Anyone would be drawn to work for a company with a heritage like ours.
A Mainer is a specific type of person; you can tell us by the way we talk, by the way we dress, and by how friendly we are. But when it comes down to it, you could ask any Mainer and they’d all agree on one thing: you can tell us by our work ethic. The Maine character is that hard working traditionalist, that friendly face: and those are qualities you see in each one of our employees.
The Poland Spring Brand is iconic to the state. When I was little, I was very familiar with the water; I felt like it identified Maine. Whenever I would travel, I was so proud to tell people my home was close to the original source of Poland Spring. I had no connection other than just living near it, but I wanted to share that. And people got it: “You live next to Poland Spring? That’s really neat!”
That really goes back to what originally drew me to work for the company: I was 19 years old. The mother of one of my childhood friends worked for Poland Spring. She spearheaded the original bottling plant and spring house restoration project. And soon after its completion, she asked me to work for her at the museum. The moment I stepped foot on the property, I was blown away. I fell in love with the history.
As my role evolved, I had the opportunity to give tours to the public. People had a lot of questions about bottled water, and specifically about Poland Spring because of its recognition across New England. So we developed an education program, going into classrooms and teaching students about water and the environment.
We are fortunate to have a great team of hydrogeologists and third party consultants that not only monitor our spring sites on a regular basis, but also the bodies of water surrounding the sites, to make sure our operations are not harmful to the local environment.
One of the activities we have incorporated into our environmental education curricula is a bio-monitoring program that is also conducted at our spring locations, called ‘rock bags’. Literally it’s a bag of rocks placed into a body of water to collect the macro-invertebrates. After about a month, the bags are pulled and students pick through the rocks looking for creatures. . They find dragonflies, mayflies and other organisms that tell us a story about the health of a body of water. Then the kids classify the macros and are able to determine what classification the water is.
It’s a fascinating industry with a lot of exciting work that goes along with it. You wouldn’t think it would be; we put water in a bottle. But the company has such a background and belief in their product that you can’t help but be proud and want to share that with people.
There were 25 employees when the company first began bottling water in 1845. It was a male dominated industry, and they were required to shower every morning – not like you or I would shower at home, they actually had to shower inside the facility, put on their white linen uniforms and take the staircase down to work on the bottling room floor. What that showering represented was the quality of the product. They took every step possible to ensure the purity of the product. And it was recognized worldwide.
Famous people flocked to Poland Spring. There was a grand hotel here, and it was well known at the time that the spring water had curative qualities. Those who were known to frequent the resort, and drink the water, raved that they had never tasted such a pure tasting source before. In addition to drinking the water, there was a spa on the property where guests bathed and showered in, you guessed it! Poland Spring water. Visitors couldn’t help but fall in love with our water.
Today we’ve grown into an industry employing over 800 Maine people statewide and sourcing water from 8 springs throughout Maine. We value the quality of the water and are just as dedicated as those who had worked in the facility in the early 1900’s. That heritage, that obsession, that extra step that goes into caring for the source, is something I’m passionate about. I truly believe in our product and I know the rest of our employees do too.