Carrying on Tradition
Ever wondered where dairy farms get all those bottles? Ben Burns ’09 can tell you all about it.
Quality Containers of New England, Ben’s family business based in Yarmouth, Maine, has been manufacturing bottles for over 30 years. They are a custom blow-mold plant that services dairies, spring water companies, juice companies and other businesses that need bottles. Ben’s grandfather started the business as a dairy farm. His father and uncle took over in the late ’80s and began manufacturing and distributing plastic bottles throughout the Northeast. In the mid ’90s they saw room for growth and added glass bottles to the lineup.
Ben and his cousin, Brad, purchased the business in 2014 and have continued to expand their reach. Where will he be in ten years?
“Most likely doing what I'm doing right now,” he said. “I love going to work every day and it’s a good feeling to be continuing a successful family business.”
Before purchasing the family business, Ben worked in the ski industry for about six years. Thanks to his Colby-Sawyer internship at Fischer Skis, running the Test Center at Mt. Hood, Oregon, he was offered a full-time position upon graduation. Ben continued working for Fischer Skis based in Park City, UT running the western race and promotions program. After one year, Ben was hired by The Rossignol Group, a world leader in mountain sports equipment, and oversaw the racing department for the United States. Ben was able to travel internationally and service ski racers, from young skiers all the way up to the best racers in the USA on the World Cup circuit. He stayed on this path for three years.
“Living away and working in the ski industry was a great learning experience,” Ben said, “It prepared me well for purchasing and operating my family business.”
The through lines in his working career have been teamwork, time management and a commitment to high-quality products. Now that he’s back running a business with his family, those skills are more important than ever. Countless local farms and businesses rely on their products, just as professional skiers rely on quality equipment, and that is a responsibility Ben does not take lightly.
The biggest influence on Ben’s life was becoming a father. Ben has identical twin boys, turning two in November, and a three-and-a-half-year-old son. His boys have changed his lifestyle and his approach to his personal and professional life. He spends most of his time with his kids, and loves to spend time outside, fishing, and hunting.
“They have really taught me how to slow down and appreciate the little things,” Ben said. “Nothing is more challenging or rewarding than being a parent and nothing is more important than spending time with your family.”