President of Illinois Manufactures Association: ‘we have to attract the next generation of workers’


You can nominate and vote for your favorites online, with the winner to be crowned April 1 at the Governor’s Mansion. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – As we lead up to March Madness, one of the state’s business leaders is touting Makers’ Madness. 

It’s a competition to crown the coolest product made in Illinois. The president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association says the idea started last year.

“Last year, when I became CEO, we commissioned Manufacturing Matters to show the impact of manufacturing in Illinois: 592,000 men and women on factory floors, $304 billion in economic output, and we took a tour around the state for about twelve weeks. We now want to show what the products are made in Illinois, because manufacturers have to do a better job of opening their doors and trumpeting their story. 

“We have to attract the next generation of workers.”

Examples included a box of store-brand cereal celebrating Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a bag of Beer Nuts, and a GSI grain bin. 

That last one was not actual size.

You can nominate and vote for your favorites online, with the winner to be crowned April 1 at the Governor’s Mansion.

Dave Dahl can be reached at 


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