The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida & Tampa Bay announced it is partnering with Fort Myers Technical College and Yamaha to address the industry’s shortage of outboard technicians. Meanwhile, there’s also a good story about a marina manager encouraging his customers to display the American flag.
MIASWFTB recently held a meeting of area member dealers to present a new training initiative. “The immediate support we received was overwhelming,” executive director John Good said. “Moreover, the board approved a $10,000 contribution to help get the program off the ground. And now Yamaha has now joined by donating a 4.2L Offshore outboard.”
Initially, training will be offered to students currently enrolled in the technical college, and plans are being developed to begin an evening course for employees of dealerships to receive the basic Yamaha certification while still working full time. Currently, dealers must send their employees to Atlanta or another certified training facility to receive similar certification.
“This evening course addition is so important,” Good said, ”because it will offer a much more affordable alternative and will open the door for more potential technicians to receive training not easily available to them in the past.”
“Fort Myers Technical College is excited about the new training opportunity for Marine Service Technology students and the local marine industry,” said Mike Esterline, instructor in FMTC’s marine mechanics program. “With the support of the Lee County School District, Yamaha, MIASWFTB and its member marine businesses, FMTC will be equipped to instruct Yamaha’s Maintenance Certification Program. This technical training is the first step to Yamaha’s Master Technician certification and will benefit students, marine dealers and the boating public by providing more and better-trained technicians throughout the southwest Florida area.”
Yamaha’s Gregg Snyder summed it up: “This will put Mike and Fort Myers Technical College in a stronger position to educate the next generation of marine technicians, and we’re honored to be a part of this program that will give students the opportunity for a rewarding career.”
Marina Manager Encourages Patriotism
A well-deserved salute to marina manager Jorge Rodriguez, who urged his hundreds of customers to display the America flag during Labor Day weekend. And he didn’t just encourage customers; he uniquely incentivized them.
Rodriguez declared that every boater flying the American flag at Loggerhead Marina in St. Petersburg, Fla., during the weekend would receive a fuel discount of 15 cents per gallon. You might assume Jorge just wanted to increase his fuel sales, but his motive had nothing to do with sales.
The idea was actually suggested by Jorge’s office manager, Gretchen Henderson. She knows his passion for America and his love for the flag. Born and raised in Cuba, Rodriguez knows well the hardships and struggles of living under a socialist, one-state, one-party (Communist) system that’s constitutionally defined as Marxist-Leninist.
“I tell people here about the history of Cuba, but I know it’s hard for them to understand,” Rodriguez said. “What was once a peaceful agrarian society, populated by loving people mostly born there, was turned into a country that knows almost nothing but strife, hardship and disappointment. I’m hoping to get my family to join me here in America soon, and every time I see that beautiful American flag, it reminds me of how good it is to live in this country.”
In the interest of transparency, I am a 10-year Loggerhead customer, so I speak from first-hand experience when I write that the marina has never been run better.