June 18, 2017
By: Dave Murray
Rob Freel, one of two new instructors at Great Lakes Boat Building School, brings not only more than a decade of experience in boat restoration (“from top to bottom”) and construction, but also a background in business, and is a home grown native of Cedarville. He was ‘pirated’ away to GLBBS.
“I was working for my brother, who owns Classic & Antique (now Tassier Boat Works) in Hessel, when I was approached to be an instructor at GLBBS. Mike wasn’t happy about it initially, but I still work there in the summer. I worked for 10 years in restoration at Classic (seven years for a previous owner and three years for his brother), was a partner in a construction company for five years, and my wife and I owned and managed a motel in town,” said the 43-year old. “Boats, however, are my passion.”
Rob will teach skills in marine finishing, stains and varnishes, electrical systems, and composites and epoxies. He wants students to experience a “broad range” of restoration methods and techniques so students can be spot-on with industry standards.
“Our goal is to prepare them well for their work,” Freel said. “They won’t be master craftsmen when they leave as that comes over time, but they will hit the ground running with good work ethics, and professional skills in the use of boat building tools and methods,” Freel said. “It’s important for the students to understand traditional techniques and how they have developed to meet the demands of contemporary boat building.”
Freel noted how it is gratifying to work at GLBBS, only one of four such schools in the country, with the variety of students from different backgrounds and parts of the country and watch them grow.
“Their excitement shows through the year and they drive themselves to excel.”
“GLBBS is a very special place for the Les Cheneaux area,” Freel said. “The community is very lucky to have this school in the heart of town.”« Back to Stem2Stern