ChamberBrief 2015: October Edition

Dear Members and Friends,

October was an exciting month for us at the Chamber, with our biggest events of the year, the GACC Awards Gala and Smart Factory Industry Forum happening all in one day (read more about the Forum below). We were pleased to meet so many of you there and are happy to be receiving such positive feedback. Read everything about our first nationwide GACC Awards Gala including many pictures in our special mailing. Pictures from the Forum as well as the Gala can also be found on our website. To read everything about our winners at the Gala, please find the official press release here. We would also use this opportunity again to thank our Key Partners Germany Trade & Invest and HANNOVER MESSE once more, for supporting this event.

The month continued with exciting announcements and projects. First, we would like to announce our new Vice President at the GACC Midwest: Werner Ott, who many of you might know from his former position at the Goethe Institute Chicago. We are pleased to have him on our team and to be working with him on furthering our mission. Read more about him in our Staff Spotlight!

Our Chapters also have announcements to make: Colorado as well as Minnesota both welcome new Executive Directors this month. Karen Develle will be serving as new Executive Director in Minnesota and Natalia Wobst will be taking over the Colorado Chapter. We welcome them both to the Chamber Network and look forward to promoting GACC Midwest's vision together!

As winter is approaching, so is our cherished Christkindlmarket. This year, for the 20th Anniversary of the Christkindlmarket, we have something special for our members: kick off your pre-Thanksgiving celebrations with our exclusive member event, one day before the official opening of the market. Use your chance to get a sneak peak preview and explore the market before the general public gets to do it! Space is limited, so make sure to be part of the Christkindlmarket's opening ceremony.

Also keep our signature publication in mind and make sure to secure your spot in time! The GACC Midwest Report 2015 will be published at an exciting time for German-American business and will be available at key events throughout next year, such as Hannover Messe and IMTS 2016. Sign up now and use your last chance to publish an article or an ad!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest Team

If you are a HQ of a German subsidiary in the US, take part in this short survey now!

The results presentation and a panel discussion as well as the “Trainee of the Year” Award Ceremony will be held at Thomson Reuters onTimes Square in New York City on Monday, December 14, 2015.

Registration for the event is online now.


Smart Factory Industry Forum

GACC Awards Gala

Midwest Report: Invest in the Future


Staff & Services Spotlight

GACC Midwest Delegation Programs


On October 9, 2015, GACC Midwest hosted the Smart Factory Industry Forum in collaboration with Key Partners Germany Trade & Invest and Hannover Messe - and there could not have been a more perfect location to host this forward-looking event than the DMDII in Chicago. Recently established as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), DMDII and its partners aim at creating the tools and technologies to solve today’s most pressing manufacturing challenges.

The goal of our Forum was to support that mission by creating an exchange between leaders in innovation and technology. Our expert speakers and panelists provided valuable insights into Industrie 4.0, the IIoT, and how to make transatlantic companies’ processes better and smarter.

GACC Midwest President & CEO Mark Tomkins opened the Forum, which was a standing- room only event. We were honored to have Dr. Benno Bunse, Chairman/CEO of Germany Trade & Invest share some words of welcome and introduce our first keynote speaker, Prof. Dr. Detlef Zühlke, TU Kaiserslautern, Chairman of the Executive Board of SmartFactoryKL, Technology Initiative. A true pioneer in the area of smart factory, Zühlke introduced our audience to the Smart Factory’s path from vision to reality. Dr. Dean Bartles, Executive Director at DMDII gave a brief overview of the new institute and the meaning of such an innovative facility for the manufacturing community. Marc Siemering, Senior Vice President and Division Director of HANNOVER MESSE, presented facts and figures on Hannover Messe 2016, the place where new technology meets the world, and where the USA will be Official Partner Country in 2016.

Two panels, moderated by GACC Midwest Consulting Director Virginia Rounds, featured engaging discussions on all things Smart Factory.

