ChamberBrief 2015: August Edition

Dear Members and Friends,

Our Chamber just recently celebrated a milestone – the official launch of our Skills program ICATT! The opening ceremony was held at Harper College in Palatine, IL, the educational partner of our program. We were pleased to see our participating companies, as well as the apprentices, their families, and officials from IMA and the Department of Employment Security at the inauguration ceremony. Congratulations to our pioneering apprentices and companies!

And the next significant event is coming up quickly: Our GACC Awards Gala & Smart Factory Industry Forum on October 9 is approaching and we are excited to see our excellent lineup of speakers at our Forum grow and our tables at the Gala filling up. Use your opportunity of targeted exposure at our Gala and look into sponsorship options today!

We are also starting our preparations for the 2015 Midwest Report. Our annual signature publication offers great opportunities to showcase your company, services, investments, and innovations to a vast audience of executives and stakeholders in the US and Germany. Our 2015 Edition will focus on the topic "Invest in the Future,' with key topics such as Smart Factory/Industrie 4.0, Skilled Workforce, Corporate Social Responsibility as well as Innovation and new Investments in the Midwest. Explore your options today!


Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest Team


GACC Awards Gala & Smart Factory Industry Forum

Event Reviews

Midwest Report 2015

Upcoming Events

Staff & Services Spotlight

GACC Midwest Delegation Programs

GACC Awards Gala & Smart Factory Industry Forum

Make sure you don't miss out on our biggest event of the year - and nationwide exposure! Our GACC Awards Gala combines the favorite aspects of both our popular Merlin Gala and the Executive Wine Dinner - awarding excellence in German-American business, great food and wine, as well as dancing and networking! Take a look at our various sponsorship packages and customized opportunities and attend this Member favorite!

Join us at our exciting event location, the DMDII, on October 9!

Today more than ever, being connected throughout the entire manufacturing process is key for optimized performance. Industrie 4.0 or the Smart Factory is a way for companies to turn their technological expertise into a qualitative advantage in the rapidly evolving world of manufacturing. On October 9, our Smart Factory Industry Forum will delve into an in depth, content focused discussion of what the Smart Factory means. The speakers will elaborate on its growing strategic importance, as well as the opportunities and challenges embedded devices, analytics, computation, and the Cloud have for manufacturers of all sizes. Join us to learn more about this fundamental transformation on October 9!

HANNOVER MESSE 2016, April 25-29

Contracts for the US Investment Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016 are now available, and we’re already getting some great feedback from EDOs. We’re thrilled that the Midwest will be so well represented at this landmark event. It’s important to get the contracts in soon, as booth assignments will start in October and early registrants will get special consideration. More information on this opportunity is available online. Interested in export promotion? Contact Hannover Fairs USA!


ICATT Inauguration Ceremony | Palatine, IL

The first cohort of apprentices of the 3-year long program came together with their participating companies last Friday to celebrate the official inauguration of the program. As pointed out by speaker Jim Nelson, Vice President of the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association, the ICATT program demonstrates that there are other options than the traditional college-path for young people. Nelson referred to apprenticeships as one of the most comprehensive ways of training. Furthermore, he stressed that ICATT is taking the apprenticeship model one step further by tying it to an associate’s degree, which will continue to open doors for the apprentices' careers. John Waters, Director of Special Programs at the Illinois Department of Employment Security, highlighted the unique chance for apprentices and their opportunity to grow and develop within the program. Adding to this, Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, Chairwoman of the Board of WITTENSTEIN Holding, Inc. highlighted her firm's great experience with apprentice programs and pointed out that ICATT is especially valuable for SMEs, which wouldn’t be able to create a program like this on their own.

This first cohort of apprentices and their companies exemplify a pioneering spirit, and we are excited to see ICATT’s growth over the next few years - especially with American companies showing more and more interest in our program. Take a look at our Press Release for further information on the ICATT launch. Contact our Skills team today, if you are interested in our program.

GACC Midwest Chairman W. David Braun handing over a certificate to Andrew Splett, apprentice at Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc.

