Manufacturers Group Hosts Contest To Find “Coolest Thing” Made in Illinois

“Makers Madness” is a bracket-style tournament designed to highlight products made in the Land of Lincoln.

It’s down to the final four, with flavored peanuts, a mining truck, a functional hand, and hair clippers all vying to be “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

Taking a cue from the bracket traditionally used for the March Madness basketball tournament, he Illinois Manufacturers’ Association launched its first “Makers Madness” contest as a way to raise awareness of the state’s robust products industry.

The sector contributes more than $304 billion annually to the state economy, employs 592,000 people, and makes up 12 percent of Illinois’ gross domestic product, according to IMA.

“America is facing extraordinary times and manufacturers are answering the nation’s call and leading the way forward. Amazing and innovative companies are making life-saving products, equipping first responders, and ensuring that our food supply is strong,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Although we launched this contest before our state and country began feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been encouraging to see the outpouring of support for these products and companies. Our four finalists are a wonderful representation of our strong and vibrant manufacturing sector here in Illinois.”

The Final Four

More than 250 products battled it out over the last few weeks to make the top 16, then down to just eight. On March 24, the “coolest” product contenders narrowed to four: The Clipper (Wahl Clipper Corporation, Sterling), BEER NUTS Bar Mix (BEER NUTS, Bloomington), Functional Hand (Thera-Solutions, LLC, Elmhurst), and the Caterpillar 797F Large Mining Truck (Caterpillar Inc., Decatur).

Voting is open to the public, and runs through March 29. The winner will be announced on April 1.

(photosoup/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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