2024 Nominees

Celebrating 150 years of business in 2024, Link-Belt Cranes designs, manufactures, and builds the largest hydraulic crane in North America and does so in Lexington, Kentucky.

The 300-ton (250-mt) 300|AT all-terrain crane from Link-Belt Cranes is a five axle all-terrain crane built with transportability in mind meeting all North American transportation requirements. Its single engine platform is HVO fuel ready and EPA On-Highway and CARB On-Road compliant. A single 554 hp (407 kW) Cummins X15 diesel engine with ZF Traxon automated manual transmission delivers best-in-class power on the 300|AT.

The 300|AT is well equipped with a seven section 46 – 238 ft. (13 – 72.5 m) pin and latch greaseless formed boom and optional two-piece 42-71 ft. (12.8 – 21.6 m) on-board hydraulically offset fly and two 25 ft. (7.6 m) lattice extensions. Maximum attachment will achieve a tip height of 369 ft. (112 m) and an efficient modular counterweight configuration adds to the 300|AT’s versatility.

The Bullard AboveView™ Elevate hard hat is a must-have for workers who climb, work at heights, or anyone who needs a more effective means of securing their hard hat to their head.
This hard hat boasts a patented see-through front brim that increases the upper peripheral view by over 50%, allowing users to see hazards above and reduce strain on their necks when having to look up. The wide brim has added environmental protection with UV ray inhibitors to withstand the most challenging work sites.
The Bullard three-rib shell comes equipped with accessory slots for various attachments, and the FlexGen™ suspension allows for smooth size adjustments for the perfect fit.

The AboveView™ Elevate meets the ANSI Z89.1 Type I Class E & G & CSA Type 1 Class E & G standards, and all hats are third-party tested and certified by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI).

Trust me; the AboveView™ Elevate hard hat is the perfect choice for your safety needs.

Airheads and Airheads Xtremes candy, born and made in Northern Kentucky by Perfetti Van Melle, continues to be enjoyed by generations of consumers across the United States.  Airheads have more fun! 

In the early 1900s, as he boarded a train at the Winchester Train Depot, founder G.L. Wainscott became intrigued by a carbonated machine on the train and decided he should enter the soft drink industry.

Ale-8 was first sampled at the 1926 Clark County Fair, where a slogan contest was held. “A Late One” was the winning entry. Wainscott’s first plant was on North Main Street in Winchester, KY. Amidst the growing popularity of Ale-8-One, Wainscott moved the facility to Ale-8’s current home in 1966. To this day, our 4th generation family owner prepares the Ale-8-One secret formula using Wainscott’s handwritten notes and our own specialty blended ginger.

The BioAssemblyBot (BAB) is Kentucky’s groundbreaking contribution to the frontier of biotechnology and robotics. Designed and manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky, this robot, empowered by advanced artificial intelligence, revolutionizes the field of tissue engineering and biomedical research with its precision and versatility. BAB is a vital tool for researchers pushing the boundaries of medical science, even teaching her to 3D bioprint human organs, a testament to Kentucky’s pioneering spirit. From 3D bioprinting and lab automation to drug discovery, medical device fabrication, and much more, BAB is more than just a thing; she’s a beacon of hope.

Handcrafted by Kentucky’s finest engineers and innovators, BAB not only embodies our state’s rich tradition of craftsmanship and ingenuity but also our commitment to advancing human health and well-being. BAB’s development represents a significant leap forward in medical technology, positioning Kentucky as a leader in the global biotech industry. She’s not just made in Kentucky; she’s Kentucky’s gift to the world, making BAB a deserving nominee for the Coolest Thing Made in KY.

The Blue Monday is our most famous product. It got its name when Ruth Hunt was having dinner with a traveling minister in the early 1930’s. She had created the candy bar but didn’t have a name for it yet. The minister mentioned that after a long and hard Sunday of preaching, he always needed a little sweet for his “Blue Monday.” “That’s it,” Ruth Hunt thought, “I will name my new candy bar the Blue Monday Sweet Bar. This bar is made with Kentucky pulled cream candy and dipped in rich dark chocolate. The Kentucky pulled cream candy is a traditional Kentucky candy. It is made with cream, butter, vanilla, and sugar.

Years ago, everyone’s grandmother made cream candy in the cold winter months. They all had a little piece of marble, which they put outside to get very cold. Then, they boiled the candy to 240 degrees and poured it on the marble slab to cool. When it was cool enough to touch, it was pulled by hand. At some point, the company bought an old taffy puller and pulled it on the machine. Then, it is cut into bite-sized pieces and sits for a few hours where the candy magically changes from a taffy-like consistency to a smooth, soft, buttery candy.

