The F-16 Fighting Falcon, one of the world’s most iconic fighter jets, has earned the title of Coolest Thing Made in South Carolina after a two-month contest that yielded more than 220,000 votes.
The F-16, which is made by Lockheed Martin at its facility in Greenville, received the most votes in the final round of voting of the 2nd annual SC Manufacturing Madness contest, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
“South Carolina is one of the most patriotic states in the nation and is proud to be the ‘Global Home of the F-16’,” said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a prime example of the world-class products we make in South Carolina. This year’s Manufacturing Madness contest featured hundreds of innovative and diverse products made every day by our talented workforce. Congratulations to Lockheed Martin and their 1,400 associates who proudly make the Coolest Thing Made in SC.”
Lockheed Martin began operations in Greenville in 1984 and employs approximately 1,400 associates (40% are veterans) at its South Carolina facility, the “Global Home of the F-16.” The Fighting Falcon is revered as one of the most versatile, maneuverable, and effective combat aircraft ever made that brings a new level of capability to the air forces around the world. The economic impact of the Lockheed Martin facility in Greenville averages $100 million annually, and the company supports numerous philanthropic initiatives that help strengthen the quality of life in the community including STEM education, military and veteran causes, and community resiliency.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster congratulated officials from Lockheed Martin during an event announcing the winner at the Statehouse today and said the following:
“South Carolina has built a global reputation as a manufacturing state where companies can make innovative products and be successful. The impact this industry has through what it makes, the communities it supports and helps grow, truly makes South Carolina a better place to live. We’re proud of the thousands of manufacturing companies who call the Palmetto State home.”
The competition’s other three finalists include Side-by-Side Vehicles made by American Honda Motor Co., Inc. South Carolina Manufacturing in Timmonsville, the Electrolux/Frigidaire Single-Door Refrigerator and Freezer made by Electrolux Home Products Inc. in Anderson, and the 7HA.03 Gas Turbine made by GE Gas Power, part of GE Vernova in Greenville.
These four products advanced to the final round after an initial field of 246 products were nominated. The top 16 vote-getters from the list of nominations advanced to the Manufacturing Madness bracket. From there, weekly voting trimmed the field in half until voters selected the winner from the final group of four.
All nominations and votes were cast at the contest website — scmanufacturingmadness.com — set up by the SC Manufacturers Alliance. Nucor Steel Berkeley won the inaugural Manufacturing Madness: The Coolest Thing Made in SC contest in 2022.
South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance
The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to strengthen and advance South Carolina manufacturing by advocating for our members, fostering a world-class workforce, and bringing together manufacturers to connect, share, and solve industry challenges. The SCMA membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 100,000 associates in South Carolina.
James A. Richter
Director of Workforce Development & Member Relations
South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance
1340 Bull Street | Columbia, SC 29201
(O) 803.799.9695 (C) 803.528.1288