“Makers Madness” Contest Enters Final Round

Makers Madness final round announcement.

 Voters to Decide The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

March 16,2021 – Four products remain as voting opens in the final round of the second annual “Makers Madness” contest, a bracket-style tournament hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association that lets voters decide which product is The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

Presented by Comcast Business, the competition shines a light on Illinois’ diverse manufacturing sector, which has played a critical role in the state and nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Manufacturers are developing life-saving vaccines and treatments, producing needed personal protective equipment, keeping store shelves stocked with important goods and nutritious foods, and powering our homes and businesses.

Almost 300,000 votes have been cast so far in the contest, with voters narrowing a field of 311 unique products nominated for The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois down to the Top 4, which are: Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater (Termico Technologies, Elk Grove Village); Blistex Lip Ointment (Blistex Inc., Oak Brook); Custom Tooling (Deco Manufacturing Company, Decatur); and the Accuchiller KSE Series Packaged Outdoor Chiller  (Thermal Care, Inc., Niles). More information about the Top 4 products:

Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater

Manufactured by Termico Technologies in Elk Grove Village, the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater automatically provides heat to keep LED traffic lights free of frost and snow, maintaining visibility and ensuring driver safety.

Blistex Lip Ointment

Manufactured by Blistex Inc. in Oak Brook, Blistex Lip Ointment contains four medications to provide relief from the pain, itching, and discomfort of lip sores and blisters and has been clinically shown to elevate lip moisture, help heal dry, chapped lips, and improve overall lip condition.

Custom Tooling

Manufactured by Deco Manufacturing Company in Decatur since 1955, Custom Tooling includes lifting devices, pneumatic and hydraulic equipment, assembly tooling and fixtures used by customers in more than 120 countries including some utilized by numerous NASA space programs, the defense industry, automotive sector, and mining.

Accuchiller KSE Series Packaged Outdoor Chiller

Manufactured by Thermal Care, Inc. in Niles, the Accuchiller KSE Series Packaged Outdoor Chiller is designed to operate in harsh outdoor environments and features a compact, all-in-one package which minimizes installation cost, maximizes usable space, and lowers electric bills.

Voting for the final round of the contest is now open and will take place at www.makersmadnessil.com. Voters may cast one vote per day until voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on March 21. The contest will culminate with a virtual awards ceremony at 12:00 p.m. on March 24 when The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

“These finalists represent the best of Illinois manufacturing and should be applauded for their creativity, determination, and innovative spirit. Despite the immense challenges of the last year, manufacturers large and small answered the call, keeping our economy running while quickly adapting to produce personal protective equipment, testing supplies, treatments and vaccines to battle the virus,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Makers Madness celebrates the men and women on factory floors who make the world a better place to live every single day.”

“Comcast Business congratulates each of the Top 4 finalists. The caliber of these products and the other Makers Madness contest entries says a lot about the strength of manufacturing and innovation in the state,” said Sean McCarthy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives. “We’re proud to support the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the industry as a whole, and are heartened to know that our work together helps manufacturing thrive in the state.”

Statewide, manufacturing generates more than $304 billion in economic output, contributing 12 percent to the state’s Gross Domestic Product – the largest share of any industry in Illinois. Manufacturers employ 556,300 women and men in Illinois at an average salary of $88,691, providing $52 billion in wages and benefits.

Though manufacturing remains an economic powerhouse in Illinois, manufacturers here and across the country are facing the threat of an aging workforce. Over the next decade, it is estimated that 300,000 men and women will leave the industry as baby boomers begin to retire, presenting numerous career opportunities. Nationally, there are 460,000 open manufacturing jobs today.

In 2020, Caterpillar’s 797F Large Mining Truck was crowned “The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois” after nearly 300,000 votes.

Timeline of events:

January 27 – February 14: Nominations accepted at www.makersmadnessil.com

February 17 – February 28: Voting on nominations to determine Top 16

March 2 – March 7: First round of voting to determine Top 8

March 9 – March 14: Second round of voting to determine Top 4

March 16 – March 21: Final round of voting

March 24: Winner of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois Announced

 About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, visit https://ima-net.org/.

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