Since 2016, Bourbon Bonbons, LLC has produced hand-crafted spirits-based confections using high-quality bourbons and ingredients. They offer product direct to consumers and wholesale to distilleries, hotels, retailers and others. Custom private labeling is a significant portion of this growing business.

Bourbon Bonbons began as a retirement business, and has grown into a small kentucky-based manufacturing business, requiring a recent move into a new commercial kitchen, in Lexington.

The toughest jobs in the world, demand the toughest boot brush in the world.

Brushinator is the toughest boot brush on the market, made by certified welders from American-made 12 gauge steel. The powder-coated frames help resist scratching, chipping, and other wear. 

The Brushinator utilizes real northern hardwood brush blocks and crimped, flare cut, composite molded, polypropylene side brushes adding more angles to help scrub, scrape, and clean better than “straight cut” bristles like the inferior products. 

Designed for versatility, with pre-drilled mounting and available in floor or hitch models, Brushinator is the epitome of durability and efficiency.

Safran Landing Systems invented the first carbon brake, introduced into service in 1985. The properties of carbon are very interesting for operators, both in terms of performance and endurance, and even respect for the environment.

The lifetime of a carbon brake is two to three times greater than that of a steel brake. The material is lighter and reduces the laden weight of the aircraft, lowering its fuel consumption in flight and subsequently its CO2 emissions.

The quantity of CO2 not released during flight thanks to the light weight of our carbon brakes is ten times more than the quantity generated during the brake manufacture process. This represents several hundred tons of CO2 not released into the atmosphere every year.

Maintenance free antique replica concrete log siding to be used on new construction or as a replacement siding.

Dippin’ Dots, the original beaded ice cream, has been creating fun and making since we invented the concept over 35 years ago. Dippin’ Dots is an iconic fan favorite at events and entertainment venues across the U.S., available in ice cream, ice (non-dairy), and frozen yogurt, offering best-selling flavors like Cookies ‘n Cream made with Oreo®, new ICEE® Cherry ‘n Blue Razz, plus legendary favorites like Banana Split and Rainbow Ice.

Made in beautiful western Kentucky, Dippin’ Dots products are manufactured and distributed throughout the U.S. and around the globe – including countries like China, Australia, and Canada.

The Ford Super Duty truck built at the Kentucky Truck Plant, the world’s largest truck plant located in Louisville, Kentucky, was awarded the 2024 NACTOY (North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle) Truck of the Year. Juror Jack R. Nerad (America on the Road Radio/JDPower.com/TrueCar.com/USNews.com) noted, “The Ford Super Duty retains its leadership in the heavy-duty pickup truck category with its impressive towing, payload, torque, and horsepower figures. Its four engine choices are highlighted by the new standard 6.8-liter gasoline V8 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. And the big Super Duty is remarkably comfortable and easy to drive.”

The Super Duty is part of Ford’s acclaimed F-Series, which has been America’s best-selling truck for 47 years.

Made in our Fordsville, KY facility, Frill, the epitome of modern elegance, offers a versatile collection of tables designed to complement one another in a cohesive ensemble or to stand independently as a statement of pride. Crafted in a trio of sizes and a selection of sophisticated metal base hues, Frill represents the harmonious blend of form and function. Its elongated, intricately designed turned base is the hallmark of Frill, distinguishing it as a remarkable work of art. 

The inception of Frill can be traced back to an inspirational moment in a Chicago bronze foundry, where designer Elliot Eakin’s eye was caught by the sculptural beauty of antique bellows. Though no longer in operation, their structural form and mechanical purpose resonated with him. The bellows’ elegant neck shaped the design of Frill’s table base, while the pleated back influenced the decorative fluting that encircles it. The tabletop itself is a nod to the dynamic burst of air released from the bellows, a gesture to the energy of life’s unseen forces. Eakin sought to encapsulate this elemental motion through the artful segmentation and orientation of the wood’s natural grain. Kimball International’s skilled artisans have masterfully realized Eakin’s vision, bringing to life a design that not only tells a story but also embodies the spirit of innovation within our crafted product. 

Corning® Gorilla® Glass has been a key player in the smartphone world from the very beginning. Incredibly tough Gorilla Glass enables today’s sleekest smartphone designs, while providing damage resistance to the scratches, bumps, and drops from everyday use. 

Today, Gorilla Glass has been designed into more than 8 billion devices by more than 45 major brands. With nearly half a billion global consumers yet to transition to smartphones, Gorilla Glass will continue to solve tough consumer challenges and meet the needs of current and future smartphone users. 