Our first panel with Robert Magnetti, Sales Director Manufacturing Solutions at Bosch Software Innovations, Sean Mulherrin, Global Product Manager for EPLAN Electric P8, and Mark R. Beckmann, Sr. Manager, Business Development, Manufacturing, Americas at Microsoft elaborated on what the ongoing digitization means for the manufacturing of tomorrow.

In the second panel, Mohamed Abuali, Chief Executive Officer Americas at FORCAM, Wolfgang Rubrecht, Vice President and head of the Factory Automation Business Unit with Siemens Digital Factory USA, Dr. Lars Aldinger, Vice President of Production at WITTENSTEIN, and Dan Hartman, Director of Manufacturing Research and Development at UI Labs discussed practical examples on how to make smarter business happen.

Participants also had the chance to visit the booths of our Key Partners, Germany Trade and Invest and Hannover Messe and our exhibiting Bundeslaender: Invest in Bavaria, Berlin Partner, Brandenburg Economic Development board, BremenInvest, Niedersachsen, NRW.Invest, gwSaar, Saxony and Thuringia.

We would like to invite you to continue the dialogue about the future of our industries and smart technologies. For further information about Industrie 4.0, please review Germany Trade & Invet’s detailed website. Industrie 4.0 will also be a leading topic at Hannover Messe 2016. If you are interested in learning more about investing in Germany, Germany Trade & Invest will also be present at 2016 Hannover Messe’s Investment Lounge to answer all of your questions regarding Germany as a business location and making your business smarter.

We would like to thank our Key Partners, Germany Trade & Invest and Hannover Messe, our Platinum Sponsors Hannover Messe, Fragomen, Lufthansa and Roedl & Partner, as well as our Smart Factory Industry Forum Sponsors AirwaysFreight, Bosch, Forcam, Ipsen, MPDV, Rexroth Bosch Group, and WITTENSTEIN, as well as our promotional partner IMA for their support!

On the evening of October 9th, we revealed the nationwide winners of the 2015 GACC Awards. Chairman W. David Braun and GACC Midwest's new President & CEO Mark Tomkins led through the evening's program. They were joined by a special guest to honor the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of German Reunification: Former US Ambassador to Germany, J.D. Bindenagel, shared an emotional eyewitness account of the happenings during the Fall of the Wall that truly captured the entire audience - which included many representatives from German Federal States for this special anniversary gala. We would like to congratulate our winners: Dow Chemical Company (Outstanding US Investment in Eastern Germany), RITTAL (Excellence in Innovation/GACC Midwest), Schmidt Technology Corporation (Excellence in Innovation/GACC New York), Bosch Rexroth (Excellence in Innovation/GACC South), DACHSER Logistics (Excellence in Services) as well as Jack S. Richter who was honored with the MERLIN Award for Oustanding Contribution to the German-American Business Community in the Midwest. Read all about the special night and our winners in our GACC Awards Gala Mailing!

HANNOVER MESSE 2016, April 25-29

Congratulations to Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, and now also Missouri, who will officially join the US Investment Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2016, some with more than one booth. It’s important to get the contracts in by November 30, 2015 since booth assignments will start soon, early registrants will get special consideration, and the US Investment Pavilion will be opened also to investment service providers after November 30, 2015. The US Investment Pavilion is open to EDOs as well as other economic development organizations involved in promoting and assisting FDI. Information on the opportunities with Partner Country USA and Hannover Messe is available online with new information here. Also, we are talking to German federal states on assisting them with their Hannover Fair strategies to bring US and German companies together. 

Reach new clients, partners & markets - GACC Midwest Report 2015

INVEST in the FUTURE is the big topic of our upcoming GACC Midwest Report

Showcase how your company prepares for the future and reach a vast audience of new clients, industry experts, businesses, and investors in the US and Germany! The report will be available in online & in print at all our events throughout 2016, including Hannover Messe and IMTS!

