GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: February 2014 Issue

Dear Members and Friends,

We hope you have enjoyed our first signature event of the year! For those of you who were not able to attend, we would like to give a short review of a highly insightful Annual Economic Forum further below.

Having started the year with this resounding success, we are now looking forward to our next signature event - the MERLIN Awards Gala on May 2nd. This year’s gala will not only honor excellence in German-American business, but also celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the successful partnership between the sister cities of Chicago and Hamburg.

We would also like to introduce a new feature in our ChamberBrief. Each month, our Staff & Services Spotlight introduces a new Member of our Staff and their field of expertise. As a start, we would like you to meet our Career Services Manager, Justin Flaxbart.

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team


The 9thAnnual Economic Forum took place on February 6 at the Hilton Rosemont Chicago O'Hare.

After Moderator W. David Braun, Chairman, GACC Midwest & AHK USA and Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP, opened the formal program, leading economist Adolfo Laurenti gave his much anticipated transatlantic economic outlook for 2014 with positive expectations for the U.S. and Germany. Laurenti, in an engaging presentation, sees the U.S. and German economies regaining strength and a positive development for capital investment due to the previous years’ pent-up demand. 

The following roundtable featured the CEOs of Ipsen and Wittenstein, Geoffrey Somary and Peter Riehle, who discussed the essence of continuous innovation and responsiveness for their businesses’ success in a transatlantic framework. The round table was completed by remarks on the ongoing TTIP negotiations by the Representative of German Industry and Trade, Dr. Thomas Zielke.

If you have any questions on the Economic Forum, or are considering to participate in next year’s edition as either a sponsor or speaker, please contact Anna.

Upcoming GACC Midwest Events:

For our popular monthly networking night at the Drake Hotel, we would like to welcome new members, the Nordic Chambers of Commerce (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway)!

Mark your calendar now and join us in the Olympic Spirit – Dabei Sein ist Alles! (Taking Part is everything!)

Register now for our February edition on 2/19!

Knowledge Exchange - February 27, 2014

Featuring guest speakers from various industries, this event series provides attendees the opportunity to expand their knowledge of topics impacting their day-to-day business, meet new business partners, and share their own experiences in an international business environment. Please contact Anna Cournoyer if you would like to present at our Knowledge Exchange.

February Focus: Law

Critical Legal Matters Foreign Owned Companies Tend To Overlook - 2/27/2014

Please join attorneys Michael Carrillo, David Ritter, and Timo Rehbock from Barnes & Thornburg LLP as they discuss topics such as Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs), Patent Litigation, Mistakes Employers Make That Lead to Employment Litigation, and How to Manage Your Lawyer Efficiently. Barnes & Thornburg regularly works with multinational companies and on cross-border transactions and business initiatives, leading a coordinated approach to international legal issues.

We would be delighted if you would also join us for our Stammtisch on The Road at the Hofbrauhaus O’Hare right after the Knowledge Exchange!

The 2014 TAP-YTL Aerospace delegation in June will offer 12 select participants the chance to explore cutting-edge innovations in aerospace engineering and aviation technologies during an intensive, 8-day trip throughout Germany. The global success of the German aerospace industry has made it a significant driver of the German economy, with a direct labor force of over 100,700 employees and an annual revenue of 28.4 billion Euros.

If you want to engage with key players of the German aeronautics and astronautics industries, visit leading research institutions, and personally interact with engineers and business leaders that are driving the next generation of aerospace innovation – apply now! Application Deadline is April 13, 2014.

Our MERLIN Awards Gala will honor outstanding German-American businesses during an evening of excellent food, entertainment, and new connections

Don't miss the opportunity to bring your clients/partners and spouses, and be part of this memorable evening, which will also celebrate the 20 Year Anniversary of the successful partnership between the Sister Cities of Chicago and Hamburg.

2014 MERLIN Award Categories will be announced soon!

Since mid-2011, Justin Flaxbart has been leading GACC Midwest’s Career Services program, which specializes in full-cycle recruitment support for organizations with focus on bilingual talent and professionals with extensive experience in transatlantic business. The program has helped (member) companies to fill a wide range of roles, from National Sales Manager to Executive Assistant and from HR Generalist to Director of Finance.

Beyond recruitment support, Mr. Flaxbart also organizes the HR Executive Circle, which brings together HR decision-makers to learn about hot topics in Human Resources Management with expert speakers. These events enable peer-to-peer networking and knowledge exchange among our members and have focused on diverse topics such as “Employee Engagement Initiatives” and “Best Practices and Legal Considerations for International Assignments.”

The Career Services program is looking to expand in 2014 to include a new area, Expatriate Services, which will include customized support for the spouses of international assignees within the greater Midwest. Stay tuned for more details!


