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 


Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…

Everyone counts and you could make the difference

By Mike Matejka How many federal dollars will there be for road repairs?  To feed hungry families?  How many Illinois representatives will there be in Congress?  Are Illinois communities going to get their fair share? There’s only one way to ensure our community gets treated properly – answer the census. The every ten year U.S. census,…