3 Go-Getters, Back Cove Yachts
Luke Chadwick, Damien Ball and Haley Follett-Thomas of Back Cove Yachts are part of a workforce that combines younger and more experienced employees.
Back Cove Yachts: 3 Go-Getters
At Back Cove Yachts, a Rockland maker of motor yachts, Damien Ball, 23, is team leader in the lamination shop, making large parts like decks and windshields. Ball began at Back Cove at age 17. The work suits his interests.
“My stepfather has been a fisherman his whole life,” he says. “Pretty much anything to do on the water, I want to be there.”
At Rockland’s Mid-Coast School of Technology, he studied marine technology to learn fiberglass boatbuilding skills. After a couple of early jobs, he heard about Back Cove and applied, attracted to the steady work, pay and benefits. The four-day workweek, with an optional fifth day for overtime pay, was also attractive.
“I have a son who’s 3 years old,” he says. “You can have that full weekend where you can spend time with your family.”
Like Ball, Haley Follett-Thomas, who builds boat furniture, is working her way up.
After high school, she had a variety of jobs. But she wanted something solid.
“I was just ready for something new,” she says. “I never had carpentry experience before this. I threw myself into it and I’m so glad I did, because so I’ve learned so much. It’s an amazing experience to feel I’m learning a new trade that I can take with me.”
“Maine makes great things. Maine workers are known for their work ethic and being on top of everything. Don’t be afraid to try to something you’ve never done before. You have to start somewhere.”
— Haley Follett-Thomas, Back Cove Yachts
Learning hands-on from day one, she’s now confidently building furniture for a variety of models. The encouragement she receives — backed by pay raises — makes her feel recognized, she says.
She also loves being part of a “Maine-made” industry.
“Seeing your handiwork on a Maine-made product is amazing,” she says. Soon to join her first sea trial, she says, “It’s awesome to see a finished product that you’ve put all your effort into, and to say, ‘Wow, I was part of that.’”
Luke Chadwick, who cuts and bonds newly demolded fiberglass parts, also appreciates the chance to learn as he works. Chadwick, 21, has been at Back Cove since 2017.
“I didn’t have much clue on how to use the tools we use here,” he says. “It was ‘learn as you go.’ I’ve moved up and ever since I try to keep doing better and better.”
Chadwick says it’s important to take advantage of the knowledge around him. Like Follett-Thomas, he enjoys seeing the boats shape up. Just as much, he enjoys building his talents.
“I didn’t expect to get into boatbuilding, but it’s working out,” he says. “You get new opportunities, and the pay and benefits are well worth it.”◾