The first ICATT Cohort together with the team from Harper College (left), Dr. Kenneth Ender (President, Harper College, center, holding certificate), GACC Midwest Chairman W. David Braun (back), and Skills Director Mario Kratsch (far right)

2015 TAP-YTL: Disruptive Digital & the Internet of Things | Germany

Credits: Michael Lengel

We just got back from our very last TAP-YTL delegation trip. The final program on the topic of “Disruptive Digital & the Internet of Things (IoT)” provided an outstanding end to over a decade of successful TAP-YTL programs. 12 delegates from all over the United States visited Munich and Berlin to participate in a variety of meetings with leading research institutions, startups, accelerators, and associations in the fields of disruptive technologies and the IoT, such as Bosch Software Innovations, Berlin Partner, Senic, Plug & Play Accelerator Axel Springer, and the German Startups Association. The delegation trip also offered an insightful intercultural training experience, and participants had the opportunity to interact with rising stars of the German startup community. Several of our delegates have already been inspired to collaborate with our German partners on future projects. For further information on our program, please visit our website.

American & German farmers discussed nutrient management practices and soil conservation strategies in Saxony-Anhalt, Lower Saxony and Brandenburg from August 17 – 21, 2015 within the scope of GACC Midwest’s initiative “Transatlantic Dialogue- Agricultural Perspectives”. This 2-year initiative is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy through the European Recovery Program. For the first topic “Soil Health and Nutrient Management”, GACC Midwest partnered with the Farm Bureaus in Illinois and Iowa. Each sent 10 farmers that are leaders in their community. A reception at the U.S. Embassy and a policy meeting at the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture in Berlin provided an opportunity to discuss agricultural trade with regard to TTIP and impacts for farmers on both sides of the Atlantic. The trip also made an appearance in German media.

Invest in the Future

GACC Midwest Report 2015

We are happy to announce we are now accepting submissions for our upcoming GACC Midwest Report. The 2015 edition will focus on the topic:  


Showcase your region and reach a vast audience of experts, customers, businesses, stakeholders, and investors in the US and Germany!

Our key topics of this year's report will be:

  • Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0
  • Skilled Workforce, Education and Training
  • Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability
  • Innovative Products, Services and Business Models
  • New Investments in the Midwest

If you would like to learn more about our report and your opportunities for exposure, please contact Jasmin Welter.


The new interactive map of our online Subsidiary Directory shows both Chicago and Detroit as the two largest clusters in the US with respect to the number of German subsidiaries. This highlights the fact that the Midwest is a very attractive investment location for German companies. Learn more about our Site Selection Services in this regard. Our Online Subsidiary Directory lists over 3,700 headquarters and branch offices nationwide. Get your access today! Please also look for our printed directory mailing in the next week and update your complimentary information in this Who is Who of German-American business!


GACC Midwest in Germany | 9/8-18

Virginia Attaway Rounds, our Director of Consulting Services, will be in Germany September 8 - 18. In addition to giving intercultural training at a German company, she will be advising several other companies on their market-entry strategy, presenting on the US market and sales channels at various IHKs, and meeting with partners about potential events for 2016. At the end of her visit she’ll be meeting up with Dieter Lehnert, Manager, Michigan Office, at the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) in Frankfurt. Dieter will be in Germany September 13-19, meeting with current and potential consulting clients.

On the occasion of WEFTEC taking place in Chicago, GACC Midwest will host the 2nd International Night Reception on Monday, September 28, 2015 to bring together industry professionals from the German, U.S., and global water sector. Register today!

It may be summer in Chicago, but now is the time to start planning your 2015 holiday party! Have your next event at the Christkindlmarket Chicago. Our Festival Tent, alluringly adorned with holiday decorations, is a wonderful place to host a gathering of 25-100 clients, colleagues, family, or friends. Fill your night with delectable dishes, delicious drinks, and a lively atmosphere. Let our experienced event staff work with you to create a festive customized event and a delicious traditional German menu. To begin planning your reception contact Alexandra Lindner (312-644-9033) or find out more on our website. And be sure to keep watching for how you can be a part of our exclusive Christkindlmarket Chicago 20th Anniversary preview celebration on November 19th! Contact us with any questions!

Staff & Services Spotlight

Jessica Ferklass, Consultant

Jessica works in our Consulting Department and has been with GACC Midwest since July 2014. In her position as Consultant she is responsible for market entry advisory and university programs, but her work furthermore includes market research and business development. Her most recent project was our Transatlantic Program for Young Technology Leaders that focused on the topic of "Disruptive Digital and the Internet of Things" this year.

Jessica holds a Bachelor's degree in International Business Administration from the University of Tübingen, Germany. During her studies she worked for several Mittelstand companies that had a main focus on machinery and domestic appliance technology. Prior to her joining GACC Midwest she has lived and studied in Germany, on the West Coast of the US as well as in Italy. 

