We Need More Businesses Like Poland Spring

As published in the Sun Journal June 25, 2016.

The Lewiston-Auburn metropolitan community is lucky to have corporate partners like Poland Spring. In fact, Maine needs more businesses like Poland Spring that want to grow and invest in our economy and contribute to local charities and schools.

Poland Spring has invested more than $430 million into the economy of the state of Maine, spends $60 million a year with local suppliers and has an annual payroll of $42 million.

It is unfortunate that race organizers for the Triple Crown did not take the time to explore other ways to partner with Poland Spring this year (Sun Journal story, June 11).I understand the race was taking a different approach this year, but that should have been clearly communicated to Poland Spring instead of politicized in the newspaper.

Poland Spring is a model corporate citizen and a company that deserves praise for setting a great example for how to run a Maine business that does sustainability right. This company’s many contributions often go unnoticed, which is unfortunate. Our community is lucky to have Poland Spring’s support. And, frankly, so is our state.

They support our communities through charitable outreach; create jobs for and employ more than 800 Mainers; invest in local water infrastructure projects and practice environmental sustainability every step of the way. As a life-long Mainer, I have always been proud of Poland Spring, whether here at home or deployed around the world. In my role as president and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, I have had the fortunate opportunity to observe the company and learn more about its operations and significant impact on our economy and communities.

For example, I know that Poland Spring takes water management seriously and constantly does research to determine that their water bottling practices are sustainable and will not hurt the environment or threaten the population’s access to and quantity of safe drinking water.

I have also learned that the company has given $6 million to local Maine communities and have made a substantial investment in environmental education throughout the state of Maine by partnering with organizations such as Project WET and The Ecology School. More than 9,000 students in Maine have participated in environmental education programming through Poland Spring curricula and funding.

Poland Spring knows what Maine and its people stand for as well as anyone, given their rich 170-year history operating in the state. Being a good, responsible neighbor and a model business is at the core of everything they do.

I hope the Triple Crown race continues in our community for years to come and I would encourage them to remain open to working with local businesses that share the same desire to ensure this race’s ongoing success.