ChamberBrief 2015: February Edition

Dear Members and Friends,

We had an exciting start to the year. It was our privilege to introduce the Ambassador of Germany to the United States, Dr. Peter Wittig, to a C-level audience of German-American business executives at our Economic Forum. Featured as a keynote speaker at the event, Ambassador Wittig provided a comprehensive overview of relevant issues to Germany and the US, such as Skills and TTIP. Our audience received insights into economic perspectives and industry trends for the year ahead from our expert panel.

At the Economic Forum it was also announced that Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President, and CEO of AGCO Corporation, has been named Chairman of the German American Chambers of Commerce of the U.S. (GACCs). The GACCs Vice Chairman are W. David Braun, Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP, and Chairman of GACC Midwest; and Caroll H. Neubauer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of B.Braun of America and B.Braun Medical Inc. and Chairman of GACC New York. Richenhagen's predecessor W. David Braun served as the first chairman of the GACCs for the past two years.

Things have certainly not slowed down after this signature event. GACC Midwest has been on the road, hosting the Farmer Roundtables in West Des Moines, IA, and Bloomington, IL, as part of our Transatlantic Dialogue Series. And February continues to be busy, with several interesting events coming up, such as the HR-Executive Circle, our trade show support at the WWETT, and our Knowledge Exchange on Tax Incentives. 

As another highlight, our Vice Chairman Dr. Walter Maisel and our Skills Initiative Director Mario Kratsch were be a part of the 2015 Winter Workforce Joint Symposium by the National Governors Association last week in Washington. 

Enjoy reading our February ChamberBrief and stay warm!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team

GACC Midwest Announcements

Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO of AGCO Corporation, was appointed as new Chairman of the GACCs. The joint board was established in 2013 to support German-American business relations even better, and to allow the GACCs to more effectively speak to the key issues affecting transatlantic trade and investment. Our GACC Midwest Chairman W. David Braun was the first GACCs Chairman, representing our nationwide network for the past 2 year term. Richenhagen currently also serves as the Chairman of GACC South. W. David Braun and Caroll H. Neubauer, Chairman and CEO of B. Braun Medical Inc. and Chairman of GACC NY, will serve as Vice Chairmen. 

GACC Midwest on the Road

We are also pleased to have our Vice Chairman Dr. Walter Maisel and our Skills Initiative Director Mario Kratsch be a part of the 2015 Winter Workforce Joint Symposium by the National Governors Association in Washington from February 20-22. The event includes a panel session, discussion, and reception focusing on the topic of “Creating and Scaling Work-based Learning Models for the U.S. Market” at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Ambassador of Germany to the United States, Peter Wittig, as well as Thomas Perez, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, will give the closing remarks at the evening program which will focus on deepening U.S. and German cooperation on apprenticeship.

For more information about our Skills Initiative & ICATT, please get in touch with our Skills Director Mario Kratsch.


GACC Midwest is traveling to WWETT, the largest trade show on Water & Wastewater Equipment as well as Treatment and Transport. In line with our GACC's Water Initiative we look forward to bringing our expertise to this event, connecting with you as well as gaining important insights on the topic. 

GACC Midwest has been active in the water sector since 2012, with our German American Water Technology Initiative always keeping up to latest trends in the industry. To learn more about our engagement in this sector, get informed here

We look forward to seeing and connecting with you at the WWETT! For more information on this event, click here.

On February 26 expert Ned Leiby, Director of Income and Franchise Taxes from Ryan, will be giving insights on "Strategies to Uncover Hidden Tax Incentives for Businesses." Featuring this topic makes this Knowledge Exchange is especially interesting for businesses that currently own real estate and/or businesses that are planning to expand their operations.

This event is free to our members! If you would like to register and learn more about this event, please click here.

Are you interested in hosting a Knowledge Exchange yourself? Please contact Kirsten Schmandt, our Events & Membership Coordinator, for more information.

The American health care system is undergoing some big changes right now, in which Health IT plays a major part. With our business initiation in this sector German businesses can take the chance to meet potential new business partners and industry experts and furthermore expand their business in the U.S. market. Learn more about this upcoming business initiation here.

Are you interested in entering and learning more about the German healthcare market? Join this webinar by GTAI and:
Learn about your business opportunities in Europe’s largest healthcare market. 
Explore the German hospital landscape and its structure. 
Get insights into purchasing processes and reimbursement procedures.

GACC Midwest Event Review

We were very pleased to see so many of our members at the Annual Economic Forum. This year, Dr. Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States, was our keynote speaker and guest of honor. Adolfo Laurenti, Chief International Economist at Mesirow Financial, presented his transatlantic business outlook for 2015, followed by an interesting discussion by a cross-industry panel. With speakers from CLAAS, Rational North America, Kalle USA and B. Braun of America and B. Braun Medical Inc., our panel proved to be one of the most engaging to date. Besides starting the year on a highly informative note, our executive audience used this opportunity for networking over lunch.

We would like to especially thank all our sponsors, as well as our speakers and attendees for joining us at the Economic Forum. Take a look at our photo gallery to get more impressions of our signature event.