Stinger Equipment builds the Lawn Care Professional’s favorite Ride-on Aerator. Featuring a patented hydrostatic drive for maximum performance and durability. Internationally known and proudly built in Buckner, KY. 

HempWood®, proudly made in Murray, KY, turns hemp fibers into durable flooring, and other products, through a patented process using organic, soy-based bonding agents. By utilizing fast-growing hemp and a carbon-negative manufacturing process, HempWood Organic Flooring is the most sustainable flooring product on the market. We’re proud to be Kentucky-grown, owned, and operated. 

 Our flooring goes from seed to floor within 150 days and is 20% harder than American White Oak (Janka Hardness: 2,200 lbf). It’s the only carbon-negative, no-VOC hardwood flooring made in America. Our Organic Flooring is offered in two options: Site-finished and our Custom Color Collection. The Custom Color Collection is ready for installation with Bona® coatings and is offered in 5 colors: Ice, Natural, Bourbon, Taupe, and Granite. 

 The engineered format offers ease of installation, multiple subfloor applications, and the ability to be refinished up to four times. The flooring is also CARB 2 and TSCA VI Compliant and has a Class 1 fire rating. Through our patented process and adhesives, we are able to offer an organic flooring product strong enough to handle daily foot traffic—all without emitting VOCs into the atmosphere. The zero VOCs has shown to improve indoor air quality leading to higher cognitive ability at our installs in Warren County Public Schools, Murray State University, and University of Kentucky as well as our corporate partner installs including Toyota, Target, Nike, Chipotle, BMW, and many more. 

 The entire purpose of HempWood is to do something positive that benefits the world, its people, and their environment. Our vision is to create a brighter future for our planet and stimulate American manufacturing by introducing sustainable building materials with a negative carbon footprint. 

Honey Buns are fully fried oval shaped products that consist of yeast raised dough sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with a translucent glaze or string icing. Some of these products are filled with raspberry jelly or custard-type cream with chocolate string icing topping.

Kingsford has been producing charcoal briquettes in KY since 1957. We make a product that creates quality family time…cooking around the grill and eating together! More than one million tons of wood scraps are converted into quality charcoal briquettes every year. Our production is also very environmentally friendly. 

Klosterman Bakery has been making this delicious bread for over 100 years. This bread is a family favorite of many generations from a far and today family. This bread is made with love, just like the love that it shares across many families’ tables when enjoying the taste of love.

Louisville Slugger® is in its 140th year. Synonymous with baseball, it has icon status in American culture. It’s been the most significant brand in baseball equipment since Bud Hillerich made the first custom bat in 1884. Baseball’s greatest hitters have made it their bat of choice; Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ken Griffey, Jr., and Derek Jeter to name a few. Today’s stars like Ronald Acuña Jr., Cody Bellinger, and Kyle Schwarber use the Kentucky made bats.  

Louisville Slugger doesn’t just make baseball bats. It makes baseball history.  

Maker’s Mark changed the way we think of bourbon, all because one man changed the way he thought about making it. Bill Samuels, Sr., simply wanted a whisky he would enjoy drinking. Never bitter or sharp, made with soft red winter wheat, for a one-of-a-kind, full-flavored bourbon that’s easy to drink. 

While Bill developed the bourbon, his wife Margie Samuels ideated the name, Maker’s Mark. She also designed the label and bottle shape, plus hand-dipping each bottle in the brand’s signature red wax. Together, Margie and Bill created an iconic Kentucky brand. 

Founded in the family basement in 1939, Zoeller Pump Company is one of the oldest family-owned water pump manufacturers in North America. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, we proudly excel with fourth-generation leadership and an expanding workforce. Over the past seven decades, Zoeller Pump Company has established itself as a dependable leader in the wastewater industry. Through continuous research and development, we are always improving our products and processes to provide the highest possible quality to our loyal customers and end users. This dependability is backed by a family commitment to add value for our customers and provide genuine support before, during, and after a sale. 

The fully automatic Model M53 is designed to remove unwanted groundwater in basement sump applications. The professional-grade, 3/10 HP M53 is the industry standard when it comes to primary sump pumps. Known as the “Mighty-Mate” M53, it is a fully automatic float-operated sump pump. The white polypropylene float is solid so it cannot become waterlogged. This ensures that it is always buoyant and able to turn the pump on when necessary. The Model 53’s switch case, motor housing, and pump housing are each constructed of cast iron. The corrosion resistant engineered plastic vortex impeller has a smooth surface allowing water and solids to pass freely through the pump. The pump’s identification tag, float guard, handle, switch arm, and hardware are made of non-corrodible stainless steel. This attention to detail ensures that the Model 53 is able to withstand the most demanding basement sump applications. Every pump is submerged in water and tested to its published performance curve, ensuring it meets your expectations and delivers peace of mind right-out-of-the-box. 

