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2023 “Coolest Thing Made in NC” Winners Named

| Manufacturing

C.R. Onsrud and Fjord Inc. win statewide competition;
a total of 45,116 votes were cast throughout course of competition

RALEIGH, N.C. – Today, the day before National Manufacturing Day (#MFGDay23), the NC Chamber revealed the winners for this year’s ‘Coolest Thing Made in NC’ competition: C.R. Onsrud’s Q-Series 5-Axis CNC Machine (medium-to-large business category) and Static Rope Edge Protectors (STREP) by Fjord Inc. (small business category).

C.R. Onsrud’s Q-Series 5-Axis CNC Machine
Static Rope Edge Protectors (STREP) by Fjord Inc.

The contest recognizes two winners: one for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and one for businesses with 100+ employees. C.R. Onsrud’s product is manufactured in Troutman while Fjord Inc.’s is manufactured in Burlington.

The online contest began with 130 nominees and after three rounds of public voting totaling 45,116 votes, C.R. Onsrud’s Q-Series 5-Axis CNC Machine and Static Rope Edge Protectors (STREP) by Fjord Inc. earned the top spots, with 4,730 and 3,262 votes respectively.

Now an annual tradition, the NC Chamber launched the competition 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 approximately 475,000 North Carolinians employed by state manufacturers.

2023 “The Coolest Thing Made in NC” Finalists (in place order):

Medium-to-Large Business Category
Place Finalist Manufacturing Location
Winner C.R. Onsrud’s Q-Series 5-Axis CNC Machine Troutman
2nd place Nucor Steel Plate Cofield
3rd place Flucelvax Quadrivalent by CSL Seqirus Holly Springs
4th Place HondaJet Elite II Greensboro
5th Place Corning Optical Fiber and Cable Wilmington, Concord, Hickory, Newton, and Winston-Salem


Small Business Category
Place Finalist Manufacturing Location
Winner Static Rope Edge Protectors (STREP) by Fjord Inc. Burlington
2nd place Piedmont Pennies Charlotte
3rd place Atlantic Beach Sea Salt Atlantic Beach
4th Place SilverQuicken Education’s Quest Club Kits Chapel Hill
5th Place MacLellan Bagpipes Zebulon

“Congratulations to C.R. Onsrud and Fjord Inc. for winning the 2023 ‘Coolest Thing Made in NC’ title,” said NC Chamber President and CEO Gary Salamido. “Tomorrow is National Manufacturing Day, and we would like to thank our entire manufacturing community for developing important and lifesaving products for our state, country, and world. Our manufacturers are vital to both 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.

Baxter is serving as the Presenting Sponsor of the online competition, and Business North Carolina is this year’s Media Partner.

Join the contest’s social media campaign by following #CoolestThingMadeinNC. In addition to receiving a trophy, this year’s winning products will be featured in NC Chamber and Business North Carolina publications, podcasts, social and digital media, among additional statewide publicity efforts. Information on last year’s winner and runners-up can be found here.


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