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Voters Narrow Field to Top 8 Coolest Products Made in Illinois

By March 14, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments

March 14, 2023

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

SPRINGFIELD – The field of contenders for the 2023 title of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois has been narrowed further, with voters choosing the Top 8 products to move ahead in the fourth 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. Manufacturers have long served as the backbone of our state’s economy, and they produce everything from nutritious food and snacks to life-saving vaccines and medical treatments. Manufacturers also make electric vehicles, sporting equipment and structural products like steel, rebar and motors, as well as chemicals, high-tech gadgets used for national defense, and energy to power homes and businesses. A recent study found the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 billion and $611 billion every year – the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

Over the past week, voters chose their favorites in eight head-to-head matchups between individual products, with more than 130,000 votes cast in this round. The original field of nearly 250 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 Accuchiller NQ Series Brewery & Distillery Glycol Chiller made by Thermal Care in Niles; Drug Terminator made by Elastec in Carmi; 17th Street Barbecue Sauces manufactured by 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro; Astro Physics Telescopes manufactured by Astro Physics, Inc. in Machesney Park; the Brew Cave made by U.S. Cooler Co, Inc. in Quincy; the 77GHz Radar for Driver’s Assistance and Automated Driving made by Hella Electronics Corp in Flora; the 32 Gallon Trash Can and Lid made by The Libman Company in Arcola; and the Rosenberg Moon Habitat manufactured by Ingersoll Machine Tools, Inc. in  Rockford.

“We are proud to highlight the innovations and advances made by manufacturers in a wide variety of sectors ranging from food and medical equipment to automotive equipment and space travel, all while bringing focus to the skills and creativity of workers on shop floors across our state,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Manufacturers are the engine of our economy, and we will continue to work with our legislators to provide the support needed for the industry to continue to grow and flourish.”

The Makers Madness Top 8 matchups are as follows:

Bracket A:

  • Accuchiller NQ Series Brewery & Distillery Glycol Chiller (Thermal Care, Niles) v. (3) Drug Terminator (Elastec, Carmi)

Bracket B:

  • 17th Street Barbecue Sauces (17th Street Barbecue, Murphysboro) v. (3) Astro Physics Telescopes (Astro Physics, Inc, Machesney Park)

Bracket C:

  • Brew Cave (U.S. Cooler Co, Inc, Quincy) v. (3) 77GHz Radar for Driver’s Assistance and Automated Driving (Hella Electronics Corp, Flora)

Bracket D:

(4) 32 Gallon Trash Can and Lid (The Libman Company, Arcola) v. (2) Rosenberg Moon Habitat (Ingersoll Machine Tools, Inc., Rockford)

Voting for this round is now open and will take place at through 11:59 p.m. on March 19. 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 March 29 when The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

“The field is narrowing, and we’re getting really excited,” said Sean McCarthy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives. “We’re on the edge of our virtual seats waiting to find out which cool Illinois-made innovation is going to win this year.”

To ensure the state’s manufacturing sector remains strong, the IMA is working to pass several measures this legislative session including reforming the state’s biometric information privacy law, modernizing and making permanent Illinois’ Research & Development Tax Credit, creating further workforce development opportunities and providing tax incentives to spur additional Illinois manufacturing.

Previous contest winners include 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 2 – February 19: Nominations accepted at
  • February 21 – March 5: Voting on nominations to determine Top 16
  • March 7 – March 12: First round of voting to determine Top 8
  • March 14 – March 19: Second round of voting to determine Top 4
  • March 21 – March 26: Final round of voting
  • March 29: 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