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Voting Begins in “Makers Madness” Contest to Name The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

March 5, 2024

Voting Begins in “Makers Madness” Contest to Name The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

More than 200 unique products now competing to advance to Top 16

SPRINGFIELD – The first round of voting is now open in the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s (IMA) fifth annual “Makers Madness” contest, a bracket-style tournament in which the public will decide what product earns the 2024 title of 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.

More than 200 unique products from every corner of the state were nominated for this year’s contest, with candidates ranging from agriculture equipment and life-saving medical products to iconic pantry staples, sweet treats and a variety of vehicles. Voting throughout the contest will take place at, where voters can now choose which products will advance to the Top 16. Voting for this round is open now and runs through 11:59 p.m. on March 17, and participants can vote up to five times per day. Consecutive rounds of voting in head-to-head matchups will take place each week, culminating with an awards ceremony at the Governor’s mansion on April 10 when The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

“The products nominated in this year’s contest demonstrate the breadth and depth of our state’s dynamic and innovative manufacturing industry, which has the power to reshape communities and transform lives,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “As we celebrate the achievements of manufacturers across Illinois, we must continue to work in partnership with policymakers to ensure the industry can continue to flourish for generations to come.”

Manufacturers in Illinois produce everything from life-saving therapies and medicines to electric vehicles and components used for space exploration. Our manufacturers keep store shelves stocked with nutritious food and delectable snacks, and create sporting equipment used everywhere from neighborhood fields to professional leagues. They build agricultural equipment and create high-tech gadgets and components used for national defense, as well as produce energy to power our homes and businesses.

“As voters begin to cast their ballots, we wish all of the hardworking nominees good luck as they look to move on to the Top 16,” said Sean McCarthy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives. “Comcast is proud to provide state-of-the-art connectivity and technology to help manufacturers achieve their goals and shape the world around us.”

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
  • 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