GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: MERLIN Awards 2014 Edition

Dear GACC Midwest Members and Friends,

GACC Midwest celebrated its 14th annual MERLIN Awards Gala and the 20th Anniversary of the Chicago Hamburg Sister City relationship on May 2.

The elegant Gala evening highlighting excellence in German-American business is the signature event of GACC Midwest's annual program. In 2014, we recognized the following companies for their exceptional achievements in three relevant categories:

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to all our sponsors who supported us in making our MERLIN Awards Gala and the Sister City celebration such a great success

Please find photos of the event on our website.

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team

At a time of continually increasing trade and investment between Germany and the US, our annual MERLIN Awards Gala honored companies who have excelled in German-American business.

During the gala, Simone Pohl and MC Mark Tomkins were joined by two special guests to make the Chicago-Hamburg Sister City Partnership come to life. Prof. Rolf Achilles, Chairman of the Sister City Committee, and Helmuth Frahm, longterm coordinator of an exchange program between Hamburg and Chicago, shared their personal sister city highlights. Both cities are dynamic global centers, sharing a commitment to trade, innovation, art and the environment. Many of our readers may have also seen the Hamburg Flag upon traveling into O’Hare.
GACC Midwest over the years has also supported this partnership and realized events such as the Transatlantic Dialogue on the Future of Cities in Chicago or the Chicago-Hamburg Business Forums, one of which was even attended by the then newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel. We look forward to further strengthen the exchange between these two great cities with the help of our engaged members and partners!

We would like to thank our longstanding partners: the cities of Chicago & Hamburg with their respective mayors, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, Hamburg Marketing, Chicago Sister Cities International and Leroy Allala, the  Chicago Hamburg Sister City Committee under the leadership of Rolf and Christoph Lichtenfeld, and the Hamburg University Alumni Group.  



Outstanding Innovator:

DB Sediments GmbH

GACC Midwest is always working to foster innovation. DB Sediments GmbH received the 2014 MERLIN Award for Outstanding Innovator for their excellence in vision, creative prowess, and innovation. DB Sediments is an environmental technology firm focused on water and innovation, especially with regard to the crucial role of water in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and the storage of water. DB Sediments’ innovative ConSed Trans-Method enables the sustainable use of water as drinking water, irrigation water, and for hydropower generation, keeping the eco-system in balance at the same time. With this method, reservoirs are kept free of sediments. This innovative approach has attracted global attention, such as from the World Bank, given its potential for global development in the critically important water sector. 

Outstanding Service Provider:

Baumann Consulting 

The German-American business community could not work as smoothly and efficiently without the support of all our service providers. With their uniquely transatlantic service concept, Baumann Consulting was honored with the 2014 MERLIN Award for Outstanding Service Provider. Baumann Consulting specializes in sustainability and engineering consulting services for the entire life cycle of buildings. Baumann combines German quality with American innovation to advance the building industry on both sides of the Atlantic, with the goal of becoming a nationally-recognized brand for energy efficiency and sustainability. Baumann actively engages in this transatlantic knowledge exchange to advance the high-performance building industry, sharing innovations and best practices with peers and partners in the sector. They are involved in the U.S. Green Building Council’s recently updated LEED v4 standard, and over the past 8 years, their over 200 projects have ranged from commercial, educational, institutional, and industrial buildings to larger scale projects encompassing entire campuses, cities and counties.

Excellence in Vocational Training

Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT²®)

Given the great relevance of a skilled workforce, GACC Midwest dedicated one of its 2014 MERLIN Awards to training & education. With their innovative approach to dual education, the Michigan Advanced Technician Training Program (MAT²®) was honored with the MERLIN Award for Excellence in Vocational Training. MAT² is an innovative and industry-defined approach to education benchmarked on the German Dual Education System, which has attracted national attention. MAT² combines classroom instruction with paid work experience in a three year program in which businesses partner with community colleges to train the next generation of industry leading technicians, who will be certified to both the highest German and U.S. standards. Initiated in 2012 with the pilot mechatronics program launched in 2013, MAT² is truly the first of its kind in the U.S., following the German model organized by a consortium of the State of Michigan, companies, and community colleges. Starting with two community colleges and 11 companies, this Public-Private partnership is poised for a dramatic expansion in 2014, adding new companies, new community colleges, new training areas, and more than tripling the number of participating students. 

"Most fun MERLIN ever!"

This is what many of our guests said after the exciting 2014 program of the gala!
And for a lot of them it turned out to be quite a late night as they stayed until midnight to dance to the sound of "The Mix," while others enjoyed mingling with friends, colleagues and business partners in an elegant and relaxed atmosphere.

And: We almost had the Beatles on stage!

As announced in our pre-MERLIN mailings, we had a little surprise planned, music-wise.

It was all about a band that got their distinctive hair cut in Hamburg. Upon arrival in the United States, they answered a reporter’s question "How do you call your hairstyle?" with "Arthur."
Our clever audience then of course guessed right: it was George Harrison from the Beatles! As most of you know, the Beatles have a very special connection to Hamburg as this is the city where they, yes got their hairstyle, and also started their rise to fame. They celebrate a special 50th anniversary this year too - Feb. 9, 2014, marked 50 years since the Beatles stepped foot inside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for their first American TV appearance! Some 74 million people tuned in – and music has never been the same since

We would have loved to get the original Beatles on stage of course, but we came pretty close with America’s premier tribute to the Beatles: BritBeat! And they fulfilled all expectations, our audience loved them, and immediately took to the dance floor!

A very special highlight for Automotive Lovers!

We would again like to thank our car sponsor AUDI for showcasing the classic R8 V10 and the brand-new A8 Limousine! These cars, brought in via the freight elevator, were definitely an eye-catcher and many of our guests used this exclusive opportunity to "test-sit" and take pictures.

Another Wonderful Silent Auction!

Our Silent Auction 2014 turned out to be yet another success! With the generous donations of our many partners and donors, we were able to offer you exciting items ranging from air plane tickets to power tools, and from delicious gift baskets to luxurious spa treatments!  

Thank you for all your donations and bids! Your contributions support the Chamber in its mission to support German-American trade and investment. We greatly appreciate your commitment to this cause!

The GACCs will publish their 2014/2015 GACCs Membership Directory this summer! We will send out our letters asking for your updated information shortly.

Enjoy New Advertising Opportunities! 

Stay tuned for exclusive advertising opportunities in this outstanding national print publicationthe go-to for government and industry decision-makers looking to do business with German-American companies – as well as in our new and improved online membership directory!

Inspiration for Innovation – GACC Midwest Member Fall Event 

Do you want to energize yourself and your employees?

Do you want to connect with members & partners?

Do you want your company to spark innovation?

Stay tuned for the following features on 09/19/2014:

  • Visionary Speaker
  • Productive Workshops on Growth & Innovation
  • Meet Peers & Partners
  • Team Building
  • Bring Your Family

    Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors 2014!