St. Charles Company’s Product Named One of ‘Coolest’ Made in Illinois
Officials from Bison Gear and Engineering Corp. always knew that the company’s waterproof pool cover gear motor was a pretty cool product.
And apparently, the public thinks so too. The product was recently named one of the 16 Coolest Products Made in Illinois in the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s Makers Madness contest.
“We’ve made progress,” said Andy Kuester, vice president of marketing and sales for the St. Charles Company. “Last year we narrowly missed the 16 finals, and we did that this year. So that’s good.”
This is the third year of the contest. On April 27, the coolest thing made in Illinois will be named.
More than 400 products were submitted to this year’s competition. Bison is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year in Saint-Charles.
“Manufacturing has always played a vital role in Illinois’ economy, and this competition is a celebration of the innovation and ingenuity that sets our industry apart,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO. of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “It’s also a reminder of the importance of investing in American manufacturing, as the pandemic has created global supply disruptions that could be minimized by ensuring production stays here at home. We also celebrate the amazing women and men who make these great products.”
Fittingly, Bison’s slogan is: “We make your products work”.
“Whatever your product is, we kind of give it the power to make it move,” Kuester said. “With the pandemic and everything and everyone trying to turn their backyard into an oasis and a haven, if you will, we’ve only seen a huge spike in growth from this market. This market is growing from around 40% per year.”
He thinks one of the reasons the product received so many votes and was named one of the 16 Coolest Products Made in Illinois is because people can relate to it.
“They understand that it’s associated with a residential pool or a commercial pool, that sort of thing,” Kuester said. “While maybe some of the entries didn’t have that kind of connection.”
According to the product description, the waterproof pool cover gear motor was originally designed for electric pool covers. Kuester explained the benefits of the product.
“You think of a pool cover, and it could be there for a whole host of reasons,” he said. “That could be there from an energy point of view. By covering the pool, you’re not using as much energy to heat the pool, especially in various climates. And there’s also a huge safety aspect.
“Most of the customers that we sell our motors to for this application, their pool covers are such that you can literally walk a dog or a child or an adult on the pool cover without falling off and risking drowning or something. like that. And then instead of having a manual operation where someone has to manually deploy it, what our product does is basically provide power to it. So by literally flipping the switch, they can open or close their pool covers.