Hodgdon Yachts has youthful look
Hodgdon Yachts, established in 1816, is America’s oldest boatbuilder but brings on board young employees who have skills and want to work in shipbuilding.
“We love having young employees. We are looking for a mix,” said Audrey Hodgdon, director of sales and marketing .
Several of these young workers, many who grew up in Maine and then left for school or work, have returned to join the staff at Hodgdon Custom Tenders in Damariscotta. Alex Arsenault grew up in Boothbay and attended Boothbay schools, K-12. He played tennis at Boothbay Region High School.
Upon graduation, he went away to school at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts where he obtained a degree in business management. Diploma in hand, he decided to return to Maine.
“All my family is around here,” he said.
Working on electrical systems for the business was a natural fit. Arsenault had worked for his father, Gary Arsenault, at Northern Lights Electric in Boothbay. Arsenault now does electrical work on high end tenders that transport guests to large luxury yachts.
Following his sports interests, Arsenault is back on the tennis court, coaching the BRHS girls tennis team. His boss gives him early release to get to the matches.
“Hodgdon has been really cool for me wanting to coach,” Arsenault said.
Andrew Follett grew up in Topsham and graduated from Mt. Ararat High School. Then he attended school in Texas, worked there for two years and moved to South Carolina where he worked in a tile shop. While there, he met his wife, Deborah, also a Mainer.
“We both decided to come back to Maine. It was way too busy in the South,” said Follett. The couple lives in Woolwich.
“I wanted to learn a trade,” he said. “When Hodgdon offered a position as an apprentice in fabrication, I jumped on that.” After two years in the East Boothbay facility, he transferred to the tender division in Damaricotta.
Jason Jarvis grew up in West Gardiner and moved to San Diego, California in 1996. "I needed to get away,” he said. He worked on large ships as an electrician but found California too expensive.
“I could not afford to buy a house."
He returned to Maine in 2004 partly to tend to an ailing grandfather. He has been working for 10 years for Hodgdon as an electrician. He was married in 2010 and lives in West Gardiner.
Nate Thompson grew up in South Portland and attended Tufts University to study engineering. He returned to Maine to study in the boat design program at the Landing School in Arundel.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to be near the ocean no matter what.” said Thompson.
Although he needs to travel an hour to work from his home in Cumberland, he enjoys the boat design work at the business.