Matt was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, but has always felt a deep connection to northern Michigan. His family has spent a lot of time above the 45th parallel and these places were imprinted on him at an early age.
Matt’s background is in the fine arts. He earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and later worked for the museum in the departments of Prints and Drawings, and Paper Conservation. Following that, he and his wife moved to NYC. He pursued an art career and was fortunate to work for the Museum of Modern Art as an art handler, preparing and installing artwork for exhibition in the museum.
Transitioning from NYC to boat building school in the U.P. was the result of shifting life goals. He and his wife wanted to cultivate the lifestyle that being around the Great Lakes would offer. While he possessed transferable hand building skills from a career in the arts, he wasn’t getting very far in the search for jobs in the marine industry. In 2017, he applied for the Apprenticeship Program at Van Dam Custom Boats. Matt says, “Steve, (Van Dam), wrote me back essentially suggesting that if I wanted to pursue this career that I should consider boat building school. So, with that letter in mind, I applied to the Great Lakes Boat Building School.” After completing two programs at the school and acquiring a handful of certifications, Matt was hired as a Project Manager in 2022.
As a Project Manager at Van Dam Custom Boats, it is Matt’s goal to ensure that projects are running smoothly, on time, and on budget. He must make sure that the different departments have the support they need to complete the job successfully, while keeping an open line of communication with the customer. While working as a Project Manager, Matt is simultaneously learning the Van Dam way of building boats.
When he is not working, Matt’s favorite thing to do is spend time with his wife and two Shih Tzu “dog-children”, Donna and Linda. In their spare time, you can find them enjoying all the awesome outdoor activities that northern Michigan has to offer. Some of his other interests include art, film, and literature.
- Born: Dayton, Ohio
- Graduated: School of the Art Institute of Chicago- Master of Fine Arts 2006 | Great Lakes Boat Building School- Comprehensive Career Boat Building program- 2020 | Great Lakes Boat Building School- Marine Service Technology program- 2021
- Certifications: ABYC Certifications: Gasoline Engines, Diesel Engines, Marine Systems, Marine Electrical | Mercury Certification: Level 1 Marine Systems Technician
- Favorite Projects to Work on at Van Dam: Anything that promotes learning, so everything.
- Favorite Fundamental(s): #3- Act with Integrity | #6- Do the Right Thing, Always
- Best Thing About Working at Van Dam: This is a dynamic environment where the quality of the work mirrors the quality of the people.
Meet More Of The Team
Erika Vice President
Jeremy Worldwide Sales Manager
Chad Shop & Project Manager
Trevor Paint Shop Foreman
Jesse Metal Shop Foreman
Thor Master Craftsman
Dave Project Lead
Nick Metal Craftsman
Derek Apprentice Craftsman
Chuck Apprentice Craftsman
Adam Apprentice Paint & Varnish
Jessica Office Manager / Marketing Coordinator
Don Paint & Varnish Craftsman
Matt Project Manager
Fred Metal Craftsman
Dave Handyman & Grill Master
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