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

| Manufacturing

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 Truck Cleveland, NC
2nd Place: HondaJet Elite S Greensboro, NC
3rd Place: Cat® 938M Wheel Loader Clayton, NC
4th Place: George’s BBQ Sauce Nashville, NC
5th Place: Flucelvax Influenza Vaccine by Seqirus Holly 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

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.