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Local News

Northeast Wisconsin Innovations Make Up 4 of the Top 8 “Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin”

Credit: iStock

Reinette LeJeune

What do you think of when you hear the name Wisconsin? Many would jump to answer cheese and dairy products, beer, or even the Green Bay Packers, but locally, there’s far more to consider. That’s why Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce along with Johnson Financial Group have partnered once again to highlight residential favorites that are completely unique to the state in a bracket-style contest of innovation. 

The “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” contest, now in its 7th year, began with a total of 121 products made around the state and will eventually be narrowed down by public voting until only one remains. Entries ranged from allergen-free baking mix from The Pink Bakery to Wisconsin Lighting, Inc.’s outdoor lighting and entertainment system – even Hentzen’s coatings system used to protect and beautify the U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18E Super Hornet multi-role fighter aircraft. Each entry was nominated, before the first round of voting began on Monday, September 19th through Tuesday, September 27th. The top 16 were announced the following day, with the second round of votes going until Tuesday, October 4th. The eight finalists have since been announced and voting has resumed until Tuesday, October 11th. This will continue until only one remains standing, which will be announced during an event in Madison on October 19th – so get yourself online to vote at https://www.madeinwis.com/!

One recurring factor of the contest has been that products made in the Northeast of the state have gone on to win 3 of the last 6 competitions, with the area’s streak having strong chances this year to continue. In the previous round, we saw 7 of the top 16 products being from the region, with 4 remaining in the top 8. 

From Appleton, Pierce Manufacturing Inc. introduced its Pierce Volterra pumper, North America’s first zero-emission electric fire truck that also happens to be in service. 

From Neenah, Plexus Corp has partnered with Quidel to create the Quidel Savanna, a system that accepts a patient sample and provides a diagnostic result for influenza, RSV or COVID-19 in less than 25 minutes, without a need to send a swab off to a lab. 

From Brillion, Ariens produced the Mammoth 850, a go anywhere, clear anything snowplow guaranteed to start on the coldest of days, with a variety of attachments and the torque to never find itself stuck in the snow. 

From Sturgeon Bay, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding threw its hat into the ring with its M/V Mark W. Barker, a ship they began building in 2019 and finished earlier this year that runs 639 feet long, with a 78-foot beam, and has the carrying capacity of 26,000 deadweight tons. It is the first of its kind to have been built by a Great Lakes shipyard in more than 35 years. 

Voting on the top 8 will continue until October 11th at 5 p.m. After that, there will be one more round of voting until the official declaration of the winner on October 19th.