Serving Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, & Saginaw Counties

STTF Funds Empower Avalon & Tahoe to Grow Boat Business

Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing
Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing

STTF Funds Empower Avalon & Tahoe to Grow Boat Business

Nestled right in Isabella County’s backyard in Alma sits Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing, producers of “the finest USA-manufactured pontoon boats.” A vertically integrated builder, it makes everything on its boats – from the pontoons and framing to the furniture.

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! has successfully assisted Avalon & Tahoe for several years with the process of competing for Skilled Trades Training Funds (STTF) grants through the state.

“For us, STTF funds have helped us increase sales 79% and employ 100 more people in our community,” explains Brian Sheets, executive manager of employee development & quality assurance at Avalon & Tahoe. “Over the last 3-4 years, STTF has empowered us with the extra tools, training, and strategic planning required to lead our company to new levels.”

The training Brian refers to has been targeted to existing employees – better equipping them to take on responsibilities, challenges, and tasks required to make them successful. The intended strategy has been to grow the business and, in turn, hire more employees.

During this period of increased sales and workforce growth, Avalon & Tahoe has added an additional 57,000 square feet of manufacturing space, a 5,000 square foot Engineering/Design Center, as well as a 14,000 square foot loading and maintenance building for the company’s fleet of delivery vehicles.

Projections for 2018 nearly double the number of boats produced since 2013 and more than double sales.

“We have a great team of people at Avalon & Tahoe who have worked hard to make this a success,” Brian says. “All of us have but forth the effort to make this happen, but STTF funds have really empowered us to move the company forward.”

He believes the STTF program is impacting the entire state of Michigan, allowing it to regain its status of leadership in innovation and manufacturing while stimulating the task of rebuilding a team of skilled workers.

Brian is so passionate about this, he provided the Michigan State Senate with a report detailing the impact that STTF funds have had on Avalon & Tahoe.

If you are an employer interested in competing for STTF funds, contact The Talent Experts at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! in Saginaw, Midland, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant, and Alma. Or email

Photo: STTF funds awarded with the help of The Talent Experts at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! are helping Avalon & Tahoe move toward record sales and growth.

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