FibroTex USA Inc. is the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’ signature management Ultra-Lightweight Camouflage Net System Increment 1 (ULCANS INC1) program of record that has a full suite of capabilities for today’s and tomorrow’s threats. From cutting-edge personal Noa ponchos to the world’s only multispectral do-it-yourself field-expedient Sophia system, all FibroTex USA’s capabilities are 2D-reversible and modular, providing all-weather concealment from ultraviolet and visual, through near-infrared, short-wavelength infrared and thermal mitigation (both middle and long wave). These systems combat against multispectral sensor threats, enemy targeting and surveillance assets, while the Ultra-Lightweight Camouflage Net System Increment 1 (ULCANS INC1) has unique radar-scattering capabilities in use by units in the field today. 

Prior to 1870, Bourbon was sold in bulk by the barrel, and after it left the warehouse, there was no control over its quality. Unscrupulous vendors would increase profits by cutting whiskey with water, turpentine, and other agents. The complaints of doctors about the quality of medicinal whisky convinced George Garvin Brown that there was a need to bottle and guarantee quality bourbon.  

In 1870 Brown introduced Old Forester, the first Bourbon Whisky brand to be exclusively sold by the bottle. This innovative practice was initiated to ensure the quality of the bourbon in every bottle, a practice that was embraced by the rest of the industry some 20 years later. He included his guarantee of quality on every label of his Old Forester brand.  

To craft a Bourbon of consistent quality, Brown blended together barrels of Old Forester taken from different days of production, matured in different rickhouses, and on different floors within those rickhouses. This practice has become the standard across the industry. 

George Garvin Brown was born in Munfordville, Kentucky on September 2, 1846. This Vintage release of Old Forester has been selected to honor the birthday of this Bourbon pioneer, innovator, and industry leader. It is released on his birthday and all the barrels blended together come from a single day of production so it will have a unique flavor profile as a result. Once the annual Vintage has been bottled its unique character will never be replicated again. 

Old Forester – crafted in Kentucky, at a real distillery, with a rye recipe richer than that of the “big name” brands –offers a legacy of quality and great taste that no other bourbon can match! Its bold recipe develops a big zesty, spicy character.  

Today, Old Forester, the bourbon that set the standard for quality in 1870, is still crafted and bottled in Louisville under the control of Brown’s descendants. It is the oldest continually marketed and family-controlled Bourbon brand in the USA. 

Oscarware’s 16”x12” Porcelain Coated Grill Topper has been made in Bonnieville, Kentucky since 1989 and it is still a favorite BBQ accessory among the company’s international grilling community. This backyard invention by Reg and Debra Dudley changed outdoor cooking by helping people expand their grilling menu to include fish, shrimp, and other seafood to vegetables and more. It keeps food from falling through the grates and your grill clean. Made of heavy-duty steel applied with a signature porcelain coating that is extremely durable, scratch resistant, and heat resistant up to grill temps of 1,000oF, it’s so hot it’s cool.   

The Outrunner Spiral is a conveyor used in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industry. This product was pivotal during the baby formula shortage of 2022-23, ensuring infant’s nutritional needs were met. An emergency facility was granted and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Our participation in this project required direct communication with White House officials. This project was rapidly produced in a 6-week timeline, which included 4 complete spirals and is now operating in the first infant formula plant built in the last 25 years in the United States. 

Purpose-built to provide maximum airflow in even the toughest conditions, Powerfoil® X4 raises the bar on comfort, safety, and quality for industrial fans. Featuring a full-fan IP56 rating for use in harsh environments, a redesigned airfoil system, and diameter options ranging from 12 to 30 feet, the best-selling big fan in the world is now even better. 

We exist to help people make their mark in the world.

Writing a note that could make someone’s day. Teaching kids things they’ll never forget. Helping people brainstorm world-changing ideas. Streamlining the process of closing the big deal. No matter how big or how small, Post-it®Brand is here to help everyone have their own unique impact.

Our new products, Post-it® 100% Recycled Paper Super StickyNotes, feature the Post-it® Super Sticky Notes you know and lovewith 2X the sticking power. Also, these notes come in a recyclable paperboard carton.

First-of-its-Kind Hood Features 320 Degrees of Uninterrupted Viewing 

Bullard, with a 125-year history of manufacturing high-quality personal protective equipment, recently launched Sightline, a new respirator hood for the life sciences industry. Sightline is a first-of-its-kind hood, with 320 degrees of uninterrupted viewing, designed with the wearer in mind. 

