Industry Member Spotlight: BlueTriton Brands
This article appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.
Land conservation and environmental education don’t just drive BlueTriton’s community stewardship as a company; it’s also personal.
Arlene Anderson-Vincent, the Natural Resources Manager for the Midwest Region of BlueTriton Brands’ Ice Mountain water bottling company, whose main bottling operations are located south of Big Rapids, Michigan, is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of our state.
Arlene grew up in Michigan exploring the forests, lakes and streams. She recognized early on that water is integral to the state’s appeal and its economy. Arlene exemplifies BlueTriton’s genuine desire to protect the beauty around her so that current and future generations can enjoy Michigan’s natural resources as much as she has.
“It was a natural pathway for me to go into the natural science field,” she says.
Best Part of My Job
Inspiring aha moments about how science is applied in manufacturing, from field to final product. We take a science-based approach managing natural resources that support our business and build community resiliency.
One Skill Everyone Should Have
Good communications are key in the manufacturing sector — for keeping employees and the community safe, for managing our businesses and work, and for helping others understand the value we bring.
A geologist who has specialized in hydrogeology, Arlene is proud to be able to utilize science in her current role to educate young students and to continue protecting the health of the state.
“There’s science in every step of the water bottling process, from identifying and protecting the water source all the way to the final packaging,” she says.
Protecting land and water is fundamental to BlueTriton and Ice Mountain, as doing so is integral to their business and essential for the future of the planet.
In fact, Ice Mountain and Arlene are credited with developing the Twin Creek Nature Area in the small town of Evart from the ground up.
If I Weren’t Doing This
I can’t imagine being anything but a geologist/scientist. I’d be a National Park ranger, inspiring pride in our unique park history and geologies with visitors from around the world. Bonus: wearing the cool ranger outfit and hat.
How People Describe Me
Passionate. I get great satisfaction helping young people learn about their environment — water in particular — and how to care for it. We’re building a community of young water and watershed stewards.
Several years ago, an unpaved road in this rural area had been causing many community challenges that led to unnecessary maintenance costs and dust problems for the local municipality and school district. As it was, simply paving the road wasn’t a possibility because there was no infrastructure in place to manage stormwater runoff.
Ice Mountain, which owns property on the north side of the road, stepped forward to fund the pavement project, which involved adding catch basins to collect storm-water runoff and directing it to a constructed, lined bioswale on Ice Mountain’s property. The bioswale beautifies the area, supports native habitats and protects nearby waters and groundwater.
Ice Mountain and Arlene didn’t stop there, however.
The area has since been transformed into a comprehensive nature park featuring nature trails, interpretive signs, pollinator gardens, a boardwalk across wetlands to the stream and a covered pavilion for visitors to gather. Ice Mountain has also formed partnerships with multiple community groups to make the most of the park’s resources.
How We’re Innovating
BlueTriton Brands is focused on packaging — reducing packaging, energy use, water use and waste. Today, BTB is leaning into climate change challenges, including decarbonizing our operations.
“Being located in a rural, central part of Michigan, we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact,” Arlene says. “We have a bird watching club, where third graders visit weekly to look for and identify birds. High school students have planted native trees and helped to remove invasive species. College students have collected surface, ground and stormwater for research projects. It’s evolved into a community outdoor educational asset.”
The Twin Creek Nature Area recently was recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council as the national Green Infrastructure Project of the Year for 2022, an honor that BlueTriton says is a shining example of community partnerships at work.
Through Ice Mountain’s technical methodologies, conservation efforts and local partnerships, Arlene can continue doing what she loves: using science to be a champion for change, educating students with facility tours and local festivals, facilitating research opportunities and introducing children to the beauty of nature — all with a goal of protecting our planet for future generations.
BlueTriton Brands is an MMA Industry Member and has been an MMA member company since October 2002. Visit online: icemountainwater.com .