Sunshine Boats and Motors, in conjunction with Yamaha Marine, announced that Dustin Bearden is the first apprentice to successfully complete the Yamaha Marine Apprentice Program (YMAP) offered through Yamaha Marine University (YMU). YMAP includes 4,000 hours of comprehensive, hands-on Yamaha outboard technician training supported by an online platform.
The program pairs seasoned mentors in dealership service departments with novice technicians to help them learn the key skills they will need to further develop their careers in the marine industry. Dealership owner and Yamaha Master Technician Pete Magnuson served as Bearden’s mentor throughout the program.
“We’re incredibly proud of Dustin’s accomplishments. As a former apprentice myself, I understand the importance of programs like YMAP,” said Magnuson. “Dustin plans to continue his training as he works toward his Yamaha Master Technician certification. Once he has achieved this goal, Sunshine Boats and Motors will have three master technicians on staff: Dustin, co-owner Marvin Lawler and myself. Our ability to serve our customers only improves with Dustin on board.”
Magnuson learned about YMAP in 2018 through Jeff Crain, his Yamaha Marine district service manager. Together, Crain, Magnuson and Bearden walked through the software until mentor and apprentice were in the habit of logging hours every morning to keep track of their progress. The veteran marine dealership owner quickly took note of the advantages offered through the program.
“Through YMAP, we both learned a lot about time management and efficiency. When you log hours every day, you have a deeper understanding of how you spend your time and which jobs require more attention,” said Magnuson. “Jeff was also an invaluable resource for us. He is the one responsible for making sure this program was registered with the state of Florida as well. He handled the paperwork end for us so that we could focus on the work we had to complete.”
Though Sunshine Boats and Motors is a smaller shop, its 25-year presence in Tallahassee makes it one of the more established shops in the area. The addition of another qualified technician gives the shop an even bigger competitive advantage. For Bearden, the experience working side-by-side with a knowledgeable mentor is invaluable.
“When I graduated from trade school, I worked with a career services representative to try to find a dealership close to my hometown of Thomasville, Ga.,” said Bearden. “Sunshine was a perfect fit for me. Working with two master technicians in a small shop setting and leveraging the tools we had through YMAP, I was able to gain a lot of experience in a short period of time. I’ve also attended a couple of Yamaha Training classes in Kennesaw, and I look forward to completing my Master Technician certification within the next two years. This program has without doubt put me on a fast track to solidifying my career as a successful technician.”