Honoring Iowa’s Innovation: Your Complete Guide to the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa Competition

March 11, 2024 | Miller Products’ Core Strengths Endure Kelsey O'Connor, Marketing & Communications Director, ABI,

What is the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa competition, and how did it come about?
The Coolest Thing Made in Iowa competition was established as a fun and engaging way to showcase the diverse range of products manufactured in Iowa while promoting careers in manufacturing. ABI is joining nearly 20 other state associations who have hosted successful competitions.

How does the competition align with ABI’s mission?

For 120 years, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) has championed the manufacturing industry through legislative advocacy, relationship-building, educational programming, and cost savings. This competition serves as another avenue for ABI to highlight Iowa makers and their innovative products along with the state’s manufacturing prowess – an industry that employs 225,000 people in the state and contributes over $38 billion to the economy.

What products qualify?
To be eligible, a product must meet certain criteria:

  • It must be manufactured in Iowa.
  • The company headquarters doesn’t necessarily have to be in Iowa, but the product must be produced in an Iowa-based facility.
  • The product must be made using a manufacturing process. This excludes certain services like restaurants that prepare food to order but includes food items produced through mass manufacturing processes.

For a full list of criteria visit: www.coolestthingia.com

How can the public participate in the competition, and what is the voting process?
Nominations for the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa are open to the public. Once products are nominated, they enter a popular vote phase, setting the stage for a tournament-style bracket. Each device is allowed one vote per day during the voting period. The Top 16 Iowa-made products then engage in head-to-head matchups to vie for the ultimate title of the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa.

When can I nominate a product?
Nominations open on March 25. The nomination form will be available at www.coolestthingia.com.

When and where is the winner announced?
The winner of the Coolest Thing Made in Iowa will be unveiled annually during the Taking Care of Business Conference, an event that gathers hundreds of industry leaders from across the state. The winning product will take center stage and be celebrated for its innovation and contribution to Iowa’s manufacturing legacy. This year’s announcement will be on June 5 at the RiverCenter in Davenport.

What products have won in other states?
Nominated products from various states have been as diverse as motorcycles, military vehicles, cheese products, boats, generators, chocolates, food carts, iron castings, beer, all-terrain vehicles, snow blowers, and more.