On February 18 and 19, the first series of Farmer’s Roundtables took place in West De Moines, IA, and Bloomington, IL. Sponsored and hosted by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Illinois Farm Bureau, the roundtables provided over 150 farmers and other agribusiness professionals the opportunity to discuss agricultural practices related to soil health and nutrient management, as well as implications of the ongoing negotiations surrounding TTIP. The roundtables featured two expert speakers on soil health visiting from Germany, along with representatives from the German Embassy in DC, the German Consulate General in Chicago, and the Honorary German Consulate General in Indianola, Iowa.

These roundtables comprised the first events in the Transatlantic Dialogue—Agricultural Perspectives series, which will run between 2015 and 2017. The discussions started at these roundtables will be continued and expanded through a delegation of American agribusiness professionals, including representatives of the sponsoring Farm Bureaus, visiting Germany later this summer. Learn more

Automotive News: CAS and Automechanika

Sales figures of German car manufacturers in the U.S. have risen constantly over the last few years with an ongoing positive forecast. Although much of the German vehicle production is in the "German Triangle" of the Southeast, Daimler will be expanding to the Midwest with an agreement to manufacture R-class vehicles in Indiana. With so many successful German auto suppliers in the Midwest, we're happy to see a German OEM move assembly operations here as well. Overall there has been great expansion of German production activities within the USA in recent years. This seems to be a necessary step, given the popularity of German cars in the U.S. 2014 was a record year for all German manufacturers, who in total sold 14m new cars, one-fifth of which were manufactured in U.S. plants.

Last week, GACC Midwest attended the Chicago Auto Show 2015 to learn more about the latest consumer trends of the automotive industry. The booths from German manufacturers VW, BMW as well as Mercedes-Benz were extremely busy, and visitors seemed to be especially curious about the manufacturing process of the BMW i Series, which is made of carbon produced by BMW itself. 

Automechanika Chicago is fast approaching, and is the largest tradeshow for the automotive aftermarket and service industry, with a focus on high-end technical and management training and the newest tools, equipment, and products in the market. Make sure to join us and Messe Frankfurt for our International Night Reception on Saturday, April 25, 2015

For this edition of our HR-Executive Circle Mario Kratsch, our Director Skills Initiative, joined the discussion as an expert speaker. The event “Addressing the Skills Gap” revolved around the shortage of skilled technical workers, vocational training systems in the Midwest as well as inspiration and ideas that can be drawn from the German dual education systems. For more information about upcoming HR Circles, please send an email to Philip Kokott and include your name, company and job title. 

Staff & Services Spotlight

Dominique Lellek, Consultant

Focus: Virtual Offices, Marketing, Tradeshow Support, Market Entry Services

Dominique has been with our team since March 2013. She is responsible for our Virtual Office Services as well as supporting our Market Entry Services, such as market and business partner research.

Dominique represents GACC Midwest at several trade shows throughout the year, for instance the upcoming WWETT (Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport Show) in February in Indianapolis. She is actively involved in our Water Initiative Program and all projects focusing on the water industry, such as our wastewater & water infrastructure business delegation to the Minneapolis-St. Paul water cluster in May.  

Before working with the Chamber, Dominique has earned a Bachelor's degree from the HTW Dresden in International Business majoring in business strategy and supply chain management. Previously she has lived and studied in Nice, France and Moscow, Russia which complement to her several stays in the U.S. Being confronted with the concerns and challenges of the market entry of the German Mittelstand on a daily basis, her focus lies on providing guidance and the understanding of the diversity and structure of American markets among German entrepreneurs.

If you have any questions about one of Dominique's focuses or want to get in touch with her regarding a specific industry, you can reach her via

Dominique Lellek, Consultant

Interested in German-American Cultural Events?

Each year Literaturlenz brings together the Goethe-Institut Chicago, the Swiss and the Austrian cultural institutions for an evening of readings in German. Each author represents a unique voice in contemporary German-language literature. The Goethe-Institut welcomes Jonas Lüscher from Switzerland and Anna Weidenholzer of Austria. The readings will be followed by a discussion in English moderated by Susan Harris, Editorial Director of Words Without Borders.

On Saturday, April 11, German International School Chicago will hold its 5th Annual Spring Gala, an enchanted, fun-filled evening celebration. The event includes an open bar reception, gourmet dinner, live music, and dancing. Guests are also invited to participate in silent and live auctions showcasing a large variety of luxury items and services as well as a raffle with a grand prize of $1000 cash. The Spring Gala is GISC's main event to raise crucial funds to help meet its growing needs.

Kulturbrücke represents a cultural bridge of poets, painters, dancers, and sculptors from both Germany and the United States. Kulturbrücke is a series of events that will entertain and stimulate thinking about how two cultures can create a dialog about issues in the world of art. The events will be held both in German and English, and admission is free. 

Save the Date

Meet Your New Clients

Review our new Media Kit and become a sponsor in 2015.

GACC Midwest is hiring! With skilled workforce being a top priority for transatlantic business, we are now accepting applications for the following staff openings:

For detailed position descriptions, please visit our website.

Job Openings

We are also looking for the following positions:

  • Field Sales Engineer
  • Service Technician
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Accountant/Controller
  • Head of Sales (Telematics)
  • IT Consultant/Project Manager

For more information on this openings, get in touch via



The GAT is a diverse Quarterly Magazine on all things German-American Business!
Check out Issue 1/2015 with a highlight on our Skilled Workforce Initiative!

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