"Makers Madness": Looking for the "coolest" Illinois made product

Baseball bats? RFID chips in football helmets? Tractors? Nominate it!

Alex Degman
February 10, 2020 - 8:42 pm
Illinois Makers Madness logo

Illinois Manufacturers Association

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) -- Ever wonder what kinds of cool products are made in Illinois?

You're about to find out. The new "Makers Madness" contest from the Illinois Manufacturers Association mimics the NCAA's March Madness to find the coolest product made in the state.

IMA President and CEO Mark Denzler says online voting will move the Illinois-made items through brackets until a winner is crowned.

"It could be your iconic John Deere combine or Caterpillar bulldozer, down to a small production of salsa for example," Denzler says. "You know, we have NFL helmets made in Illinois, Major League Baseball bats are made in Illinois."

The website to nominate your favorite Illinois product is www.makersmadnessil.com .

"We have a company called Zebra Technologies north of Chicago that make RFID tags that were used by 1,800 NFL players last year to track their movement," Denzler continued. "All the announcers in the Super Bowl were using data because of the technology from a product made in Illinois."

Part of the contest also aims to change the stigma surrounding manufacturing -- as Denzler puts it -- from "dark, dirty and dangerous" to what it is today -- a wide array of companies using various technologies and employing around 600,000 people statewide.

Nominations are being accepted through February 24, the winner -- after several rounds of voting -- will be announced April 1.

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