ChamberBrief 2015: December Edition

Dear Members and Friends,

Now is the time to look back and reflect on a very successful and busy year for GACC Midwest. 2015 marks the first year of Mark Tomkins as new President & CEO, and we also welcomed our new Vice President Werner Ott to the team. We look forward to see the Chamber grow under this new leadership in 2016.

Another new introduction was our Smart Factory Industry Forum and our first nationwide GACC Awards Gala. We were pleased that the premiere of this event was so well-received  and can ensure you that we are already working on some new event highlights for you in 2016.

Regarding our Skills Initiative, we got to celebrate a true milestone in August: the Official Inauguration Ceremony of our ICATT program that welcomed the very first cohort of apprentices. With a growing Skills team at GACC Midwest, the best is yet to come, and we are confident to say that 2016 will see a further push for apprenticeship opportunities in the Midwest.

2015 would not be complete without our Annual German American Business Outlook. Presented at Thomson Reuters at Times Square New York, we are pleased to share this year's results, once again confirmed the strength of German-American business:

  • 97% of German companies expect growth in 2016
  • 87% reported the same or much better sales volumes in 2015
  • 42% more German companies plan to expand manufacturing capabilities over the prior year, indicating German companies' confidence in long-term growth in the US

Truly encouraging results for all German-American companies in the Midwest and beyond!

With 2016 right around the corner, please mark your calendars for our new Luncheon Series Event as well as the Midwest SME Forum on March 16. Furthermore don't forget about Hannover Messe 2016 and the German American Business Forum in Frankfurt on June 16. In the meantime, set your business up for success with our White Paper Library!

As the year comes to an end, we would like to thank you for yet another year of great collaboration and loyalty. On this note, we also welcome our new members and National Partners who joined in the last quarter of 2015! Happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year to all of you. We look forward to working together in 2016.

All the best,

Your GACC Midwest Team





Services Spotlight

Energy Efficiency Programs

German American Cultural Corner

Join us at HANNOVER MESSE 2016, April 25-29

Congratulations to the 24 economic development organizations, some with 2 or more booths, and 3 FDI service providers, who will officially join the US Investment Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016! There is little space left, and booth assignments have started, so it’s important to get the contracts in as soon as possible. The US Investment Pavilion is open to EDOs as well as other organizations involved in promoting and assisting FDI, such as law, accounting, marketing, and consulting firms as well as trade associations. Information on the opportunities with Partner Country USA and Hannover Messe is available online with more information here.

Also, the sponsorship levels for the US Investment Pavilion are now set. Please see the US Investment Pavilion Sponsorship Flyer. In addition to these promotion opportunities in the US Investment Pavilion, there are other opportunities throughout the fairgrounds, shown in the Outdoor Advertising Catalogue.

To learn more about Hannover Messe 2016 and your opportunities, make sure to visit our Investment, Trade & Export Road Show in Kansas City, MO on December 7, 2015. More information regarding this event can be found on our website, or read our GAT article about Hannover Messe here.


The jumbotrons at Times Square in New York City made a big impression on our guests - almost as much as the results of our German American Business Outlook 2016:

  • 97%  of German companies expect positive revenue growth for their own business in 2016.
  • 42%  more German companies plan to expand manufacturing capabilities over the prior year, indicating German companies’ confidence in long-term growth in the US.

After introductory remarks by the GACC Vice-Chairman Caroll H. Neubauer, the German Ambassador to the US, Peter Wittig, took the stage for an inspiring keynote about the state of German-American business relations, focusing on the promising future of TTIP and the need for continued cooperation between the US and Germany on the topic of skills.

Again, skills proved to be a key finding in the 2016 GABO, as presented by Marc Winterhoff, Senior Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. With the continued growth of German business in the US, the survey found that while companies plan on hiring, they are still facing problems when it comes to finding skilled employees.

This was also confirmed by the subsequent industry panel. Moderated by Thomson Reuters’ Rob Cox, our panel featured Peter Hoecklin, President & CEO, Trumpf, Inc. | Barbara Lang, Chief Financial Officer, MAN Diesel & Turbo North America Inc. | Dr. Walter Maisel, President & CEO, KOSTAL North America | Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President & CEO AGCO Corp. and Chairman, German American Chambers of Commerce of the USA as well as Chairman of GACC South. While our panelists, coming from a wide variety of industries and company sizes, look favorably at the US as a business location regarding the country’s business friendliness, the proximity to the customer base and the relative market stability, finding qualified employees remains one of the top challenges. The GACC network will continue to address this issue to support growth and job creation for the German and American markets through their numerous skills initiatives in cooperation with our companies.

Click here for the Official Press Release, the Executive Summary and the GABO 2016 Brochure.

GABO 2016: Trainee of the Year Award

With Skills and training being key topics for the German-American business community, the GACC introduced the GACC Award in 2012. For the fourth time this year, we presented the award, recognizing outstanding German subsidiaries that demonstrate excellence in workforce training by fostering advanced skills and competence development, especially in young people. GACCs Vice-Chairman and Chairman of GACC Midwest W. David Braun presented the GACC Award 2015 to A.J. Sherman, an apprentice in the four-year Mechatronics Technician apprenticeship program at STIHL Inc. in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Only the highest caliber, most qualified candidates make it through the tough selection process at STIHL – just 4-5 applicants out of every 300 plus that apply every year are offered a spot. At STIHL, A.J. works in various departments under the supervision of experienced journey man Mechatronics Technicians and Engineers to help design, build, up-grade and improve STIHL’s manufacturing operations and equipment. 

