GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: June 2013 Issue

Dear Members and Friends,

The past month has been an extremely busy one for our Chamber – on both sides of the Atlantic!

Following our MERLIN Awards Gala and Transatlantic Business Conference we hosted two events in Hamburg, the German American Business Forum and the Chicago Hamburg Business Forum. With these events and many more projects and initiatives, GACC Midwest along with the GACC network showcased the strong transatlantic business ties existing between Germany and the US – both nationally and regionally. Many thanks to all who contributed to these successful events!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team

W. David Braun, Dr. Benno Bunse, Dr. Dierk Mueller, Caroll H.Neubauer, Dr. Michael Blank

Some 250 companies from both sides of the Atlantic participated in the first German American Business Forum in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany on June 4. With a new B2B concept, the German American Chambers of Commerce (GACCs) in cooperation with the Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT) in Washington, DC, Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, and AmCham Germany, presented a truly transatlantic event focusing on US market entry strategies.

Industry experts from areas such as energy, transportation and logistics, medical technology, industry and manufacturing, IT and new media, provided insights into the opportunities, as well as the risks of the North American market. Various workshops on topics such as training and skilled workforce, legal framework and risks, lobbying work in Washington D.C., and establishing sales structures in the US offered valuable information for German companies regarding their first steps in the US. W. David Braun, Chairman of the GACCs, said, "Transatlantic economic relations are now stronger than ever – lately, we have noticed an increase in inquiries about our services and knowledge of local conditions."

Chicago Hamburg Business Forum – June 5

Building on our successful Chicago Hamburg Business Forum 2011, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest hosted the 2013 Chicago Hamburg Business Forum on June 5, 2013, highlighting the past, present and – most importantly – the future of “Green Building and Smart City Planning.” More than 80 participants, including 7 expert delegation members from the US, attended exciting panel discussions at the very impressive, energy-efficient Waelderhaus Hotel. Additionally, a guided visit of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) allowed the participants to explore Hamburg’s showcase of modern building and city planning. At the IBA, the group visited the “Energieberg,” a brownfield used for wind energy generation, the ”Energiebunker,” a flak bunker that is used for solar energy generation, and the residential areas of the IBA. The IBA as well as a tour of Hamburg’s HafenCity gave both the delegation participants and the local attendees a good impression of smart city planning in Hamburg and allowed to connect to potential business partners in an inspiring environment. The cities look forward to exploring potential synergies between Northern Germany and the American Midwest at yet another Chicago Hamburg Business Forum in 2014, which marks the 20th anniversary of their sister city relationship.  

Chicago Business Leaders On A Mission in Berlin

On June 3-4 an influential group of Chicago business and civic leaders visited Germany to discuss a potential visit by Chancellor Merkel to Chicago. The delegation, which included Patricia Besser, Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, and Luke Baer from the GACC Midwest Board of Directors and Owen Johnston from our Michigan Chapter’s Board, met with Federal Minister of State Eckart von Klaeden, State Secretary Hans Joachim Otto (BMWi), Dr. Volker Treier (DIHK), the US Embassy as well as a select group of German business leaders hosted by the BDI. The visit was organized by Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel and Donna Zarcone, President & CEO of the Economic Club of Chicago (ECC), with support from GACC Midwest, World Business Chicago, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Emmanuèle van Houdenhoven (FACC-Chicago), His Excellency João Vale de Almeida, and Simone Pohl (GACC Midwest)

His Excellency João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States and his Excellency Michael Collins, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and representative of Ireland, the current holder the rotating EU Presidency, discussed Europe’s Quest for Recovery in Chicago. Moderated by Mr. Hal Weitzman, Executive Director, Intellectual Capital at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, the Ambassadors spoke on Europe’s economic priorities and the relationship with the United States.

"Synergies for Your Industries"

Our member-to-member event series Knowledge Exchange presents unique insights into select topics and allows you to connect with industry experts and our network. The interactive Knowledge Exchange event series gives you a further exclusive opportunity to meet new business partners, interact, and share ideas in an international business environment. Expert speakers from various industries share their knowledge on relevant topics that impact your day-to-day business.

At June’s Knowledge Exchange on Import and Export, member Aaron Nash from LCB Mainfreight – Chicago gave a comprehensive overview of new regulations from governmental organizations such as CBP (Custom & Border Protection) and FDA (Food & Drug Administration). He also unveiled tips and tricks on how to make import and export transactions more time and cost-efficient.

Stay Tuned for our next Knowledge Exchange on Technology’s Impact on Global Financial Transactions!


Sweets & Snacks – A Taste of Germany in Chicago

In May 2013, GACC Midwest hosted a delegation of five companies from the German sweets and snacks industries. The delegation – supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection – participated in expert roundtables elaborating on topics such as new regulations by the FDA, the most important players in the market, US-specific finance procedures, and current retail trends. During exclusive store checks the participating companies had the chance to talk to store managers and received first-hand insight into the market. GACC Midwest also organized 1-on-1 meetings with importers, distributors, brokers, and retailers.  

The program highlight was a product presentation and business reception at the Sky Lounge of Chicago’s Dana Hotel. The companies presented their impressive product portfolio to important players in the food industry and a broader public interested in the German sweets and snacks market. The delegation companies were Bäckerei Oswald Piller, Confiserie Heidel, frusano, Rausch Schokolade, and Savitor – ‘Kuhbonbon’.


