Miles Maiden, the founder of Hydro-Photon, Inc. and a dedicated outdoorsman, thought that there were better ways than filters or chemicals to purify water in the wild. After years of research, he dedicated himself to the development of ultraviolet technology – the same technology used in municipal water treatment plants - for use in a personal, portable device that would provide the user with safe drinking water anywhere. Hydro-Photon received its first SteriPEN® patent in 1999, followed by patents in 2000 and 2003. In 1999, the first SteriPEN® was sold through REI, and in 2001 TIME Magazine named the SteriPEN® one of the “Best Inventions of the Year.” The SteriPEN® is now known as the first and fastest portable UV water purifier available. It kills viruses, bacteria and protozoa—including Giardia and Cryptosporidium—in seconds. Its speed, effectiveness and portability have impressed end users and media alike. Backpacker Magazine, Newsweek, and the Today Show have featured SteriPEN® as a powerful, user-friendly alternative to pumps, chemicals and filters.
We have titles but we don’t often use them. At bi-weekly management meetings, there is an open exchange of ideas. We receive wise guidance from our board of directors and top management staff; what you might expect from former executives of Binney & Smith, Phillips, and the Rockefeller Group. Miles, with his constant drive to test things until he’s completely satisfied, invites input from anyone, no matter what his or her area of expertise. Everyone has a common goal: to deliver tested, inspected, flawless products to our customers. We work collectively, “all-hands-on-deck,” when necessary. The pressure of juggling family and full-time work is lessened because there is a general understanding that everyone works hard and can be trusted to manage their time. Our home is a sizeable post-and-beam barn with an open layout and lots of windows. In the early days, there was plenty of room for meetings, staff, shipping, receiving, research and testing. That’s changed since the company’s incredible growth. Now, there are more permanent staffers and temporary helpers (family members and local high-school students included) packing boxes to ship to retailers all over the U.S. and abroad. We do have our own brand of hustle and bustle, but we also encourage each other to take a break. There are snacks from the Blue Hill Co-op in the kitchenette. There is also a small garden in the works; a few employees have begun growing vegetables and herbs in a couple of raised beds. Animal lovers get to visit with Emilie’s adopted dog, Jackie, who frequently joins us at work. This is a workplace that is out of the ordinary. It’s informal in the most productive sense. And this kind of productivity feels great. We have the freedom to enjoy our surroundings, make time for our families, and make a better world through what we do every day.
About Blue Hill
We are located on the coast of Maine. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be surrounded by such natural beauty. In our town of Blue Hill, sailboats dot the bay and we can see the mountains of Acadia National Park to the north, and the Camden Hills to the south. The Blue Hill Peninsula still maintains the feel of a Robert McCloskey book in its simplicity, even with growing numbers of residents who call it home and vacationland. Our community attracts artists of all kinds; land and wildlife conservationists; activists; and organic farmers. Many people move here because they want to make a change from fast-paced urban living, to find balance in their day-to-day. The commotion of city life gives way to a more relaxed tempo, where work, raising children, and leisure time can coexist. Living here also tends to bring out the protector in us, the urge to respect our natural resources and do our part to make the world a better place.