Key sections of our report will be dedicated to:

  • 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

Join leading companies, service providers & EDOs and attract new investment and business. The deadline to secure your spot is November 6, 2015. You can submit your content after this deadline of commitment.

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



The American automotive industry is currently booming which will likely force car manufacturers and suppliers to modernize and automate their production facilities. To capitalize on this development, we brought a German machinery delegation of 11 companies to Michigan and Illinois and hosted a Business Conference focusing on Machinery in the Automotive Industry on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 in Troy, MI. Over 100 attendees joined the conference to learn from our German machinery and technology providers that presented on their innovations and technological advances as well as from our expert speakers that provided insights on current trends and developments in the automotive industry. The Business Conference served as an excellent networking platform, allowing US professionals to make new and valuable connections with their German counterparts in the machinery and automotive industry.

Digital versions of the presentations are available on our website.

CEO Roundtable @ RITTAL

Various CEOs of German companies throughout the region met on the grounds of our member company RITTAL for a GACC Midwest CEO Roundtable with special guest Florian Willershausen, international reporter for Wirtschaftswoche, who contributed to the Chicago Tribune as an Arthur F. Burns fellow.

TTIP: Deal Maker or Deal Breaker? Luncheon & Discussion with Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner | 10/19, Indianapolis, IN

Attendees, including Victor Smith, Secretary of Commerce for the state of Indiana and Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Sven Schumacher, with Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of the Department for External Economic Policy at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) after a discussion on the Future of Transatlantic Economic Relations at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, IN.


Join us in celebrating the Christkindlmarket Chicago’s 20th year with a night filled with food, drinks, music and fun on November 19, 2015! As a member of GACC Midwest, be among the first to visit the market before the general public, and gain access to some of the most popular vendors, eat authentic German food, and be part of the Christkindlmarket’s opening ceremony. Space is limited so make sure to purchase your tickets today! Individual VIP tickets and VIP Table reservations are available for the ultimate preview experience! To purchase VIP tickets or reserve your private VIP Table please contact Kirsten Schmandt.

Let the Christkindlmarket staff take the hassle out of planning your holiday gatherings and enjoy a traditional German style Stammtisch at the 2015 market! The Stammtisch (a private table reserved in advanced) is the ideal place for you to sit with your clients, business partners, friends and family and enjoy the market experience stress free. A total of 5 festively decorated tables (seating 8 adults or 10 children each) can be reserved for your group in advanced for 2 or 3 hours. Avoid the lines and relax by choosing from a variety of food packages featuring authentic German dishes that will be served at your table family style to create a unique holiday experience.

For further details, including food and beverage packages and booking information, visit our website. Booking will be available soon!  

Meet with GACC Midwest in Germany | November 10-20, 2015

Virginia Rounds and Dominique Lellek will be in Germany from November 10 – 20 for a series of events. In Aschaffenburg and Halle, they will meet with German companies one-on-one to discuss market entry strategies. In Gera, Virginia and Susanne Gellert from GACC NY will offer an intensive day of training for German executives planning their US activities. Dominique will attend “Export Days” for Thüringen, Baden-Württemberg, and Bayern. Between events, they will also be visiting current GACC Midwest clients.

If you would like to meet with Virginia or Dominique, please don’t hesitate to reach out

Nov 12: Beratungstag Halle & Export Day Thüringen

Nov 13: Management Training, Gera

Nov 16: Beratungstag Aschaffenburg

Nov 17: Export Day Baden-Württemberg

Nov 19: Export Day Bayern

Staff & Services Spotlight

Werner Ott, Vice President

Werner has joined GACC Midwest as VP on October 1st after having been Director of the Goethe-Institut Chicago for the past 6 years.

He has broad experience in international cultural and business affairs, public relations and executive management, having worked independently and in collaboration with public and private institutions, businesses, local cultural authorities. He has extensive international and intercultural expertise, developed over decades of service abroad: As director of the Goethe-Institut in Washington D.C. and of the Goethe-Institut Chicago, as Department Head - Information Services and Media - at Goethe-Institut Headquarter in Munich and during his assignments in Barcelona and San Francisco Werner has initiated and collaborated on diverse projects with the German American Chambers of Commerce and the business community. 

