Hinckley Faces 'The Great Resignation' Head On
Maine's Marine Industry Leader Offers 'Once in a Lifetime' Opportunities
SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine, October 18, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Hinckley Yachts has set the standard for every aspect of the yachting experience since its inception in Southwest Harbor in 1928, and that continues when it comes to addressing the national, regional, and local worker shortage which challenges almost every business in every sector.
"Let me put it this way," says Kirk Ritter, the current GM of Hinckley Yacht Services in Southwest Harbor, Maine. "We have the best team of marine professionals in the industry leading all our departments, and most have been here 30 years or more. If you want to live and work essentially across the street from one of the country's top national parks (Acadia) in one of the most beautiful states in the country and learn from the best of the best, we'd love to hear from you!"
COVID brought on a spending boom for the entire outdoor industry, and the marine industry was a huge beneficiary of this trend. The surge of new boat orders and boat owners spending more time on the water led to a dramatic increase in demand for everything yacht harbors do, and an already tight labor market was squeezed even harder.
"We need top carpenters, electricians and mechanics," says Ritter, "and not necessarily in that order. Traditionally we wanted to hire people with marine industry experience, but there just aren't enough experienced people around in those disciplines anymore. If you're a top professional at any of these three trades, we have the expert team that can teach and train you. That's why we're calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a career and life change that might not happen again."
Ritter says there are opportunities in positions throughout the yard, not just the top trade disciplines, but to keep up with growing customer demand, those three categories are his top short-term priorities. Any potential team members with exceptional sales and customer service skills are also always in demand.
"We also do everything we can to keep you here once you join us," says Ritter. "We have a unique team culture where we work together to help all team members grow and develop, and we do everything we can to support those who want to attend outside training programs to further develop their skills."
Hinckley currently employs 60 people at its Southwest Harbor Service Center, and another 200 at its manufacturing facility in Trenton, Maine. The company would love to increase its workforce in the state by at least 10-15% in the next year and is committed to supporting regional workforce development and the marine trade schools in New England. To that end, the company announced in April that it was implementing the Hinckley Yachts Student Loan Assistance Program (HYSLAP), an employer-paid student loan program for employees graduating from post-secondary school technical trade programs.
"We are very committed to developing the talents of our existing team members," says Geoff Berger, CEO of The Hinckley Company. "The HYSLAP program will support that, as do all our managers and team leaders on an ongoing basis by training and teaching our time-honored methods on the job. HYSLAP was also developed working in close partnership with Maine's The Landing School, one of the top marine trade schools in the country."
The Landing School is one of New England's leading institutions for career development in the marine and yachting space and is a vital partner for the industry, especially during this unprecedented labor shortage. While many of their current students come to the school directly from high school in search of an Associate Degree and to begin new careers, an even larger percentage are recent college graduates or "career changers" who are leaving more traditional careers in search of a rewarding lifestyle and work-life balance in a post-COVID world. Marine industry careers can take you anywhere in the world, creating objects of substance and beauty that become part or people's lives.
"We are pleased to continue the decades-long partnership with Hinckley Yachts," says Sean Fawcett, President of The Landing School. "Over the years, numerous Landing School graduates have established significant and rewarding careers at Hinckley, and this recent collaboration through the HYSLAP program is testament to the value that premier boat building and service companies such as Hinckley place on effective and relevant education."
Hinckley is a market leader nationally and locally, and part of what continues to attract people to Hinckley in Maine is the culture and legacy of the company. Economic development professionals and employment experts alike acknowledge that Hinckley's name is well-known around the country and the world, and much like LL Bean and other signature Maine brands, it is part of what defines the state. Hinckley owners tend to be "customers for life" and include not only DownEast Mainers and New Englanders, but new economy trailblazers for the tech world and well-known people such as Martha Stewart, Chuck Townsend, David Rockefeller, and Roger Penske.
Hinckley's legacy is forever intertwined with the culture and brand of Maine not just because the company was founded there, but because its very essence reflects the values of what it means to be from Maine: hard work, a commitment to innovation and excellence, and a love of the water and the outdoors that everyone on the current team at the SW Harbor Service Center shares. From the company's early experimentation with fiberglass boat building in the 1940s and 50s to the manufacture of the signature Bermuda 40 sailboats in 1959, Hinckley has started most key trends in the industry since the 1930s.
"People want to work for winning companies that have demonstrated success, innovation and leadership," says Neal Harrell, a Newport, Rhode Island-based executive recruiter. "We know that Maine needs to attract highly skilled workers from out of state to meet the state's growing demand for economic growth, and Hinckley is a well-known brand that continues to push the envelope on many levels. Hinckley is one of the handful of brands that helps sell the state."
About The Hinckley Company:
The Hinckley Company's roots are deep in the soil of Maine boat building. The company, founded in 1928 to build and care for the boats of the local lobstermen, has been in continuous operation, building such classics as the Bermuda 40 and the Picnic Boat. Henry Hinckley set the course with the Bermuda 40 in the early 1960s when he crafted her stunning lines out of a radical, new material, fiberglass. This combination of elegant form, material innovation and brilliant attention to finishing detail set the course Hinckley has been on ever since in the pleasure boat business.
Today, Hinckley builds carbon/epoxy Jetboats and sailboats from 29 to 55 feet and supports its owners and other yachtsmen with its network of service yards from Maine to Florida. Two other distinguished boat builders, Hunt Yachts and Morris Yachts, were acquired in 2013 and 2016 respectively. For further information please visit www.hinckleyyachts.com.
About The Landing School:
The Landing School provides best-in-class education for men and women looking to establish careers in the boating industry. The school's four programs, Wooden Boat Building, Composite Boat Building, Marine Systems, and Yacht Design, provide the foundation for a rewarding career in a highly sought-after industry. Founded in 1978 by John Burgess and Cricket Tupper, The Landing School remains committed to its mission to effectively prepare students for careers in the marine industry. The Landing School is the first school of its type to be accredited by The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Students can earn an Associate Degree in Marine Industry Technology or a diploma in Wooden Boat Building, Yacht Design, Marine Systems or Composite Boat Building. For further information, visit https://www.landingschool.edu.
About The Hinckley Yachts Student Loan Assistance Program (HYSLAP):
Hinckley Yachts Student Loan Assistance Program (HYSLAP) is an employee benefit where the employer makes payments to pay for part of an employee's student loans. Under the program, Hinckley will make payments to the employee directly. Prior to March 2020, student loan repayments of any amount were taxable. That changed with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Employers can now make tax-free student loan payments (up to the IRS limit) until Dec. 31, 2025, unless future legislation extends the deadline.
The program will help employees repay student loan debt incurred for post-secondary school Technical Trades programs such as those offered by The Landing School. Eligible employees include full-time employees who have graduated from a post-secondary technical/trade program within 12 months of the date the employee first applies for assistance under this policy. New employees start receiving payments after three months of continuous employment with Hinckley.
Source: Hinckley Yachts