Inaugural Mississippi Makers’ Challenge winner announced after more than 130,000 votes cast

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A different kind of bracket challenge drawing in more than 130,000 votes to find the Coolest Thing Made in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Manufacturers Association is hopeful the Makers’ Challenge will shine a spotlight on what’s being produced right here in the Magnolia State.

The winner is Taylor Power Systems’ TM 1000 that’s made in Clinton. It’s a container-based portable generator

“The original concept of the product was for disaster relief... hurricanes, freezes... power goes out in a strategic area or certainly in a geographic area,” explained Lex Taylor, Chairman and CEO of the Taylor Group. “These units go in and help power hospitals, nursing homes, Costcos, Walmarts, whatever.”

They’re large - semi truck sized. But with a push toward more electric vehicles and equipment, there’s another use they expect for the relatively new product.

“There’s not enough infrastructure right now to charge a group of products in a construction site,” described Taylor. “Perfect for bringing on-site and charging the electric vehicles, the loaders, the excavators, the trucks, whatever, and keeping that project going.”

Among the final four was Cacklebee Farms in Forkville’s Twister and Bantam Fence tools. It’s something Rusty Rogers says was an invention born out of necessity for putting up, taking down and tightening T-post fences.

“I knew it had to be a better way. So I started experimenting with tubes and holes in my boots and all kinds and I came up with these looking for something else. This fell out. Bingo. The twister was born.”

And demand spurred McNeely Plastics to come up with a fully-recyclable, plastic pouch you may see at places like Whole Foods.

“With the desire to move more towards sustainable packaging,” said President of McNeely Plastics Greg McNeely. “You know, with a lot of innovation in design and engineering, we were able to accomplish that.”

The other final four product was The Atlas lantern from Legendary Lighting in Flowood. Those finalists are highlighted in the tweet below.

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