If you have any questions regarding market entry advisory, business partner search & market research, university programs, smart grid or the IoT, don't hesitate to get in touch with Jessica.

GACC Midwest Delegation Programs

We are underway with the preparations for a delegation of German smart grid technology leaders to visit Chicago during the week of September 14th. High-ranking representatives from our delegate firms will participate in a German American Smart Grid Business Symposium hosted on Tuesday, September 15th in downtown Chicago (open to the public), and conduct meetings with numerous potential US partners to explore opportunities for new collaboration. US market players active in the realm of smart grid are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn from expert speakers about the latest developments and trends in the German and US smart grid markets, explore partnerships opportunities with German companies, and network with industry peers. For more information about the Symposium, or to arrange a meeting with our delegate firms, please visit our program page or contact program manager Corinna Jess.

The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs invites US decision-makers from healthcare centers, hospitals, associations, public administrations and private companies on a business trip to Germany. Experience the latest technological innovations that will drive new approaches and revolutionize tomorrow’s medical world firsthand! The delegation trip to Germany includes a two-day visit to the MEDICA trade show, the world forum for medicine in Düsseldorf including meetings with German exhibitors at the trade show. A visit to the Global IT Summit in Nuremberg as well as a visit to the Medical Valley, one of the most economically powerful and scientifically active medical engineering clusters in the world, as well as appointments with several enterprises and manufacturers in the healthcare IT field will also be part of the trip. Participants will explore German state-of-the art solutions for all fields of Health IT. For further information, a detailed agenda of the program and registration, please visit our website.

German American Cultural Corner

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's German Chancellor Fellowship Program offers grants up to 50 German Chancellor Fellowships annually. The program is targeted at accomplished young professionals who are likely to become decision-makers, thought leaders, and influential voices in their respective fields. For more information on the program and how to apply, please visit their website.

Good news for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange: After the U.S. Department of State has cut funding for the CBYX program by 50% for the 2015-2016 program year, which put the future of the program in danger, the Department has now come to the decision to support the program to full extent again in 2016. Read up on it here [German only].

On August 28, DANK Haus again pairs German wine and fashion at "Vintage Deutsch," following a successful debut in 2014. "Vintage Deutsch" celebrates the intrigue of German wines and the breadth of quality German design. Guests will enjoy mingling with fashion and accessory designers, glass in hand in the gilded 5th floor Marunde Ballroom. Click here for more information.

GISC – German International School Chicago – opened its doors to the new school year this week.  New Director Christoph Abt welcomed the almost 100 students in the Pre-K through 5th grades. GISC is an independent, not-for-profit, dual-language school. GISC is a Provisional Member of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), is recognized as a DSD-School by the German ZfA (Central Agency for Schools Abroad), and is an official PASCH Partner School. GISC is also a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. Visit their website to learn more! 

Mark your calendar for our upcoming events!

  • European Business Networking - 10/21/2015 - Chicago, IL
  • MI Chapter: HR Circle - 10/22/2015 - tbd, MI
  • CO Chapter: Membership Meeting - 10/23/2015 - tbd, CO
  • Christkindlmarket - 11/20 - 12/24/2015  - Chicago, IL
  • Christkindlmarket Oak Brook - 11/27 - 12/24/2015 - Oak Brook, IL
  • German American Business Outlook  [GABO] - 12/14/2015 - New York, NY

Visit our website for more information on our events.

Find the online edition here. If you would like to be on the cover of the next GAT, contact us today!

Interested in political, economic and legal developments in the US?

We encourage you to subscribe to RGIT's weekly German-language Newsletter „Washington News“. It reports on current political, economic and legal developments in the United States, that are relevant for transatlantic trade. If you are interested in subscribing please send an email to

Download our Sponsorship & Media Kit to explore valuable opportunities for your company! 

We're pleased to feature the first White Paper by our White Paper Library Sponsor Barnes & Thornburg on the topic United States Employment Laws.

Are you a thought leader in your industry and want to share your knowledge in our new white paper section? Contact Jasmin Welter to be part of our White Paper Library.

Job Openings

We are looking to fill the following positions:

  • International Sales Manager (Agricultural)
  • Business Development Manager (Automotive)
  • General Manager (Industrial Products)
  • Area Sales Manager

For more information on these openings, contact Justin Flaxbart.

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