The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest has become one of the most fun things about Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin. This year’s contest garnered nearly 200,000 votes — more than 10 times as many votes than WMC’s inaugural coolest thing contest, which crowned Harley-Davidson’s Milwaukee Eight Engine the winner last year.
To determine this year’s Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) changed things up a little. They used a tournament style bracket, putting the different Wisconsin-made products in head-to-head battles and called it “Manufacturing Madness.” The public had a chance to vote once every 24 hours during each round.
This year’s competition featured diverse companies like Sargento and Generac Power Systems. For the last two years, it has been a great way to promote career opportunities in manufacturing. Nearly 150 products were nominated when the contest began in August, among them barn cams, hog feeding systems, and cheese curds. More than 91,000 votes determined the top eight products in September. Oshkosh Corporation’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) beat Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe’s Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Kringle in that round.
Making up the final four with Oshkosh Corporation were Mercury Marine’s Joystick Piloting System, Generac’s XC Generator, and Ariens Company’s Sno-Thro. In the end, the military vehicle made in Oshkosh was crowned the coolest. Oshkosh Corporation says t is in the MATV family of vehicles, only lighter and faster, and it possesses the same mine resistant and ambush protection as the MATV.
Rewarding the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin is a great way to honor the businesses that help make our state so wonderful, but even better, is how it shines a light on the rewarding careers available in manufacturing. Making things in our state, and in our country, is cool. When we highlight these companies and products for young people to see, it helps them to see a future in this industry. As we continue working together, we will change the perceptions about manufacturing careers and make the future brighter.