Germany is a global leader in the advancement and implementation of sustainable water infrastructure. The quality of German water technologies has been tested and proven in real-world applications across the full scope of the industry worldwide. To learn more about German innovations within this sector, GACC Midwest organized a delegation trip for water experts to Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt/Darmstadt region). This hands-on program provided access to the technologies and best practices that have made German solutions for sustainable water management internationally successful. The 9 US participants had the opportunity to connect with German experts, companies, and organizations interested in cooperating with US companies to profit from an exchange of expertise with Germany’s key decision makers and industry players, and to connect with German companies and organizations in pre-arranged B2B-meetings. More information.

On May 6, 2013, GACC Midwest in cooperation with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), World Business Chicago, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the trade commissioners from Canada/Quebec, Denmark, and the UK, hosted an international business reception at the WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2013.

The International Business Reception was attended by 180 international exhibitors and visitors of the WINDPOWER trade show interested in exchanging ideas and making further transatlantic business connections with other wind industry professionals. Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago Steven Koch; Gabriel Alonso, Chair-elect, AWEA and CEO, EDP Renewables North America; and Thomas Becker, CEO, European Wind Energy Association spoke about the importance of international collaboration in this growing industry. The International Business Reception at WINDPOWER 2013 successfully provided its attendees with the opportunity to strengthen the transatlantic dialogue on renewable energy and a sustainable future.

Clean Energy Opportunities in Germany and the Midwest: A Conversation with Rainer Baake and Michael Polsky – May 16

On May 16, 2013, GACC Midwest, together with the World Resources Institute and Barnes & Thornburg LLP hosted a reception featuring Rainer Baake, a key architect of Germany’s successful renewable energy policies. Topics like the policy frameworks that successfully scale up renewable energies, encourage innovation and spur job creation, the technical and regulatory challenges arising from a growing share of renewable energy, and financing of the transition to cleaner energies be financed were discussed with a select group of participants.

From May 16–17, 2013, GACC Midwest brought a delegation of German solar energy companies to Chicago for two days of business meetings and talks with local and regional solar energy industry experts. The highlight of the delegation was a solar policy expert roundtable graciously hosted by the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

The delegation companies included EJOT Solar Fastening Systems, MAGE Solar AG, Schletter GmbH, Vispiron, and Vis Solis GmbH.

German American Water Technology Initiative 2013

The German American Water Initiative continues – Get involved now and secure your spot in the second edition of the Water Technology Magazine!

News from the GACCs Network:

GACC Midwest To Open Second Office in Detroit

Given the resurgence of the US auto industry and the increasing activity of German suppliers in the region, we are excited to open an office in Michigan in order to offer project-based services to German and local companies. These services may include market research, business partner searches, virtual offices, sales support, organization of delegations, and more. Dieter H. Lehnert was introduced as the project manager of the Detroit office to members and board members at the Michigan Chapter’s Spring Reception on June 12 . Through his significant international experience and experience within the global automotive industry, Mr. Lehnert will bring GACC Midwest’s consulting services even closer to our many Detroit-area and Michigan members!

German American Chambers of Commerce of the USA Create Joint Board of Directors

For the first time, the German American Chambers of Commerce of the USA (GACCs) have created a joint Board of Directors. Representing over 2,500 members and actively supporting German-American trade and investment, this will allow the GACCs to more effectively speak to the key issues affecting transatlantic trade. The first Chairman, elected for a two-year term, is W. David Braun, who also serves as the Chairman of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. The Vice Chairmen are Martin Richenhagen (Chairman of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States, and Chairman, President & CEO of AGCO Corporation) and Caroll H. Neubauer (Chairman of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., based in New York, and also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of B. Braun of America and B. Braun Medical Inc). Mr. Braun, Partner at Quarles & Brady LLP in Chicago, stated: “The GACCs are the ideal organization to support companies as they expand their business, combining our national and international networks with services tailored to supporting companies as they seek advice, business partners, and new markets.”

Mr. Caroll H. Neubauer

Mr. W. David Braun

Mr. Martin Richenhagen

GACC Midwest Launches New Mobile App!

As introduced at our MERLIN Awards Gala, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest will now be referred to as GACC Midwest rather than GACCoM. This change is undertaken so as to better reflect the vast geography and membership base we represent. Our website will be available under

In order to enhance our service to you, we also launched the brand new GACC Midwest Mobile App, which allows you to stay even more closely connected with our chamber! The GACC Midwest App is available for both Android and iOS. Scan the QR codes below with your smartphone or follow the corresponding links to place GACC Midwest in the palm of your hand today! Stay tuned for new features throughout our entire anniversary year!




New Subsidiary Directory 2013/14

The GACCs published their new and updated Directory of German Subsidiaries in the US – get it now!

New Membership Directory 2013/14

The GACCs membership-exclusive directory contains up-to-date contact information for our 2,500 member companies nationwide, and serves as the go-to resource for decision-makers looking to do business with German-American companies – become a member and make use of this exclusive resource now!

  • Members: Update Your Information Now! If you haven't updated your membership information yet, do so before time runs out! Contact Martina Trommler ( with any questions.

Become a Member!

Our members receive exclusive access to our expansive network, invitations to members-only events, and special discounts on GACC Midwest events, services, and members-only publications and directories. Join today to take advantage of our unique position and expertise!

Career Services Center – Open Positions

  • VP Human Resources
  • Project Manager
  • Executive Assistant
  • Accounting Manager
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Sales Engineer (Machinery)
  • Applications Engineer
  • Service Engineer

If you are interested in any of these positions, please contact Justin Flaxbart, Manager, Career Services. For further vacancies and information on internships at GACC Midwest, please visit our Career Services website.

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