Machen Turns Passion for Rowing Into a Career
Updated: Jan 21
Mathews High School alum Phillip Machen has been hired by fellow Mathews native Matt Muffelman to help grow Hudson USA, the largest rowing boat manufacturer in North America.
Both Machen and Muffelman were four-year letter winners for the Mathews rowing team, as well as competing internationally with Mobjack Rowing Association during summer, fall and winter.
Machen won the prestigious Stotesbury Championship Four and Muffelman is a U.S. National Team World Championship gold medalist; both of those races were won in a Hudson boat. Machen earned a full rowing scholarship to Florida Institute of Technology, where he excelled in academics and rowing.
He represented FIT in the Men’s 1st Varsity 8 all four years, winning several National Championships at the Dad Vail regatta in Philadelphia. Following graduation, he was hired by FIT’s head coach to be an assistant coach and boatman, after earning a scholarship to complete his master’s in mechanical engineering.
Machen spent one summer in London, Ontario, at Hudson Boat Works’ Canadian headquarters learning how to build and repair carbon fiber boats that stretch as long as 57 feet. Hudson’s products are used worldwide by the U.S. and other National and Olympic teams as well as college, scholastic, club and community rowing programs.
After completing his master’s, Machen landed his first job as a nuclear submarine engineer at the Naval Shipyard. For the past two years, his passion for rowing led him to continue repairing boats in his spare time, serving as the official boatman for Mobjack Rowing Association at Williams Wharf. Muffelman, who started with Hudson in 2017, was chosen in 2019 by the company to direct and develop the new Hudson USA division and has since established an 11,000 square foot headquarters in Worcester, Massachusetts. A primary objective of the facility is to provide rowing boat service and repairs for the U.S. rowing market.
Machen and Muffelman, who grew up just down the street from each other in Mobjack, are building their management team on a longstanding relationship that goes back to their roots in Mathews.
“Phil was the obvious choice for Hudson USA based on his skills and passion for rowing,” Muffelman said. “Having rowed for the same successful programs of Mobjack and MHS crew, and knowing Phil since we were young, I knew I could trust him for such an important position in the company.” As the repair coordinator, Machen will be tasked with designing, installing, and running all phases of the repair business in the new facility. Hudson has been the boat of choice for Mathews High School and Mobjack Rowing for over 20 years. The company’s owner, Hugh Hudson, personally delivered the first Hudson boats to head coach and sponsor Tim Ulsaker in the late 1990s. The personal relationships developed, through the sport and Hudson’s company, have led to success on and off the water for Ulsaker and many Mathews/Mobjack rowers.
“Over my 37 years of running Mobjack and MHS crew, I have watched our alumni take the work ethic and skills they learned in our programs to forge great careers and families,” Ulsaker said. “Many have shown appreciation through giving back to Mobjack and Mathews rowing. Having such a strong connection with the rowing industry through Phil, Matt and numerous other accomplished alums has been my greatest reward.”
Pictured Above: Mobjack Rowing Association alums working together with Matt Muffelman at the Hudson booth at Boston’s Head of the Charles, from left, Sarah Healy, Kyle Moran, Muffelman, Phillip Machen and Matt Thomas.