News & Insights

We’re changing the narrative of the manufacturing industry one story at a time. CMTA’s award-winning storytelling team showcases California’s 30,000 manufacturers by uplifting the voices of our makers. Find industry news and the stories from those “Making California” below. 

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Press Release

CMTA Unveils Inaugural Coolest Thing Made in California Awards Contest

Aug 21, 2023

Celebrating Innovation, Excellence, and Creativity in California’s Robust Manufacturing Industry


Sacramento, Calif.The California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) is proud to unveil its groundbreaking awards contest in search of the Coolest Thing Made in California. This exciting first-of-its-kind competition for California is set to showcase the finest innovations, exceptional craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technologies the Golden State offers.

The Coolest Thing Made in California awards contest is a unique opportunity for manufacturers throughout the state to highlight their most remarkable and inventive products. With a diverse range of industries and businesses that call California home, from aerospace and electronics to food and beverages, this contest will undoubtedly uncover a wealth of extraordinary creations that showcase the state’s innovative spirit.

“We are thrilled to bring forth the first-ever Coolest Thing Made in California awards, an event that truly exemplifies the remarkable accomplishments of our state’s manufacturers,” said Lance Hastings, CEO & President of CMTA. “California has always been at the forefront of innovation, and this contest serves as a testament to the unparalleled creativity and excellence that define our manufacturing community. We look forward to finding the coolest things made in our backyards.”

This year’s schedule is as follows:

Nominations Open: Aug. 21 – 31

Anyone, including manufacturers, local and state leaders, and the public, are encouraged to submit their nominations for what they believe to be the “Coolest Thing Made in California.” This initial stage is crucial in identifying the groundbreaking products that exemplify the essence of innovation.

Popular Vote: Sept. 4 – Sept. 8

Once nominations are closed, the public gets the chance to weigh in. During this period, the nominated products will be open to a popular vote, giving voters a voice in determining which creations resonate the most with them.

Top 16 Vote: Sept. 11 – 14

The top 16 vote-getters from the popular vote phase will advance to the bracketed contest rounds. This is where the competition intensifies as the products go head-to-head in a series of elimination rounds.

Top 8 Vote: Sept. 18 to 21

The top 8 vote-getters from the previous bracket will advance.

Top 4 Vote: Sept. 25 to 28

The top 4 vote-getters from the previous bracket will advance. Only one product will be named the Coolest Thing Made in California.

Winner Announced: Oct. 6

The grand finale of the Coolest Thing Made in California awards contest is set to take place on Oct. 6 at CMTA’s inaugural MakingCA Conference on National Manufacturing Day. The prestigious winner will be revealed during this event, celebrating the ingenuity of California’s manufacturing sector and the incredible products contributing to the state’s reputation as a hub of innovation.

As the clock ticks down to the event, manufacturers, industry professionals, and the public are all invited to join in this celebration of innovation. The Coolest Thing Made in California awards contest promises to shine a spotlight on exceptional products and inspire the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creators that will shape the future of manufacturing in the state.

For more information, updates and to participate in the contest, please visit



About CMTA:
The California Manufacturers & Technology Association has advocated for pro-growth laws and regulations before the California legislature and administrative agencies since 1918. The total output from manufacturing in California is $300 billion per year, roughly 10 percent of the total economic output of the state. Manufacturers employ 1.3 million Californians paying wages more than $25,000 higher than other non-farm employers in the state. For more information, visit the CMTA website.

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