At this event we had the pleasure to welcome as a guest speaker Mary Kay McMahon from Peloton Partners, LLC, a Human Resources consultancy, who presented on the topic of “Employee Engagement Initiatives”. Ms McMahon spoke about tools and processes for measuring employee engagement, readily available resources for HR professionals and steps companies can undertake to ensure an engaged workforce. The Human Resources Executives from GACC Midwest member companies who were in attendance joined in a very engaging discussion on the topic and exchanged their own professional insights into ‘Employee Engagement’ based on their experiences.

We look forward to seeing many HR Executives from our network at the next HR-Executive Circle on March 20th, 2014 to discuss a new ‘hot topic’ in human resources and recruiting and to facilitate exchange between GACC Midwest members. Stay tuned for details about our next event!

New Contacts for our Chapter Network

The GACC Midwest Colorado Chapter  board of directors recently  held their annual board meeting at which officers for the ensuing year were elected. Fred Beisser, owner of Tioga Consulting Corp, was elected as the new President of the Chapter. 

The Minnesota Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest announced the appointment of Antonya Gerhart as its new Executive Director as of February 1. Antonya will help to continue to grow the Chapter and increase its visibility in Minnesota to promote business and trade between Germany and Minnesota. We would also like to thank former Executive Director Aline Anliker, who is stepping down from the position due to her relocation overseas.

News from our Trade Show Partners


The “Global Business & Markets” at HANNOVER MESSE addresses global challenges and provides an outstanding platform from which to reach out to a truly international audience.

A special focus on the Opening Day, April 7, will be placed on spotlighting the United States as a leader in advanced manufacturing and a first class investment location. The USA forum will put technology vendors and users in close touch with the goal of positioning the USA as the leading nation to produce advanced products for users around the globe. High-ranking speakers include Tom Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Judy Reinke, Acting Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director General, U.S. Commercial Service, and our Vice-Chairman Dr. Walter Maisel, CEO & President, Kostal of America Inc.

Metropolitan Solutions 2014 shows technologies and services for cities.
Profit from our extensive experience and vast industry knowledge on the U.S. market for urban planning and infrastructure systems.
Meet Dr. Petra Stieninger, Senior Manager, GACC Midwest, for a first consultancy on the U.S. market during the Metro Solutions on April 9, 2014.

Hamburg University Alumni Group - 1st Anniversary

We congratulate the Chicago Chapter of the Hamburg University Alumni Group to their 1st Anniversary. The active group celebrated their anniversary at the impressive offices of GACC Midwest member Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren at the Willis Tower. Actively supporting the vibrant community of the sister cities of Chicago and Hamburg, the group is led by Alumni ambassadors Manuel Fuentes and Tobias Langer.

German International School Chicago will hold its 4th Annual Spring Gala, an enchanted, fun-filled evening celebration. The gala brings together families, friends, local and international businesses, as well as German, Austrian, and Swiss community members to celebrate the school. The Spring Gala is GISC's main event to raise crucial funds to help meet its growing needs. GISC is grateful for the support of its sponsors and donors, and sponsorship opportunities are still available. The Spring Gala is Saturday, March 29 at 6:30 pm at the Ravenswood Event Center, 4011 N Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613.

Save the Date!

Get Excited for Our Brand New Signature Event

Stay Tuned for Our Brand New Signature Event!

  • Inspiration for Innovation – GACC Midwest Member Fall Event – 09/19/2014

    We are currently preparing the next edition of Subsidiaries of German Firms in the U.S. - a 'Who's Who' of German investment in the United States and the only directory of its kind. Available in print and online, it lists over 3,500 German subsidiaries and branches in the U.S., along with 1,600 parent companies in Germany. Please contact us if you do not receive your personal mailing!

    Get your 2013/2014 Subsidiaries of German Firms in the U.S. copy now with the special rate of 40% off the original price.

    Member Rate: $100 - NOW $60

    Purchase Now

    Non-Member Rate: $125 - NOW $75

    Purchase Now

    Platinum Sponsors 2014

    ChamberBrief Sponsors

    Pick your Level of Exposure and Drive Your 2014 Business!

    • Chief Financial Officer
    • Technical Sales Engineer (CNC Machining)
    • Sales Engineer
    • Production Manager
    • Sales/Business Development Manager- Automation
    • PLC Programmer
    • Laboratory Supervisor

    Contact Justin, Manager, Career Services, or visit our website for more information and internships at GACC Midwest.

    To our manufacturing companies:

    Beginning in January 2014, our bi-monthly publication, the German American Trade magazine (GAT) will include a “Anything but Dirty” section featuring members of our strong manufacturing base.

    To learn more about being featured in this national publication, contact Jasmin Welter today!

    Read a previous article about KOMET!

    Receive all benefits of the highest membership levels of GACC Midwest, GACC New York, and GACC South through our National Partner Program!

    Not a GACC Midwest member? Contact Sandy Abraham ((312) 665-0978) today to learn how membership will benefit you and your company!

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