They came back: A mini series

Hodgdon boatyard has young workforce

Posted:  Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 7:45am

As with the facilities in Damariscotta, East Boothbay, and the waterfront docks in Boothbay Harbor, Hodgdon Yacht Services in Southport hires young workers who fit the skill levels the company seeks, according to Director of Sales and Marketing Audrey Hodgdon.

The boatyard provides boat-painting, repairs, storage,and haul and launch services for vessels up to 80 feet in length.

Of the 45 employees in Southport, many began in Maine and drifted away only to return to work and live in the area.

Jessica Simmons grew up in East Boothbay and played for the Boothbay Region High School girls soccer team. While working a summer job at Lobsterman’s Wharf, she made friends with a Spanish girl who invited her to Majorca, Spain to work on a private 150-foot sailboat.

“It was great,” she said. 

Upon return she attended Thomas College, then moved to Key West, Florida where she worked for four years in hospitality services.

After a year in New Orleans, she returned to Maine to assist her sister who was due to have a baby. “I came for a visit and got this job,” said Simmons. 

“I collect the money,” said Simmons, who serves in administrative support.

Ashlee Lowery attended elementary school in Boothbay and graduated from Wiscasset High School in 2002.

“My plan was to become an architect,” she said. Those plans did not materialize. She began her career at Hammond Lumber in Boothbay Harbor as a special orders person but came over to Hodgdon Services  in the service management office.

She has since settled in for the long haul. She is married with two children and lives on Barters Island.

“I might become a snowbird someday, but I will always have a residency here,” said Lowery. “When I take the view for granted then it will be time to leave."

Sally Lloyd grew up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, but came to Southport each summer as a child. She started sailing when she was 8. She attended Maine Maritime Academy in Castine for two years studying in the small vessel operations division.

“I always liked working around boats,” she said.

Completing her studies in 2010, she landed a job as a boat captain for the television reality series, “Survivor.” She served on the show’s support crew for two seasons in Cambodia and Fiji.

She returned to Maine to work on the Hodgdon Wharf and now is the company’s inboard service manager. “I am lucky to have it,” Lloyd said of the job.

Ethan Preble grew up in Sullivan and graduated from Sumner Memorial High School in 2010. He got a job painting boats in Brooklyn, Maine at age 18.

“It was the best-paying job at the time,” he said. When a job opened up in the paint department at the Hodgdon Boatyard, he took it.

“I decided to give it a try.” After three years, he has settled in, having bought a house in Edgecomb.

Tyler Cole grew up in Jefferson and attended Erskine Academy in South China. He took courses in collision refinishing in Augusta, but could not find a job in a local body shop upon graduation.

“They all wanted many years of experience,” said Cole.

To gain more skills, he traveled to Blairsville, Pennsylvania to study at the Wyotech  school. He began work at the Hodgdon facility in East Boothbay in 2009 but transferred later to the paint shop in Southport.

Bryan James grew up in foster homes in northern Maine. “I grew up everywhere,” he said.

He attended Lee Academy and the University of Maine in Presque Isle. “It did not work out for me,” said James.

He eventually moved  to Bath. He has taken on various jobs at Hodgdon from painting and waxing boats to pumping gas at Hodgdon Wharf in the summer.

“I do what I am told to do,” he said.

James is philosophical about the world.

“Life just occurs,” he said.