RALEIGH — The NC Chamber launched a statewide, public-driven online contest recently seeking the “Coolest Thing Made in NC” to celebrate North Carolina’s cutting-edge manufacturing industry, which generates more than 18% of the gross state product and employs more than 10% of the state’s workforce.

The chamber recognizes that a strong manufacturing industry is central to the state’s economic and competitive success. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. will serve as Presenting Sponsor of the new competition, which organizers expect to become an annual tradition. The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership is also collaborating on this initiative as a Supporting Organization.

“When our lives were brought to a near standstill by COVID-19, manufacturers heroically and swiftly pivoted to produce the personal protective equipment needed by front-line workers, vulnerable populations, medical facilities, and countless businesses in every county,” NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido said in a news release.

To nominate any product made in North Carolina (company’s headquarters do not have to be in-state) visit coolestthingmadeinnc.com. The nominating period closes on Aug. 21, then the public will go to the site to vote on the “Coolest Thing Made in NC.”

The field of candidates will narrow with each round of voting, with the winning product being announced Oct. 2, National Manufacturing Day, via Facebook Live.

October is Manufacturing Month, and MFG Day, organized nationally by the National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute, highlights the career opportunities of modern manufacturing.

Join the contest’s social media campaign by following #CoolestThingMadeinNC. In addition to receiving a trophy, the winning company will be featured in various NC Chamber publications and promoted across its communications channels and statewide publicity efforts.