GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: March 2014 Issue

Dear Members and Friends,

Some of you may have missed our monthly newsletter in your inbox last Friday.

On that very day, we learned to our deep dismay that our highly valued Board Member, Karl Lehman, had passed away on Wednesday, March 12. Karl will be greatly missed and we offer our condolences to his family in this time of hardship. This sad news also affected our Annual Member and Board Meeting, during which we fondly remembered Karl. Please see our special tribute to Karl below.

Fortunately, we also can share positive news with you in this edition of the ChamberBrief: Have you heard the recent announcements by President Obama to bring the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) to the Midwest? We are excited for the two new manufacturing institutes in Chicago and Detroit, focusing on digital manufacturing and design technologies and lightweight and modern metals manufacturing respectively. On a similar note, GACC Midwest is committed to excellence in business. We are happy to announce our 2014 MERLIN Awards categories!

Our new feature, the Staff & Services Spotlight introduces you this month to our Consulting Manager, Werner Gruenberg, and the Site Selection services.

We would also like to announce our 2014/15 Board of Directors and our new members of 2014, some of whom we had the pleasure to greet at our New Members’ Reception!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Karl Lehman, GACC Midwest Board member since 2008. Karl passed away on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, surrounded by his parents, other family members and friends, including some of his Lufthansa team.
Karl was a wonderful man, who lived as a kind and thoughtful human being – in German, we would say “sympathisch”. He was a true professional and a longstanding and avid supporter of GACC Midwest. Karl loved the Christkindlmarket, and we have many fond memories of him enjoying life, entertaining clients and friends in the Lufthansa tent every year.
Karl was dearly loved and respected by those who knew him; as per his obituary “The world is a better place because Karl was in it.”  We can only confirm this and will truly miss him.

The Board of the GACC Midwest has chosen to honor Karl by making a donation to the “ J. Karl Lehman Scholarship Fund”. 

Our deepest condolences go to his family, friends, and Lufthansa team.
Further information may be found here.


Upcoming GACC Midwest Events:

Save the Date for the Minnesota Water Technology Business Summit where our Senior Manager, Dr. Petra Stieninger will give her insight on International Partnerships in Water in the panel discussion on March 25.

Once again, GACC Midwest will be very active at the Hannover Fair, the world’s largest industrial trade fair.

April 7: US Trade and Investment Summit:
GACC Midwest will moderate an event with top-notch speakers from U.S. and German government and industry, which will discuss important issues related to “Expanding Transatlantic Trade and Investment.”  Find details online.

Metropolitan Solutions, April 9:
Dr. Petra Stieninger will be available at the Metropolitan Solutions forum, in the east wing of Hall 16, to advise German companies in the fields city planning and infrastructure on their US market entry strategies. Petra has a PhD in city planning and leads the GACC Midwest projects related to smart infrastructure and water technologies. To schedule a meeting, please contact Petra Stieninger.

April 10-11: Virginia Attaway Rounds will be available to meet with companies regarding their U.S. market entry strategies. Virginia leads our Consulting Services department and advises German companies on market entry and intercultural issues. She has a degree in mechanical engineering and specializes in the areas of machinery and automation, energy efficiency, and automotive. To schedule a meeting, contact Virginia Attaway Rounds.

Apply * Sponsor * Celebrate * Entertain

Our yearly Annual MERLIN Awards Gala on May 2, 2014 is almost around the corner!

The MERLIN Awards Gala is an event that will highlight key industries as well as the status and future of the European-German-American business relationship. It is an excellent vehicle for your company to gain recognition and exposure among the targeted audience of the German American business community in the Midwest. 

Use this unique opportunity and ENGAGE NOW!

Reserve a table!

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 City of Chicago and Hamburg.

Apply or nominate a company for this year's MERLIN Awards

Winners will be announced at our MERLIN Awards Gala on May 2, 2014. Seize the opportunity to present your company as a MERLIN Awards winner in front of 300 top executives of the German-American business community!

This year's award ceremony features the following award categories:


The rising demand for renewable energy means a great opportunity for the bio energy industry in the Midwest, with its unexploited potential. This is an excellent business opportunity for synergies between German companies and U.S. landfills and farms. Bringing together those potential cooperation partners is the goal of our Bioenergy Business Delegation & Conference, which takes place on June 3, 2014 in Madison, WI. For more information contact Corinna Jess.


