Coolest Thing Made In Kansas Announces Coolest Innovation Winner

The Kansas Manufacturing Council (KMC) on Thursday announced the CoolView Aircraft Window built by Lee Aerospace in Wichita is the winner of the 2022 Coolest Thing Made In Kansas – Coolest Innovation .
“The KMC is excited to celebrate the CoolView Aircraft Window as the 2022 Coolest Innovation,” said KMC Executive Director Brandie McPherson. “Our panel of judges had a very difficult job in narrowing it down from the 40 products nominated to just one.”
Presented by FORVIS, the KMC added this new contest category this year to highlight the many ways Kansas manufacturers research and develop new products and work to improve products to address crucial challenges.
The contest began with 40 nominated products. 17 moved on to the first round of judging by completing a questionnaire detailing their innovations. A panel of judges reviewed the questionnaire and then ranked the products for their innovative solutions, narrowing the competition to the final four:
  • Apex Stages, Apex Stages, a division of Progressive Products, Pittsburg
  • CoolView Technology, Lee Aerospace, Wichita
  • Spiral Chute, Stevenson Company, Topeka
  • T-Blocks, Ronawk, Olathe


During the final round, the four companies made presentations about their innovations. The judges choose the winning product based on a criteria that includes its impact on the challenge it solves as well as the impact it has on the business, its employees, and customers.

“The team is honored to be choose the 2022 Coolest Innovation. As the industry leader in the manufacturing of aircraft composite production parts and tooling, being innovative is an important part of our company’s culture,” said Lee Aerospace President Jim Lee.

The winner of the 2022 Coolest Thing Made in Kansas – Coolest Innovation was announced during the KMC’s Kansas Manufacturing Summit held at the Kansas Casino and Event Center in Mulvane.
There are more than 2,500 manufacturers in Kansas, employing 157,000 people with an average annual compensation of $74,541. Manufacturing produces more than $27 billion in output annually, 15.55% of the total output in the state. Manufacturing helps drive the state’s economy with more than $8.26 billion in annual manufactured good exports to markets such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, and Germany.
(L to R) Brandie McPherson, KMC; Joe Pennington, Stevenson Company; Jeff Broomhead, Lee Aerospace; Jeff Hess, APEX Stages; Aidyn Medina-Lopez, Ronawk; and Jennifer Wold, FORVIS.

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