Review: Berufsbildungskonferenz DIHK Berlin

Skills Director Mario Kratsch spoke at the Berufsbildungskonferenz (Conference for vocational training) at the DIHK Berlin. The conference included meetings on several topics as well as the "Steuerungsgruppe Berufsbildungsexport". The group takes care of setting the worldwide standards when it comes to AHKs being involved in German style dual training. This way, the AHK network ensures that companies can rely on the same quality provided by AHKs whether in the US, Mexico, China or any other country. Experts in dual vocational training from different IHKs and AHKs got together to learn more about the following topics:  How do you organize a final PAL examination for apprentices? How do you build a new apprenticeship program? Questions about the local adaption of training regulations and curricula were also discussed. The overall goal of these discussions is to come up with ideas and best practices as to how IHKs, AHKs and DIHK can solve training challenges for companies around the world.

SAVE THE DATE: Midwest SME Forum & Annual Member Meeting

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Chicagoland Area

With almost 1,400 German businesses operating in the Midwest, the region represents an attractive investment location, particular for transatlantic business. Our Midwest SME Forum aims to provide a platform that connects business partners, allows to gain insights on economic as well as industry trends and further exchange of ideas and opinions between peers. Make sure to attend this member event and use your chance to meet with respective companies engaged in cross-order business. The all-day conference features keynotes, panel discussions as well as workshops and networking opportunities. Stay tuned for our event agenda and contact Kirsten Schmandt for further information.

The German American Chambers of Commerce, in cooperation with the Frankfurt am Main Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organize the 3rd German-American Business Forum on June 16th, 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany. The event targets German companies that are seeking to establish business relationships within the US, and focuses on consulting, discussions, as well as workshops addressing practical questions about doing business in the USA. The business forum provides an exclusive platform to network and exchange ideas with some of the highest-ranking representatives of German companies in the US. With over 300 guests from a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, automotive, as well as financial services, we anticipate an impressive turnout for this event.

For more information, please visit our website or contact Nadine Schieban.


GACC White Paper Library

Our White Paper Library is growing fast and provides valuable information for all German-American businesses. White Papers are easy & effective in two ways:


  • Read them! Research shows that they help you stay on top of new trends and get reliable information.
  • Publish them! White Papers create confidence in a brand, help customers compare products & services, and influence buying decisions. Use your chance to increase your visibility and keep your services and products on the radar of your target audience!


To publish a White Paper yourself, get in touch with us

Take a look at recently uploaded papers:

NEW: Subsidiary Directory 2015/2016

Our Annual Subsidiary Directory presents the ultimate resource for those looking to do business with German-American companies. The newest 2015/2016 Subsidiary Directory contains addresses and company information for approximately 3,500 headquarters and branches throughout the US. as well as contact information for each corresponding parent company in Germany. You can purchase the Print Directory now in our Webshop or access to our Online Database.

Services Spotlight

Career Services: GACC Talent Network

2015 was an outstanding year for GACC Midwest’s Career Services program: We welcomed a new team member, Bettina Hannemann, who worked closely with Justin Flaxbart to support the successful placement of over a dozen professionals at our client companies. We had the opportunity to work with many longstanding valued Member companies from our network as well as several German-based companies just entering the local market to find their very first US employees. We also supported several clients through the nascent Joint Success - Expat Partner Services in their search for employment. Perhaps most exciting was the rollout of our GACC Talent Network to replace the former JobXChange database. This new IT platform features enhanced capabilities for matching active and passive jobseekers to open positions as well as new social media tie-ins, which will allow us to better serve our clients and be in more frequent contact with talented professionals about new career opportunities. Adding your profile to the GACC Talent Network is easy, free, and confidential. To learn more, please visit our website

GACC Midwest Energy Efficiency Programs

GACC Midwest is happy to be organizing a delegation consisting of currently seven German companies involved in facilitating energy efficiency for industrial manufacturing to Michigan from February 22-26, 2016. If your company offers energy efficient innovations and technologies, you are more than welcome to be part of the delegation! We have still one spot available. As part of the program, we will host a Business Conference on Tuesday, February 23, 2013 in Metro Detroit, MI where the German company representatives will present their products and innovative solutions. Attending German and US industry and policy experts can discuss energy efficient innovations in technology that German manufacturers use to stay competitive, as well as about current energy efficiency opportunities and programs in Michigan. The delegation participants will also meet local companies to discuss potential partnerships during 1-on-1 meetings. To join the delegation, learn more about the conference, set up a meeting with one of the delegation companies or for more information, please contact Nadine Schieban.


German American Cultural Corner

Who creates the city? Who shapes its future? The exhibition by Goethe-Institut and its local partners that runs until January 3rd, 2016 seeks answers for these questions. Visit their website for more information.

Read all about Hannover Messe 2016! Want to be on cover of our next issue? Sign up now and gain nationwide exposure! You can find the online edition of the most current issue of the GAT here

Mark your calendar for our 2016 events!

  • Luncheon Series - 2/2016 [tbd] - Schaumburg, IL
  • Midwest SME Forum - 3/16/2016 - Chicago Suburbs, tbd

Visit our website for more information on our events.

Job Openings

We are looking to fill the following positions:

  • Sales Manager (Industrial Components)
  • Sales Manager (Architectural Products)
  • Purchasing and Logistics Agent
  • Office Manager
  • Executive Assistant
  • Business Development Manager (Automotive)

For more information on these openings, contact Justin Flaxbart.

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