Compatible with Bullard’s EVA and EVAHL-powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR), Sightline offers wearers 320o of uninterrupted viewing through a large, seamless, wrap-around lens. The suspension-less full hood, which is assembled and hand-sewn in Cynthiana, KY, USA, and is constructed using Dupont Tychem 2000 material, also features an innovative, over-the-top airflow channel that is delivered through the top and sides of the hood. For some workers, this airflow channel can help to reduce dry eyes and foggy lenses. 

Additionally, Sightline’s design simplifies the donning and doffing process, making it possible for the wearer to don and doff the hood unassisted. The hood’s interior bib includes only one attachment clip that is centered and high in the front, which the wearer can easily attach to coveralls, keeping the hood secure. The ergonomic, contoured cut of both the inner and the outer bib eliminates unnecessary bulk and bunching and allows for easier tucking into outer garments. The bib length allows for easy tucking in the front and back. 

Understanding the importance of fit, the Bullard team designed Sightline to fit a wide range of head and body sizes and shapes. The hood can be worn comfortably by both men and women, with room to accommodate facial hair, ponytails, and other hair styles. 

“At Bullard, our mission is to protect workers, so they can work productively and go home safely. We focus on providing our customers tools that are safe, comfortable, and easy to use,” said Wells Bullard, President and CEO of Bullard. “Our team engaged directly with respiratory hood wearers in the life sciences industry to understand the unique challenges they face and worked tirelessly to develop an innovative hood to better serve and protect them. With Sightline, we’re thrilled to bring life sciences workers an exceptional respiratory hood – one that helps keep them safe and delivers true peace of mind, enabling them to work productively and comfortably for the length of their workday.” 

Sightline’s roomy interior, which includes a soft, blue, premium sport knit material around the wearer’s neck, provides the ultimate comfort, while simultaneously reducing glare under florescent lights and increasing airflow capability. The structured hood has been designed to rest on the wearer’s shoulders – instead of the neck – allowing for a comfortable fit for all-day use. A drawstring cuff provides wearers with a custom fit. 

Sightline is offered with Bullard’s flexible breathing hose, which lays flat against the back. This new hose enables enhanced mobility making it easier and safer for staff to move about the lab or manufacturing suite without snag hazards. 

Bullard’s EVA and EVAHL PAPRs with the Sightline hood system are NIOSH approved and third-party tested with an Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 1,000. 

Having been in business for 69 years “The Steeple People” …PLUS is the oldest and largest steeple manufacturer in the US. All our products are handmade by craftsmen from beginning to end in Campbellsville, KY. We pioneered manufacturing the aluminum steeple and are in the Guinness World Book of Records for the world’s largest prefabricated steeple. Over 20,500 customers in all 50 United States, Canada, Mexico, and many other foreign countries enjoy the beauty and elegance of products from Campbellsville Industries. Chances are you’ve seen a Campbellsville product without realizing it!

Introducing “The Mag Stand” – revolutionize your shooting experience! Dominate the competition with this ergonomic marvel that holds any gun magazine style, ensuring lightning-fast reloads. Elevate your skills at competitions as you save precious seconds and load with unparalleled speed. Designed for efficiency, “The Mag Stand” guarantees a seamless reloading process, giving you the edge you need. Maximize your shooting potential and stay ahead of the game. Don’t settle for anything less – invest in “The Mag Stand” and reload like never before. Precision, speed, and victory – all in one sleek device. Upgrade your performance today! 

Building upon greatness, the Toyota Camry enters its ninth generation with a fresh new look, enhanced performance, and a Hybrid powertrain, all assembled by the highly skilled team members at Toyota Kentucky in Georgetown. The new Camry masterfully amplifies everything drivers love about the current best-selling sedan in the U.S., with more power, striking good looks, feature packed convenience, and capable handling. 

The Bullard TXS is Better Under Fire. An intuitive tool packed in just 1.6 pounds (incl. battery), the Bullard TXS is essential for every department. TXS was designed for ease-of-use with its one-button operation, ergonomic design, and convenient size. TXS gives you the vital information you need, without weighing you down. The Bullard TXS Thermal Imager is your high deployment solution when budget, quality, and performance are essential. 

UST-LW traditional fire helmet is constructed from tough Thermoglass material using a thermoset fire-retardant resin. A proprietary U-Fit headband system with 36 different adjustment settings and machine-washable comfort padding makes this one of the most comfortable fire helmets ever.
UST-LW is so light, you may forget you’re wearing it! Engineered Bullard Tough – for firefighters, by firefighters.