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

By February 26, 2020July 7th, 2023No Comments

February 26, 2020

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

First round of voting will determine Top 16 in bracket-style tournament

SPRINGFIELD – The first round of voting is now open for the inaugural “Makers Madness” contest, a bracket-style tournament hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association in which voters will decide what product is the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

The competition is designed to highlight the many different products made in Illinois, including everything from food products and military flashlights to automobiles and components for the aerospace industry. This initial round of voting will determine the Top 16 products from the 259 unique products that were nominated from across the state

First round voting will take place at through March 8. Voters can cast up to five votes per day in the first round as the field of products is narrowed. Weekly matchups will follow, culminating in an awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on April 1, when the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

“Manufacturing makes the world a better place every single day and the sheer number of products nominated demonstrates the influence, diversity and strength of the manufacturing industry in Illinois, which employs 592,000 women and men on factory floors,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “While it is now time to narrow the field, every nominee deserves our recognition and appreciation for their hard work, ingenuity and contribution to our economy.”

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. However, the industry is facing a worker shortage and skills gap as 300,000 baby boomers are set to retire in the coming years. The IMA worked in partnership with Gov. JB Pritzker and lawmakers last year to extend the Research & Development tax credit and establish a new apprenticeship tax credit, which will help manufacturers build a pipeline of new workers.

Timeline of events: February 4 – 24: Nominations accepted at
February 26 – March 8: Voting on nominations to determine Top 16
March 10 – 15: First round of contests to determine Top 8
March 17 – March 22: Second round of contests to determine Top 4
March 24 – March 29: Final round of voting
April 1: Award ceremony to name Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

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