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Alabama Legislators Discuss Workforce Development at Yamaha Facility

Posted 6/24/2024

BRIDGEPORT, Ala. -- June 24, 2024 – “Yamaha’s presence in Jackson County has the potential to create jobs within the community,” said Alabama Senate Majority Leader Steve Livingston. “I’m encouraged by the recruiting possibilities which could occur between Yamaha, the local school system and the community college which could lead to future workforce development in northern Alabama.”

Livingston and State Representative Mike Kirkland (R-Scottsboro) visited the Yamaha Test Facility in Bridgeport, Alabama, on June 18 to meet with employees and learn more about Yamaha’s workforce development opportunities as well as the company’s economic impact within the state of Alabama. Senate Majority Leader Livingston and Representative Kirkland also toured the 47,000 square-foot facility, which is used to test the durability and reliability of new and existing Yamaha Marine products.

Livingston was first elected to represent the 8th District of the Alabama Senate in 2014, then reelected in 2018 and 2022. His Republican colleagues elected him Majority Leader of the Alabama Senate in 2023. He is responsible for spearheading many projects including the transformation of the Alabama Department of Labor into the Alabama Department of Workforce Development, ensuring state residents can enter the workforce and secure skilled, good-paying jobs.

Government Relations Sr. Specialist, Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit, John O’Keefe and Site Manager, Bridgeport Marine Testing facility, Travis Watkins jointly led the tour of the facility.

“Inviting elected officials to tour our facilities provides Yamaha with an opportunity to share our story,” said John O’Keefe, Sr. Specialist, Government Relations, Yamaha U.S Marine Business Unit. “More importantly though, it gives officials an occasion to meet and connect with the men and women who make up the Yamaha team and gain a better understating of the workforce development options available through the company.”

Livingston and Kirkland walked the entire facility, from the offices to the warehouses. They also enjoyed a boat ride on a 44-foot Pursuit OS 445 Offshore boat powered by three Yamaha 450-horsepower XTO Offshore outboards.

“It’s been about 20 years since I was last here, and I am just amazed at Yamaha’s progress. The Tennessee River is an economic engine for our communities here, and I think it’s great that Yamaha recognized the importance of the river and decided to build an important facility right here in our backyard,” said State Representative Mike Kirkland. “Jackson County is a great location, and this facility is outstanding.”

Elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2022, Kirkland represents the 23rd District, which includes the majority of Jackson County. He serves on the House committees for State Government, Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure, and Ports, Waterways & Intermodal Transit. In 2023, Speaker Ledbetter appointed Kirkland to serve on an ad-hoc committee which studies Alabama’s labor force participation rates and identifies barriers to workforce entry.
Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Engine Systems, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit

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