Among others, he initiated a  3-year conference and workshop series “ Common Economic Challenges”  in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, GACC Midwest and others, as well as a Chicago conference with workshops on Sustainability hosting experts in the field from Germany and the U.S. Both projects were made possible through ERP funding of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

He planned and implemented a conference and event series -  “Dialogue between Capitals “ – in Washington D.C. focusing on cultural as well as economic and business aspects. The various projects were cosponsored and supported by German companies, the White House, the US Congress, the City of Berlin, the City of Washington D.C. and RGIT.  During his assignment in Barcelona Werner has cooperated in various projects and events with the local business community and Catalunia among others helping to implement first dual education modules into the local education system.

Werner holds a Master’s degree from the University of Heidelberg in American Studies, English Literature and Physical Education with a minor in Psychology and  studied abroad at the University of California, Berkeley. He also completed postgraduate studies in Education Theory and Practice.

Chapter Announcements: New Executive Directors in CO and MN

Our Colorado as well as Minnesota Chapter is excited to announce the appointment of its new Executive Directors: Ms. Natalia Wobst will be serving as new Executive Director in Colorado, and Ms. Karen Develle will take over this position in Minnesota. Ms. Wobst will be taking over from Joshua Seeberg, who will be joining the GACC Midwest's Skills department in Chicago in December. Ms. Develle is taking over the position from Kathryn Linafelter Johnson. We look foward to working together!

GACC Midwest Delegation Programs

GACC Midwest will organize a delegation consisting of German companies involved in facilitating energy efficiency for industrial manufacturing. As part of the program, we will host a Business Conference in Metro Detroit, MI where the delegation will present their products and innovative solutions. Attendees can learn about 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 event will feature German and US industry and policy experts. The companies will also meet with 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

German Comedian Michael Mittermeier will be performing in Chicago on Monday, November 2nd, 2015.  The performance is free to attend and will be held in English. Make sure you secure your tickets here!

German International School Chicago and the DANK Haus welcome children of all ages and backgrounds to a fun-filled autumn celebration. In Europe, Laternenfest is a fall festival where children walk through their villages with lighted lanterns on the eve of St. Martin's feast day (Martinstag). Laternenfest is Sunday, November 8 at 2:30 pm. Admission includes a lantern kit that children can use to personalize their own lantern, plus free crafts, storytelling, and a sing-along. Face painting as well as baked goods, juice, water, beer and glühwein will be available for purchase. For more information, please click here.

Inaugural Reception and Discussion with Dr. Stephen F. Szabo | 11/11, Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Eric M. Warburg Chapter of the American Council on Germany cordially invites you to its Inaugural Reception and Discussion with Dr. Stephen F. Szabo, Executive Director Transatlantic Academy, who will speak on his new book Germany, Russia, and the Rise of Geo-Economics on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at The Hermit Club | 1629 Dodge Ct, Cleveland, OH 44114. This event is free of charge. Click here to RSVP  by November 6th

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) published their 2nd AHK World Business Outlook. According to the study 61% of  German companies in the US report an improving overall current situation for their company and 57% report a higher emplyment rate than in the past. Main risks seen by companies are demand as well as a lack of skilled workers. You can take a look at the results for the US here and find the complete survey here. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Mark your calendar for our upcoming events!

Visit our website for more information on our events.

Are you an EDO? Sign up for an article in our next GAT now and gain nationwide exposure! You can find the online edition of the most current issue of the GAT here

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:

  • Sales Manager (Industrial Components)
  • General Manager (Industrial Products)
  • Sales Manager (Architectural Products)

    For more information on these openings, contact Justin Flaxbart.

    Platinum Sponsors

    Patron Sponsor

    Stay in touch!