Site Selection with Werner Gruenberg

Choosing the right location for your business is a key factor in the successful establishment and growth of your U.S. presence. The American Midwest with its several dynamic regional hubs is an excellent location across all industries, as a recent article in Site Selection Magazine showed – and GACC Midwest is your trusted partner for your Site Selection project!

Werner Gruenberg joined the GACC Midwest team in 2011 and has been able to build up substantial knowledge in Site Selection by managing several projects for large and midsize German companies across various industries. Werner helps you navigate through the complex site selection process by communicating on your behalf with all parties involved. In doing so, he is able to protect your interests and supports your specific requirements and preferences. He starts the complex site selection process with the development of your tailored location criteria catalogue and an initial analysis and comparison of key indicators in various states. He organizes site visits and ensures the proper representation of your interests vis-à-vis public incentive programs together with attorneys and/or tax advisors.

Werner works with a broad network of members, contacts, and clients, including a number of experienced and bilingual attorneys, tax advisors and other key service providers focusing on transatlantic business, to secure the ideal site for your U.S. presence. In order to ensure a successful start for your business operation in the U.S., Werner is also able to assist with questions beyond site selection such as import requirements, market research, business partner search, or recruitment questions.

GACC Midwest Review:

The Annual Meeting of Members and of the Board of GACC Midwest was held on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. We are pleased to announce the 2014/15 Board of Directors. 

Frederick Beisser | President, Tioga Consulting Corp.

Patricia H. Besser | Managing Director, US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith

Ambassador (ret) J.D. Bindenagel | Special Advisor, XXI Strategy Partners

W. David Braun | Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP

Dr. John D. Gatto | President & CEO, NRW.Invest (North America) 

Dr. Friedrich-Hans Grandin | CEO, HUESKER Synthetic GmbH

Frederick W. Hoffman | Honorary German Consul

Wolfgang Hoffmann | Vice President, Finance & Administration, Robert Bosch 

Ursula K. Klicker | COO, Mont Blanc Gourmet

Lübbert Kruizenga | Regional Controller, WindLogics

Dr. Walter Maisel | President & CEO, KOSTAL North America

Tom Mitchell | President, Messe Düsseldorf North America

Simone Pohl | President & CEO, GACC Midwest

Jürgen Reers | Senior Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

Jack S. Richter | Founder & Director, J.S. Richter Ltd.

Peter Riehle | President & CEO, Wittenstein North America

Dieter A. Schmitz | Partner, Baker & McKenzie

Uwe Schoberth | Global Head of Distribution, QBE Group

Markus Schyboll | CEO, Schunk of North America

Ronald L. Skwarek | Partner, Deloitte & Touche 

Geoffrey Somary | President & CEO, Ipsen

Andreas F. Stecher | CEO, Plasmatreat North America

Mark Tomkins | Vice President, GACC Midwest

Norbert Weichele | CEO & General Manager, Zentis North America

Honorary Directors:

Luke Baer – Honorary Director

Harry E. Huff – Honorary Director

Peter H. Merlin – Honorary Director

U.S. Market for Automation Technology

On February 12, Virginia Attaway Rounds, Director of Consulting Services, was a featured speaker at a U.S. Market for Automation Technology event organized by the IHK Braunschweig and IHK Hannover. In addition to an overview of current market statistics, she covered technological trends as well as opportunities and challenges for German companies. For a copy of the German-language presentation, please contact Virginia.

On Thursday, Feb 27, we welcomed over 20 participants at our monthly Knowledge Exchange, hosted for the first time in the Chicago Suburbs at our member firm Hegele Logistics in Wood Dale. Long-term GACC Midwest member Barnes & Thornburg delivered insightful remarks on key legal topics in the areas of Corporate and Employment Law, as well as patent litigation.

If you have missed this event and would like to learn more about it, please contact Anna Cournoyer.

After the Knowledge Exchange, we welcomed many guests at our quarterly Stammtisch on the Road. Our Stammtisch is a unique event to meet and network peers and potential partners in the casual atmosphere of the authentic Hofbräuhaus in Rosemont.

