From Kansas - To The Stars

Made in Kansas

New program touts the manufacturing prowess of the Sunflower State.

by Ron Starner

From the Boeing 737 to Mars candy bars, products manufactured in Kansas are popular the world over.
In fact, they’re so popular that the Kansas Department of Commerce recently launched a Made in Kansas incentive program to tout the products made in the state.

Paul Hughes, deputy secretary for business development for the Kansas DOC, says the goal of the new program is to “let the world know what’s made in Kansas. As products move around the country and the world, we want consumers to know that many of the items they’re purchasing come from our state.”

Kansas-based manufacturing companies are invited to apply for the program and participate in it. Qualifying companies are eligible to receive incentives from the DOC.
“It is part of a national program for manufacturers,” says Hughes. “We are confident that many of our companies will want to learn more about it. We are still adding to the program.”

“When you get on an airplane in this country, the odds are high that you are traveling in an aircraft made with parts produced in Kansas.”
— Jan Kessinger, Manager of Special Projects, Kansas Department of Commerce

The program runs the gamut of all major industries in Kansas, from aerospace and food and beverage processing to machinery, motor vehicles and parts, and nonmetallic mineral products. Benefits of participation, according to the DOC, include an elite designation featuring a unique Made in Kansas seal; promotion of the company’s products through digital and social media efforts of DOC; and various networking opportunities made available to members through the DOC and the Made in Kansas program.

To be eligible for the Made in Kansas program, a business must have at least 50% of its products’ components produced in Kansas; all final assembly must take place in Kansas; and the production must use a manufacturing process. The Kansas DOC is solely responsible for considering and approving the applications to the program. There is no charge to a company for membership and participation.

While the program is just now getting off the ground, Kansas is already known as a hotbed of manufacturing. Among the more well-known products coming from the state are Boeing aircraft, Mars candies, Smokey Bros Smoked Hot Sauce, Schlaegel’s Homegrown Popcorn, Lost Trail Root Beer, Cobalt Boats, LaCrosse Furniture, Holmes Made Salsa, Cedar Street Toffee, Grannie’s Homemade Mustard and Oz Clocks.

Jan Kessinger, special projects manager for the Kansas Department of Commerce, says the program is similar to what is currently being offered in states such as Georgia and Texas. “A construction company in Kansas wanted to start one here a few years ago to boost Kansas manufacturers, but it never gained traction,” says Kessinger. “Once we have 50 to 100 partners, we believe it will really start to take off.”

He adds that, “when you get on an airplane in this country, the odds are high that you are traveling in an aircraft made with parts produced in Kansas. We want to change the perception of company executives in other states and help them see that we are not just a bunch of food growers in Kansas. We make goods used the world over. We also plan to use this program to promote our geographically central location, which is very ideal from a transportation standpoint for getting raw materials in and manufactured products out.” 

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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