The boatbuilding company Millennium Marine USA will be starting up on Monday, April 28, reports President Cory Guimond. The Canadian boatbuilder and businessman was on hand at an April 16 public hearing held by the City of Eastport for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Workforce Development Grant application. The $100,000 grant, if awarded, would be used to fund a portion of Millennium's employee training during a six‑month period.
Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Program Manager Andrea Smith notes that after the application is received by the due date of April 25, DECD makes its award announcement within 30 days, "more than likely by the middle of May," she says.
Millennium projects a six‑month total salary and benefits cost of $264,506, of which it plans to bankroll $164,506. The application details employee costs between April 24 and October 24 of this year: eight employees trained in fiberglass, laminating, gel coating and grinding at a cost per person of $18,470; one in custom construction and detailing at a cost of $23,088; one in all aspects of construction and management at $44,400; one in all aspects of fiberglass and gel coating at $24,627; and one in all aspects of boat assembly and quality control at $24,627.
The CDBG impact statement, pulled together by Eastport Assistant City Manager Elaine Abbott, states that Millennium USA will cross‑train employees in all aspects of boatbuilding. Guimond has interviewed over 30 applicants and has selected 12 to start. "I have a healthy list for the second round of hiring and back‑up," he says. He expects that additional hiring will take place mid‑summer, with about 20 employees working at the Arnold Street facility in Quoddy Village by the end of the year. The city has waived one year's annual rent of $86,400 in recognition of the company's "benefit to low and moderate income families," states the application. The grant requires that a percentage of those hired by Millennium meet income requirements.
Millennium USA will be using 35,000 square feet of the 75,000-square-foot former Guilford mill located on Route 190. Renovations that allow the manufacturing of boats in the space were made possible by a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant awarded in March of 2013. It had been applied for by the city and county back in 2010. The funds require a match of $75,000 from Millennium. Guimond has met the match and has installed equipment from his Canadian facility for a total investment so far of nearly $550,000, states Abbott in the CBDG application.
While Jon Southern, former site manager of Millennium USA, has left the position, Guimond does not expect to fill the position immediately. "I will want to wait on that and see what talents are with the new recruits."
Guimond has been actively pursuing new clients, having attended boat shows in Maine, Maryland and Moncton. The shows are about building relationships, he explains, getting the word out about his boats. "The contracts come afterwards." He had just finished talking to an interested customer in Maine. "I'm working hard to close that contract," he notes, and he is pleased to be growing the business within its home state.
While there were delays with the mill's EDA grant and construction, Guimond says, "The mill is at a place that I'm happy with now." The large entrance with an overhead door was being installed as he spoke. Within days of the hiring start date he expects to have his 52-foot boat mold at the mill on standby. "It's finally a reality," he says with a smile. "It's going to happen."
With a busy start‑up schedule and no administrative staff to help with phone calls, Guimond encourages any interested parties to leave a message at the Eastport facility at 853‑2070, and he assures them in advance that he will return calls.