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Nominations Open for 2023 Coolest Thing Made In Kansas Contest


By the Kansas Manufacturing Council


Topeka, KAN. – The Kansas Manufacturing Council (KMC), an affiliated program of the Kansas Chamber, is looking for the 2023 Coolest Thing Made In Kansas.

Presented by FORVIS, KMC launched this competition in 2020 to promote and elevate Kansas manufacturers and to highlight products developed and produced in Kansas and distributed across the U.S. and internationally.

“The Kansas Manufacturing Council’s annual contest showcases Kansas’s wide variety of manufacturers that keep our state’s economy strong and our communities growing. It’s with great pride that KMC supports manufacturing technology and integration to embrace the future,” said Brandie McPherson, KMC Executive Director.

Any product that is made in Kansas qualifies for the competition. There are two categories in this year’s competition: People’s Choice and Coolest Innovation.

 The People’s Choice contest begins with product nominations and the popular vote round. The top 16 vote-getters will move on to a bracket-style tournament where they will compete in head-to-head match-ups. The ones that receive the most votes in each match-up will advance to the next round, moving one step closer to winning the ultimate prize – being named the People’s Choice – Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.

The Coolest Innovation contest highlights the many ways Kansas manufacturers research and develop new products and work to improve products to address crucial challenges.

A panel of expert judges will review and score questionnaires completed by the companies regarding their nominated products. The top four scoring products will be invited to present in-person to the expert panel on October 23rd at the Coolest Celebration Reception. The judges will choose the winning product based on a criteria that includes its impact on the challenge it solves as well as the business, its employees, and customers.

Winners for both categories will be announced during the Kansas Manufacturing Summit on Tuesday, October 24th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita.

“FORVIS is fortunate to have the opportunity to work and engage with manufacturers across Kansas and is able to see first-hand the research, development and ultimate success of innovative products,” said Matt Cash, FORVIS Commercial Products Industry Partner. “We are excited to sponsor this competition and provide manufacturers a platform to showcase their products and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of Kansas manufacturers and the solutions they are bringing to the market.”

Click here to nominate your favorite Kansas-made product. Nominations for the 2023 contest close on August 30th at midnight CT.

2023 Competition Details

Nomination Rules

  • Everyone is encouraged to nominate their favorite products. There is no limit to the number of product nominations per person.
  • Products nominated can be from any sector of the state’s manufacturing industry.
  • The company does not have to be headquartered in Kansas but the product must be manufactured in a Kansas-based facility.
  • The product must be made using a manufacturing process.
  • The Kansas Manufacturing Council will review each nomination to ensure these requirements are met. If for any reason the nomination does not meet these requirements, the nominator will be notified.
  • Companies may only have one product featured in the top four, so only one product nomination per company is encouraged.
  • Winning companies are prohibited from participating in the contest for one year, while each winning product is indefinitely prohibited from being nominated again.
  • Companies with products nominated will be notified by the Kansas Manufacturing Council.
  • Products can be nominated for both categories but may only be in one of the category’s finals.

Voting Rules for People’s Choice contest

  • Voting is open to the public. A voter may vote once per day.
  • The number of votes received will be reset at the beginning of each round.
  • The 16 nominated products who receive the most votes during the popular vote round will advance to the bracket-style tournament.
  • The products receiving the highest number of votes in their head-to-head match-ups during each voting period will advance to the next round.
  •  The final round of final four (4) will be decided by popular vote.
2022 People
2022 People’s Choice Winner Ernest Spencer Metals

People’s Choice Contest Calendar

  • Aug. 1 – Aug. 30: Submit Nominations
  • Sept 1 – Sept. 8: Vote for favorite nominated products
  • Sept. 11 – Sept. 22: Announce Tournament Bracket of 16, open voting
  • Sept. 18 – Oct. 6: Announce Bracket of 8, open voting
  • Oct. 9 – Oct. 23: Announce Final Round, open voting
  • The final round is a popular vote of the final four products
  • Oct. 23: Coolest Celebration Reception – all 16 products/companies will be invited
  • Oct. 24: Announce 2023 People’s Choice Coolest Thing

Coolest Innovation Contest Calendar

  • Aug. 1 – Aug. 30: Submit nominations
  • Sept. 1 – Sept. 15: Nominated products submit Innovation questionnaires
  • Sept. 16 – Sept. 29: Judges review and score Innovation questionnaires.
  • Oct. 5: Announce Innovation finalists
  • Oct. 23: Innovation finalists present to judges
  • Oct. 24: Announce Innovation winner
    2022 Coolest Innovation Winner Lee Aerospace
    2022 Coolest Innovation Winner Lee Aerospace