Steber celebrating 70 years of boat building



Steber celebrating 70 years of boat building

Seventy years ago, when Steber International founder, Bruce Steber started building boats, even he could not have imagined where that would lead some day.
Now, in 2016, the success is there for all to see, with over 10,000 runabouts sold over the years, almost 500 larger craft constructed and well over 1000 contract repairs/refits and insurance work.
Son and general manager, Alan Steber gave a summary of Bruce’s career to assembled staff during a celebration to mark the 70 year milestone at Steber ‘s Taree factory complex.
Timing for the celebrations could not have been better as staff levels have increased dramatically in
the last six months.
“There is an increase in demand for our vessels, both for recreational and commercial use. The three
refit vessels, added to the new boat orders. is ensuring all production hands are on deck”, Alan said.
In recalling Bruce’s early days, Alan remembers Bruce was always clever with his hands as a young boy, even building bomb shelters at his school during the war.
Bruce left school at 14 on the proviso he acquired a job, which he did when he started work at a timber boat factory in Dee Why, Sydney.
“Two and a quarter years later Bruce built his first dinghy by himself in his backyard (no plywood in those days)”, according to Alan.
“He sold the dinghy for 14 pounds, seven and six, which gave him money to build two more dinghies and so the business started”.
Over those 70 years there have been many transitions in the business. Some of the major highlights include:
. Bruce sold his first boat on February 4, 1946
. Transition from timber to fibreglass construction in 1961
. Backyard business to first factory in 1962
. Retail outlet (showroom) in addition to factory, also in 1962
. Factory expansion from Narrabeen to Brookvale in 1964
. Sole trader to a proprietary limited company in 1966
. Factory expansion and relocation to Taree 1973-4
. Transition from small runabouts to larger cruisers in 1976
. First surveyed commercial boat in 1978
. Factory expansion in Taree (adding another, higher wing) in 1990-91
. Factory expansion over two years 2011-13
Bruce puts much of his success down to his wife of 65 years, Beryl, who still keeps an eye on the accounts; and his supportive daughter and three sons.
Alan added: ” Our staff and management have been a major asset along the way and we will continue to employ and train apprentices under Bruce’s watchful eye”.

PHOTOS:
Photo 1: Beryl and Bruce Steber cut the anniversary cake commemorating Bruce’s 70 year boat building career.
Photo 2: A section of staff listen intently to Bruce’s life story to a backdrop of new and refit projects in one of the two large factory bays.

Staff at 70th anniversary 2016