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Stebercraft was the winner of the 2009 Manning Valley Business Awards. Peter Lyne discovers why…

For those who are not familiar with the name Steber, Stebercraft or Steber International, they are a proud local and Australian manufacturer and exporter of both recreational and commercial boats ranging from 6 metres through to 16 metres in length.

The well known face and spokesman of Stebercraft is one of its directors and a recognised ambassador for the Australian Marine Industry, Alan Steber. Alan took control of the family business shortly after the company decentralised from Sydney to Taree. After 30 years developing the business to its current success, Alan’s great vision for the marine industry and his passion has proved to be a winner for Australian boating and the local economy.

Steber’s manufacturing process is supported by their commitment to support the local region, employing a large workforce of Manning Valley and Great Lakes residents in a wide variety of occupations. The company is a nursery for our youth and is committed to an annual intake of apprentices:

“We believe training our youth to be future trades personnel is very important,” said Alan Steber.

The company has come from humble beginnings and is expanding rapidly and currently has six vessels on their production line, with their latest to be launched a 38 foot vessel for recreational use powered by twin 300HP Yanmar diesel engines.

The vessel is heading to Sydney and is fully equipped with state of the art electronics, desalination system, fully computerised electrical interior with touch pad controls. This vessel has taken 12 months to manufacture.

Recently the company enhanced its export order book and began building a 52 foot vessel for Dubai clients – another avenue for Steber’s, which has seen major growth of the business in the past decade.

The company does not restrict its operations to the pleasure market. It has a high reputation in commercial building highlighted by building many Police, Fisheries and Rescue vessels.

The future is bright for the local economy and employment in the region, as Steber’s have added to their staff constantly in 2009 as orders continue to flow.

This year the company was named Business of the Year in the recent Manning Valley Chamber of Commerce/Manning River Times Business Awards, joining the award from the Premier of New South Wales for the Boat of the Year, for a 388 Sports Fisher design at the Sydney International Boat Show.

The success of the local company has provided many new avenues, with increasing interest and orders from overseas.

“Steber’s name has a worldwide reputation, and we have orders now flowing consistently from around the globe.

“Our product is first class, and this is due to our sound company structure and dedicated employees.”

The local manufacturing company is now completing factory extensions and improving their production line after their continued growth – a sign of security for the company, employees and the economy. The upgraded facilities will see an increase in all department sizes, with employment opportunities for the region set to continue as the Steber order book continues to grow.

Alan Steber is very much a part of the local community and spends numerous hours as a member of community organisations. The commitment is evidenced by the Steber family building a tall ship playground at Tinonee on the banks of the Manning River for the locals and tourist to enjoy.

“I love living here and working here. We have had offers to move our business, but the Manning Valley has been good to us; there is no sound reason to relocate.”

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