Voters Narrow Field to Top 8 Coolest Products Made in Illinois

“Makers Madness” Contest Lets Public Decide The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The field of contenders for the 2024 title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois has been narrowed further, with voters choosing the Top 8 products to move ahead in the fifth annual “Makers Madness” contest. Hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, “Makers Madness” is a bracket-style tournament in which voters across the state decide which product is The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

Presented by Comcast Business, the competition celebrates the incredible work of manufacturers across Illinois, who have long served as the backbone of our state’s economy. Manufacturing is the largest contributor of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product, supporting nearly a third of all jobs in Illinois and contributing more than $580 billion to the state’s economy each year.

Over the past week, voters chose their favorites in eight head-to-head matchups between individual products, with almost 100,000 votes cast in this round. The original field of more than 200 nominees for The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois has now been whittled down to the Top 8. The Top 8 products selected by voters are the BoulePro 200AX made by USACH in Elgin; Komatsu Mining Truck manufactured by Komatsu in Peoria; Mullen’s Imitation French Dressing made by Mullen’s in Palestine; Vulcan Rocket Thruster Launchers manufactured by Chemring Energetic Devices in Downers Grove; the MQ-25 Stingray (Drone Refueler) manufactured by Boeing in Mascoutah; ActivWall manufactured by Aurora Storage Products Inc. in Aurora; Gindo’s Hot Saucemade by Gindo’s Spice of Life in St. Charles; and Mod Box by Enviro Buildings manufactured by Craig Industries in  Quincy.

“We are proud to celebrate the impressive achievements and outstanding contributions of manufacturers across Illinois as we move to the next stage in our search for the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “The creativity and diversity of the manufacturing industry is unmatched, and we applaud the women and men and shop floors across Illinois who make these incredible products.” 

The Makers Madness Top 8 matchups are as follows: 

Bracket A:

  • BoulePro 200AX (USACH, Elgin) v. (3) Komatsu Mining Truck (Komatsu, Peoria)

Bracket B:

  • Mullen’s Imitation French Dressing (Mullen’s, Palestine) v. (3) Vulcan Rocket Thruster Launchers (Chemring Energetic Devices, Downers Grove)

Bracket C:

  • MQ-25 Stingray (Drone Refueler) (Boeing, Mascoutah) v. (3) ActivWall (Aurora Storage Products Inc., Aurora)

Bracket D:

(1) Gindo’s Hot Sauce (Gindo’s Spice of Life, St. Charles) v. (3) Mod Box by Enviro Buildings (Craig Industries, Quincy)

Voting for this round is now open and will take place at www.makersmadnessil.com through 11:59 p.m. on March 31. Voters may cast one vote per day in each of the four head-to-head matchups between individual products. Consecutive rounds of voting will take place each week, with vote totals reset to zero at the beginning of each round. The contest will culminate with an awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on April 10 when The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

“The momentum is building as the competition moves to the next stage,” said Sean McCarthy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives. “Congratulations and best of luck to the Top 8. We cannot wait to see which innovative Illinois-made products will move closer to earning the coveted title.”

To ensure the state’s manufacturing sector remains strong, the IMA is advocating for the passage of several measures this legislative session. Priorities include proposals to support students and families entering the workforce through student loan employer tax credits and scholarships, advancing the development of cutting-edge technology by modernizing the state’s Research & Development tax credit, and allowing carbon capture and sequestration to help the state reach its clean energy goals.

Previous contest winners include the Rosenberg Moon Habitat, a 3D printed polymer structure designed to house humans on the moon, manufactured by Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford; Rivian’s all-electric R1T truck made in Normal, the first all-electric truck in production featuring four motors, with one powering each wheel; the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater by Termico Technologies in Elk Grove Village, which uses conductive particles to heat traffic signals so they remain free of ice and snow and traffic can safely navigate our roadways; and the 797F Mining Truck manufactured by Caterpillar, Inc. in Decatur, the world’s largest mechanical truck.

Timeline of events:

February 14 – March 3: Nominations accepted at www.makersmadnessil.com

March 5 – March 17: Voting on nominations to determine the Top 16

March 19 – March 24: First round of voting to determine Top 8

March 26 – March 31: Second round of voting to determine Top 4

April 2 – April 7: Final round of voting

April 10: 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/.

We think you may also like…