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Partnering for the sixth year in a row, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and Johnson Financial Group announced the 2021 Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin on Thursday. After nearly 210,000 votes were cast over multiple rounds, the 140 Ton Navy Crane from Broadwind Heavy Fabrications in Manitowoc was crowned the winner.

Nearly 70,000 votes were cast in the final round of the contest. Other finalists included: Caterpillar Global Mining in South Milwaukee, Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, and Kwik Trip in La Crosse. The winner was announced at the annual WMC Business Day held at the Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee.

“Wisconsin has a diverse and robust manufacturing industry as demonstrated by the products nominated for this year’s program,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt Bauer. “We are proud to once again highlight not only the cool things we make in Wisconsin, but the rewarding careers available in the industry.”

The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Contest was created to recognize the contribution manufacturers bring to the state’s economy and local communities. Roughly 8,000 manufacturers employ nearly 500,000 people in Wisconsin – that is one in six workers. The winner is announced each year in October, which is Manufacturing Month.

“Congratulations to Broadwind! And to all of the 2021 nominees that put a spotlight on Wisconsin Manufacturing and the successful products we make here,” said President & CEO of Johnson Financial Group Jim Popp.

Manufacturing is a critical part of Wisconsin’s heritage and its future. Thank you to all of the hard working men and women dedicated to Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry and thank you to WMC for reminding us each year of all the coolest things made in Wisconsin.


President and CEO, Johnson Financial Group

Nominations were accepted in August, and nominees competed in four rounds of voting over the last two months. Since its inception in 2016, nearly one million votes have been cast to determine the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.

“Broadwind Heavy Fabrications is extremely honored to have won The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin award for 2021. On behalf of our great Broadwind employees we would like to say thank you to our partner customer Konecranes and all of our Wisconsin based suppliers who made this possible,” said Broadwind Heavy Fabrications President Dan Schueller. “We appreciate WMC and Johnson Financial Group sponsoring this contest and the excitement it brought to all of the participating companies. We look forward to participating in future contests because we believe what we manufacture in Manitowoc is essential to the Wisconsin and American economy.”

About the winner:

The 140 Ton Navy Crane was engineered, fabricated, machined, painted, assembled, tested, and delivered by the Broadwind Heavy Fabrications and Konecranes partnership. This 2.7 million pound crane shipped on Memorial Day weekend by barge, to Portsmouth, NH. About 5,000-6,000 Wisconsin residents watched the crane depart the Manitowoc River and enter into Lake Michigan to start it’s 2,100 mile journey through the Great Lakes Waterway and into the Atlantic.

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