2021 Winner

2021 Winner:

Western Star 49X Vocational Truck

2022 Nominees Announced August 25!

2021 Winner

Western Star 49X Vocational Truck is the “Coolest Thing Made in NC”

Cleveland, N.C., manufacturer wins 2021 statewide competition

Today, the NC Chamber revealed this year’s “Coolest Thing Made in NC” champion: Western Star 49X Vocational Truck, manufactured in Cleveland, N.C. Presented by Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., the online contest began with 68 nominees, and after three rounds of public voting totaling 41,700 votes, the Western Star truck drove to the top spot, earning 2,725 votes in the final round. Business North Carolina served as Media Partner, and the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) collaborated as a Supporting Organization.

The NC Chamber launched the competition, now an annual tradition, in 2020 to honor North Carolina’s manufacturers and raise awareness about the rewarding careers in modern manufacturing. As the exclusive state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the NC Chamber knows that a strong manufacturing sector is central to North Carolina’s economic and competitive success. The state’s innovative manufacturing industry is the largest workforce in the Southeast with more than 459,000 North Carolinians employed by 10,250 NC manufacturers.

Final Placements:

Western Star 49X Vocational TruckCleveland, NC
2nd Place: HondaJet Elite SGreensboro, NC
3rd Place: Cat® 938M Wheel LoaderClayton, NC
4th Place: George’s BBQ SauceNashville, NC
5th Place: Flucelvax Influenza Vaccine by SeqirusHolly Springs, NC

“Thanks to the NC Chamber and Old Dominion for their support of the Coolest Thing Made in NC,” said Erik Johnson, plant manager, Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant, Daimler Trucks North America. “We’re incredibly proud of the products we build, including the Western Star 49X, and we’re prouder still of our workforce in the state helping to build those trucks with precision, with quality, and with dedication. We appreciate the recognition provided by this valuable program and look forward to next year’s contest.”

In addition to receiving a trophy, the Western Star 49X Vocational Truck will be featured in NC Chamber and Business North Carolina publications, podcasts, social and digital media, among additional statewide publicity efforts.

“Congratulations to the Western Star 49X Vocational Truck for winning the ‘Coolest Thing Made in NC’ 2021 title,” said NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido. “Today, on MFG Day, we would like to thank our entire manufacturing community for protecting lives and livelihoods across our state, our country, and our world. From producing lifesaving vaccines and testing kits, to making the personal protective equipment for our health care heroes and creating new jobs every day, our manufacturers are vital to the health of our people and our economy.”

MFG Day, organized nationally by the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, champions the next generation of creators, and kicks off a campaign to change perceptions of manufacturing, highlight the exciting careers in modern manufacturing, and close the widening skills gap. MFG Day coincides with North Carolina’s Manufacturing Week.

“Congratulations to Western Star for being named the Coolest Thing Made in North Carolina and to all of the nominees of this year’s contest,” said Greg Plemmons, Senior Vice President – Sales, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. “Promoting North Carolina goods and services is a benefit to all residents, so Old Dominion is proud to partner with the NC Chamber in a creative way to showcase the many cool things made in our state.”

About the NC Chamber

The NC Chamber works to research, develop, advocate, and communicate for solutions and policies that produce a nationally competitive business climate in North Carolina. For more information, visit ncchamber.com.

About Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. is one of the largest North American less-than-truckload (“LTL”) motor carriers and provides regional, inter-regional and national LTL services through a single integrated, union-free organization. Our service offerings, which include expedited transportation, are provided through an expansive network of service centers located throughout the continental United States. The Company also maintains strategic alliances with other carriers to provide LTL services throughout North America. In addition to its core LTL services, the Company offers a range of value-added services including container drayage, truckload brokerage and supply chain consulting.

Congrats to the 2021 Nominees

*Designates a 2021 Top 5 Finalist

Additive America’s Custom Headgear
Anchor Coffee’s Small Batch Coffee
Appalachia Cookie Co. Cookies
Ardagh Mason Jars
Artisan Leaf Tables and Bartops
Armacell ArmaFlex Ultra
Baxter Healthcare IV Bags
Benevolence Farms Healing Salve
Big Delicious Brand Carolina Sausage Dip
Bosch SideOpen Door Wall Oven
Butterfields Candy Peach Buds
Bright Leaf Hotdogs
Cape Fear Specialty Foods Rum Cake
Carolina Treet
Cat® 938M Wheel Loader*
Cormetech Meteor SCR Catalyst
Cree Wolfspeed Silicon Carbide Technology
DSM Dyneema
Duck Tape by Shurtape
FloLogic Smart Leak Detection Auto Shutoff System
Flucelvax Influenza Vaccine by Seqirus
GE Aviation Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)
George’s BBQ Sauce*
Gulo Composites New Gravel Adventure Wheel-set: GGA-SL
Haand Dinnerware
HondaJet Elite S*
House-Autry Chicken Breader Mix
HURST Jaws of Life
Jack Coobs Custom Guitars
Jarrett Bay Boats Custom Sportfish Boats
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Midland Farms’ Citrus Sunshine Goat’s Milk Soap
Moog Matriarch Synthesizer
Mt. Olive Kosher Dill Spears
The NASCAR Air Titan 2.0
NovaFlex Hoses
Nugget Kids Couch
Old Saratoga Inc’s 5.2 Gallon Bag in Box Water
Power Curber 5700-D Curb & Gutter Machine
Queen Charlotte’s Original Pimiento Cheese
RAW Plastic Planter Pot
Red Oak Beer
Revi Technical Wear Cooler Cowboy Sock
Rifled Air School Bus Air Conditioners
Ripe Revival Gummies
Sap & Bark’s Ikari
Shibumi Shade
Simple Kneads Gluten-Free Bread
Renewable Natural Gas powered by Smithfield Hogs 
Southern Supreme Nutty Fruitcake
Stoney Mountain Farm Eco-Friendly Wool Dryer Balls
Sylvan Sport Go Camper
TekTone Nurse Call Systems
Cheesecake Factory Bakery Cheesecakes
Old 97 Kettlecorn
Toter Trash Cans
Texas Pete Hot Sauce
Two Roosters Ice Cream
USU Company Ivy Rose Candle
Videri Sea Salt Chocolate
Vivid Metal Prints Dye Sublimated Metal Prints
von Drehle Transcend Dispensing System
Western Star 49X Vocational Truck
Wool Novelty Company Weaving Loops