DEinternational Representatives

Gerrit Ahlers, Director, Consulting & Corporate Development Services

Gerrit leads GACC Midwest’s Consulting & Corporate Development Services team for entry, strategy, growth, and business transformation for companies, particularly European mid-caps, for the US market. He also possesses a deep expertise in food manufacturing, advanced machinery, and packaging industries. His work ranges from corporate market entry strategy, M&A, market research, and site selection to growth strategy, business partner search, and cultural differences. Besides advising enterprises with their global expansion, Gerrit facilitates knowledge exchange and networking by connecting professionals and companies in the same industry or area of interest. Prior to joining the GACC Midwest, Gerrit held a leading role in establishing the US presence for a mid-sized German consulting agency, where he was responsible for the US operations and serving clients across a diverse set of sectors including: capital equipment, automotive, and confectionery industries. Beyond his direct client work, Gerrit has previous experience working for a German city marketing firm and holds additional international experience across Europe, Australia and North America.  
Gerrit holds the equivalent of an MBA with a specialization in Brand Management, Sustainability, and Strategic Management from the University of Bremen.

Focus: Market Research, Business Partner Research, Site Selection, Mergers & Acquisitions
Tel.: +1 (312) 585-8345

Corinna Jess, Director, Consulting Services & Trade Missions

Corinna Jess is the Director of Consulting Services & Trade Missions. Each year, she and her team organize over 20 trade missions, delegations, and other market entry-related events. These trade missions and delegations expand bilateral trade and investment between Germany and the U.S., especially the Midwest. Corinna has ample experience in advising companies on their market entry strategy, in addition to connecting people and businesses for know-how exchange and network building. Her focus areas include the energy and power sector, as well as agricultural and food industry topics. Prior to joining GACC Midwest in 2010, Corinna spent three years working in marketing and sales at a large German food manufacturer, as well as one year at an intellectual property and technology firm in the U.K. Corinna holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

Focus: Bio, Solar, Wind, and Agriculture Projects
Tel.: +1 (312) 665-0976

Justin Flaxbart, Senior Manager, Recruiting Services

Justin Flaxbart was active in GACC Midwest’s Consulting Services department from 2006-2008 and returned to the organization in June 2011. He currently leads the Recruiting Services program, which specializes in connecting experienced, often bilingual professionals with companies in German-American business. Justin has served as a recruiting partner across a wide range of industries such as automotive, machinery and automation, logistics and food production. Beyond supporting German-based client companies to attract suitable talent for their open positions, Justin helps them to navigate intercultural differences and advises them on general employment matters in the US market. Justin holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business and German from St. Louis University and a Master of Arts in European Studies from the University of British Columbia. He previously worked as an Executive Recruiter focusing on the renewable energy and capital equipment industries and earlier in his career taught Business English at a German university. In addition to managing full-cycle recruiting assignments for both internal openings and external clients, Justin also supports ongoing projects in the Consulting Department such as trade missions and market research.

Focus: Recruiting Services
Tel.: +1 (312) 644-3369

Nadine Schieban, Senior Manager, Market Entry Programs, Delegations & Events

Nadine has been with GACC Midwest since February 2012. After graduating with a degree in Business Administration and Non-Profit Management and practical experiences in various consulting companies, Nadine worked for 5 years as a senior manager for marketing and events at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin. She was responsible for the worldwide planning and execution of marketing activities for the promotion of the German ICT, Logistics, Food & Beverage, as well as the Consumer Goods and Business Services industries, in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment to Germany. As a senior manager at GACC Midwest, Nadine organizes political and economic trade missions, market entry programs, business trips and market entry-related events to support German companies with their US market entry and expansion in the fields of machinery, automotive, lightweight, Industry 4.0, health IT, water and water infrastructure. With her experience, she also compiles market studies on various topics including market opportunities and market entry strategies for German companies, in addition to arranging individual B2B meetings for the delegates.

Focus: Political and Economic Trade Missions, Market Research, Business Partner Search, Market Entry USA, Events
Tel.: +1 (312) 494-2180

Jessica Ferklass, Manager, Consulting Services

Jessica joined GACC Midwest in July 2014. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from the University of Tübingen in Germany. During her studies, she worked for several small and medium-sized companies in Germany with focuses on machinery and domestic appliance technology. Prior to her joining GACC Midwest, she lived and studied in Germany, on the west coast of the United States, and in Italy. At GACC Midwest Jessica consults with German companies on their market entry strategy and organizes transatlantic cluster programs. Her industry expertise includes sectors such as retail, medical technology, and manufacturing technology.

Focus: Market Entry USA, Market Research, Business Partner Search, intercultural Training, Site Selection, University Programs, Mergers & Acquisition
Tel.: +1 (312) 585-8344

Svenja Schroeder, Manager, Market Entry Programs, Delegations & Events

Svenja Schroeder joined GACC Midwest in August 2014. As a member of the consulting team, Ms. Schroeder works on a variety of government projects in the machinery, food, energy efficiency and transportation industries. As part of her work, Ms. Schroeder also organizes conferences and networking receptions during trade missions and trade shows. For example, in the past Ms. Schroeder organized the Energy Efficiency Award Challenge, Innovation Seminars and International Night Reception on the occasion of Automechanika. Prior to joining the GACC Midwest, Ms. Schroeder received her Bachelor’s in International Business and Hispanic Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University. She grew up in Hamburg, Germany, then moved to Chicago, IL during High School and completed her studies in the United States.

Focus: Market Entry USA, Market Research, Business Partner Search, Delegations & Events
Tel.: +1 (312) 561-9791

Bettina Hannemann, Manager, Recruitment & Consulting Services

Bettina joined GACC Midwest in March 2015 and focuses on recruiting local talent for German companies establishing their presence in the US. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University and a Master of Science in Human Resources Development from Villanova University. Prior to joining GACC Midwest, Bettina gained experience in strategic and operational HR in Germany, Australia and the US.

Focus: Recruiting Services
Tel.: +1 (312) 644-0980

Markus Wirth, Consultant, Consulting Services, Michigan Office

Markus joined GACC Midwest in March 2017. As a Consultant at the Michigan office, Markus works on a variety of projects, including business development and strategy, market research, business partner search, and market entry services. Due to Michigan’s primary industries, his focus is on automotive and machinery, as well as projects within the water industry. Prior to joining the GACC Midwest’s consulting team, Markus worked for more than 10 years in German small and medium-sized businesses. Most of this time he was active in the role of a Business Development Manager. He holds a degree in Trade and Commerce and a second in International Business.

Focus: Market Entry USA, Market Research, Business Partner Search, Virtual Offices
Tel.: +1 (248) 432-0532

Matthew Cunliffe, Consultant, Consulting Services

Matthew joined GACC Midwest in October of 2018 as a Consultant in the Chicago office. Drawing on his previous experience advising European firms locating to the Midwest, Matthew’s work with the Consulting Services team focuses on working one-on-one with German companies in the areas of market research, business development, and business partner searches to conceptualize and implement sound market entry strategies. Prior to joining the GACC Midwest, Matthew held a leading role with the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Midwest where he designed and implemented strategies to develop a US market presence for Scandinavian firms, specifically in tech and alcoholic beverages. Additionally, he has previous experience building and leading the business development department of a multi-national interior architecture firm where he developed successful lead generation and outreach strategies for the East Coast and Midwest regions. Matthew holds his MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and his BA in European Union Studies from Lake Forest College.

Focus: Market Entry USA, Market Research, Business Partner Search
Tel.: +1 (312) 377-6131

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