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Vote On The Coolest Thing Made In Illinois

031621_provided_makersmadness.jpg
Provided by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
The 797F Mining Truck manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. in Decatur, Illinois, won the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association's inaugural Makers Madness competition in 2020.

What’s the coolest thing made in Illinois? The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association aims to figure that out — but needs your help to do it.

For the second year in a row, the association is highlighting the state’s diverse manufacturing sector with a bracket-style tournament. The Makers Madness contest started with 311 nominees.

After nearly 300,000 votes, four products are now vying to be declared the state’s coolest.

Products that made it to the final round include the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater, made by Termico Technologies of Elk Grove Village; Blistex Lip Ointment, made by Blistex Inc. in Oak Brook; Custom Tooling, made by Deco Manufacturing of Decatur and the Accuchiller KSE Series Packaged Outdoor Chiller, made by Thermal Care of Niles.

The final round of voting began today. The winner will be named on March 24.

Mark Denzler, the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, stressed the importance of Illinois’ manufacturing sector in discussing the contest on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Denzler said, “550,000 men and women are working on factory floors today.” And while these manufacturers contribute 12% of the gross state product, the single largest share, “most manufacturers are located in nondescript buildings and industrial parks, [so] the average Illinoisan doesn’t know what’s being made there.”

“This is an opportunity to thank those workers and showcase some of these products that are made across the state,” he said.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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