CEO Roundtable

At GACC Midwest's CEO Roundtable on March 10, McGladrey LLP gave a comprehensive overview of their 2013 Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor Report. We would again like to thank McGladrey for sharing these insights with us! 
If you would like to learn more about our exclusive CEO Roundtable, please contact Jayne Riemer-Chishty

Our highly anticipated German American Water Technology Roundtable, which was even featured in The Wall Street Journal, took place this week on March 11 in Indianapolis - and it exceeded our expectations! With an attendance of  more than 55 people, it broke the record of all water roundtables so far. We were very honored that Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, and Deputy Consul General Mario Soos joined us. We held an exciting panel discussion on innovation in the water sector - if only we'd have had more time!

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, the GACC Midwest team invited to its quarterly “New Members’ Reception” at the Chicago downtown office. Despite the winter storm, we had the great pleasure of welcoming several new member companies.

(From left to right: Mark Tomkins, Simone Pohl, Martin Goering, Matthias Knobloch, Alexandra Lesser, Anna Eich, Jayne Riemer-Chishty, Virginia Rounds, Sandy Abraham)

Among them were:

Anna Eich, German Language Services
Condor Flugdienst GmbH
InExpress Chicago
The Law Offices of Eugene M. Cummings, P.C.

Our new members used the chance to introduce themselves to GACC Midwest staff and get acquainted with the Chamber’s role, services, events, and our vast and unique network. For us it was a great opportunity to learn more about the individual companies and find out how we can best assist them to benefit the most from their membership.

New Member Testimonial

“It was a pleasure having the opportunity to meet the GACC Midwest team.  I have to admit I was very impressed with the high level of engagement the entire chamber staff is committed to. I don't think I have ever felt more welcomed into a group and thus optimistic about this new partnership. I can't wait to find opportunities to support some of your companies and members, as well as ways to give back by leveraging my network and other partners.”

Alexandra Lesser, InXpress Franchise Owner - and Freight & Shipping Consultant

Not yet a Member?

Contact Sandy Abraham, Manager, Membership Development & Engagement, (312) 665-0978!


As those of you who attended will be able to confirm, the first and second networking events with our new event partners, the Nordic Chambers of Commerce (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway) were a great success with a very high attendance! Join us for our next popular monthly networking night at the Drake Hotel!

Save the Date for our April edition on 4/16!

We were happy to welcome as our expert guest speaker Elizabeth von Groeller from Di Nuovo Talent Management Group to present at our HR-Executive Circle on March 20th, 2014, hosted by Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp. in Vernon Hills, IL. Participants had the opportunity to learn about current trends in talent acquisition across diverse industries, best practice strategies, solutions for small to large companies.

Karl-Heinz' first visit to the barber

Annual MERLIN Awards Gala – 05/2/2014 – Chicago, IL

Stay up-to-date on the latest transatlantic news, learn about how German companies are expanding their U.S. Business, welcome new executives to the C-Suite – and much more!

Download GAT today!

To learn more about how you can be featured in this international publication with a circulation of more than 2,000 hard copies alone and an even higher online viewing rate, contact Jasmin Welter!

Anything but dirty!

To our manufacturing companies:

Showcase your high-tech facility in the “Anything but Dirty” feature of the German American Trade magazine (GAT). Flip through sample articles

Platinum Sponsors 2014

ChamberBrief Sponsors

Pick your Level of Exposure and Drive Your 2014 Business!

·      Open Positions

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

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

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!

Update from our network:

From 3/7-4/3, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the “17th Annual European Union Film Festival,” the largest showcase in North America for EU cinema. This year’s festival presents the Chicago premieres of 64 new films from 26 EU nations, including three films from Germany and two from Austria.

On May 22-25, 2014, citizens of the European Union will elect a new parliament. Please find information on how to vote, targeted at Germans abroad, at this link.

The German International School Chicago will hold its 4th Annual Spring Gala on March 29. The gala brings together families, friends, local and international businesses, as well as German, Austrian, and Swiss community members to celebrate the school. It takes place on Saturday, March 29 at 6:30 pm at the Ravenswood Event Center, 4011 N Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613.

University of Hamburg Alumni Association at Fermilab, Batavia

On March 8, University of Hamburg Alumnus Oliver Gutsche gave a presentation, followed by a guided tour, on particle physics and his work at Fermilab Chicago for the Alumni Group and GACC Midwest staff. Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. If you are interested in Chicago and Hamburg, make sure to join for our MERLIN Awards Gala, honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Chicago-Hamburg Sister City partnership.

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