean who had a real job) in an 864 square foot shop Jean and he built themselves, to a 16 acre complex in Boyne City Michigan. The “16 acres” as it is referred to in-house, encompasses VDCB with Ben Van Dam at the helm, Boyne Boat Yard under the leadership of Charlie Harrett, and Boyne Yacht Sales with Jeremy Pearson leading that endeavor. Steve is firmly committed to constant improvement and his personal interest has moved from hands on boatbuilding to the exploration of Servant Leadership and the building of a culture of excellence to facilitate their continued success. Steve is ready and willing to share some of this experience with the Great Lakes Boat building School to help them achieve their mission and vision as well.


Norris “Sandy” Bryson – Secretary:

Sandy Bryson is retired academic staff from Michigan State University where he managed a self-supporting academic outreach program offering master’s degrees in education to international school teachers. In 1979, he received a PhD in Social Foundations of Education from MSU. Recently, he was a trustee of the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven and served as secretary and vice president of the Museum’s board. He continues as the chair of the Museum’s Grants Committee. As a lifelong canoeist, rower and sailor, Sandy continues his small craft advocation as a member of the Traditional Small Craft Association and is the secretary of the Pine Lake Chapter in mid-Michigan. He is a descendent of the historic Scottish yacht designers and builders, the Fifes of Fairlie.


Brian Nettleton – Member:

***(bio coming soon)








Terry Monville – Member:

Terry is a Technical Advisor with Gougeon Brothers, Inc. He has over 49 years of experience in the marine services industry. Terry has experience owning and operating a fiberglass repair shop and boat yard. Growing up sailing on Lake Huron, Terry has continued his love of the sport racing and cruising with his family and friends.



Laura Kohler – Member:

Laura has worked in the Human Resources field for over 10 years.  She currently works for Irish Boat Shop, a well-respected organization in the maritime industry.  Laura joined the Program Advisory Board in hopes of creating relationships to broaden the field of applicants and improve education in the maritime trade.




Dave Ottenhoff – Member:

Dave grew up on the Great Lakes and has been an avid boater all his life.  He started sailing at an early age, began sailboat racing as a teenager, and then introduced his kids and wife Ann to sailing.  He went to the “other side” in the mid 1990’s and started running and cruising on power yachts.  He has worked in the marine industry since 1980 and has gained experience from several boat manufacturers along the east (Hinckley Yachts) and west coasts (Marben Marine) of the USA, as well as servicing sailboats, power boats and now yachts.  Dave has been the service manager at Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales since its inception in 1995.  Several years ago Dave refinished a 1995 Mako (“Blind Date”) and has building a boat on his life’s bucket list.  He holds a degree in business management and has been active the Michigan Boating Industry Association (MBIA).  Dave is passionate about the boating industry, as can be seen by his life long career.

Jane French – Member:

Jane is the manager at the Les Cheneaux Community Library in Cedarville, MI, an affiliate of Superior District Library, and has worked there for over 10 years.  She enjoys working with community members and organizing programming for adults and children through the library.

Jane started volunteering at GLBBS in the fall of 2012, helping with the school’s library, photographing activities, and other opportunities.  She likes meeting the new students at the school and helping in any way that she can.  She admires the skill of the mentors who teach the students, and the beauty of the wood working that is turned out.

Jane is a board member of the Hessel School House and Avery Arts Center.She volunteers for the Les Cheneaux Beautification Committee. Jane is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. She is a representative for Les Cheneaux Community Library on the LC Chamber of Commerce.

Dave Lesh – Member:

Dave grew up sailing and boating on Burt Lake in Northern Michigan. He graduated from The Landing School Yacht Design program in 2007 and accepted a job in Juneau, Alaska designing and building power cats. During this time, Dave worked closely with the USCG designing ferry boats and charter fishing boats. Dave and his wife, Cacia moved to Petoskey in 2009, where he worked at Walstrom Marine as Production Manager. He accepted the Service Manager position in 2016. In his free time, he enjoys working on wooden boats and spend time with Cacia and their twin boys.


Reuben Smith – Member:

Reuben Smith grew up in a boat building family, learning the craft from his father and uncle in northern New York. In their shops, Reuben was surrounded with highly skilled craftsmen who showed him what fine boat building could be. In 1997, Reuben started Tumblehome Boatshop in a corner of his uncle’s shop, but then left the New York and honed his skills, working on the coast of Massachusetts. Ten years later, the Adirondacks were calling him back. Reuben took a position at a marina in Lake George, New York, managing their newly expanded boatshop. In 2012, it was time to start up Tumblehome again. Tumblehome opened in a 6,000 square foot building in Warrensburg, New York.  Reuben and his wife, Cynde, built a boat shop grounded in a heritage of craftsmanship and a commitment to service. The boatshop conducts regular events open to the public, and today, the campus includes a 5,000 square foot exhibit and storage space. Included in Tumblehome’s mission is providing education and opportunities to highly skilled boat builders. Reuben is prepared to focus those efforts with Great Lakes Boat Building School.


Nick VanNocker – Member:

Nick grew on the water enjoying the lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2004, Nick took that passion to the marine industry and joined Mercury Marine. During that time, he’s worked in positions of product support and training development. Currently, Nick is the Technology Training Manager for Mercury University, the service training department of Mercury Marine.  Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Marian University in Wisconsin. He’s excited to bring his industry experience to the Great Lakes Boat Building School.




What People Say

Thank you so much for doing such a beautiful job on the
Marilyn Jean. Everyone loves her!

Wayne B., Commissioned Boat Client July 14, 2017

What Will You Build Next?