GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: November 2014 Issue

Dear Members and Friends,

Thank you all for attending our Skills Initiative Spotlight Panel and the Annual Executive Wine Dinner last Friday so numerously! Those of you who were there already heard the great news: We announced ICATT-Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training, a new Skills Program, which is to launch in summer 2015!

Our team just came back from Troy, Michigan, where we hosted an Auto Supplier Delegation from Germany from Nov 10-12. On Tuesday, American companies had the unique chance to meet the twelve participating German firms for a breakfast conference and to learn firsthand about the latest innovations and technological advances from Germany, as well as explore opportunities for partnerships with German industry leaders. 

Thank you to all headquarters of German subsidiaries in the U.S. who participated in our German American Business Outlook (GABO)! If you are interested in learning about their views on the U.S. as an investment location and this year especially about their opinion on the transition toward Industry 4.0/the Smart Factory, Skilled Workforce, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - join us at the results presentation on December 8 in New York City!

Christmas is in the air: We are excited to announce our Christkindlmarket’s second location in Oak Brook at Oakbrook Center, opening on November 28! Visit us there or come and celebrate 19 years of Christkindlmarket Chicago with us at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago starting on November 21. On this occasion we would like to introduce you to Maren Priebe, Vice President & Managing Director of German American Services, Inc. - organizer of the Christkindlmarket - in this month's Staff & Services Spotlight.

We hope to see you at one of the Christkindlmarkets or our other upcoming events such as the Knowledge Exchanges, the celebration of GHTC® - the German High Tech Champions Award in Medical Imaging, and the Jingle Mingle Networking Reception!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team


We have exciting news! At the Skills Initiative Spotlight Panel last Friday we announced our latest project: ICATT - Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training. GACC Midwest’s tailor-made training program ICATT addresses the needs of manufacturers in the northern Illinois region. Their challenge in finding skilled workforce led to design of this unique training program, a company driven approach to Technical Training.

Following the structures and worldwide recognized standards of the German Dual Model of Vocational Training, this three year program combines on the job training in companies and theoretical training at a college for the profession of Industrial Technician.

Especially smaller companies will profit from the bundling of resources and will be able to train their own workforce according to their needs with this program.

If you are interested in learning more about this, please contact our new Skills Director, Mario Kratsch and take a look at the Fact Sheet.

Thank you all for your unprecedented interest and your numerous contributions to this year's GACC Midwest Report The Age of Innovation! Stay tuned for its publication in late December! Want to learn more about our publication? Contact Jasmin Welter!

GACC Midwest Review:

From left to right: Mario Kratsch, Mark Tomkins, Uwe Krueger, Girish Seshagiri, Jayne Riemer-Chishty

Moderated by Mark Tomkins, Vice President of GACC Midwest, the panelists presented current and future skills projects in the Midwest

Michigan’s Advanced Technician Training (MAT²®) Program was represented by Uwe Krueger (President & CEO of FTE automotive North America). The MAT²® program is an educational model developed in conjunction with global technology leaders to combine theory, practice and work, to train a globally competitive workforce. It offers a standardized curriculum for a 3-year training in accordance with the dual training model in Germany (mechatronics, product design & visualization, IT). So far, 30+ mid-sized companies and 3 community colleges are participating in the program. 

CICESS – Central Illinois Center of Excellence for Secure Software was presented by Girish Seshagiri (CEO of AIS, Peoria). This German-style dual training for secure software development in Peoria, IL, is a new initiative launching in 2015. Participating companies include AIS, Dell, and Illinois Mutual Insurance. GACC Midwest is on the steering committee led by local industry partners. The U.S. Department of Labor is also involved as possible registered apprenticeship.

Mario Kratsch, GACC Midwest's new Director, Skills Initiative, introduced ICATT – Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training for the first time! This new initiative is launching in 2015 and will feature a German-style dual training for Industrial-Technician / CNC-Technician at U.S./German SMEs. Please find more information on the program here.

The presentations were followed by a very lively discussion with a highly engaged audience. It was obvious that securing a skilled workforce is a very pressing topic and GACC Midwest is looking forward to making this one of its top priorities!

At our Annual Wine Dinner after the panel, we got to enjoy a superb selection of wines by our generous sponsor Udo Heinz Consult, accompanying a delicious 7-course menu by German chef Martin Knaubert. The wines were introduced by our MC Matt Soraci who led through the evening with humorous anecdotes. Our guests truly enjoyed a wonderful evening in the majestic and fully booked Glass Room at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton!

A highlight of the evening was the tribute to our anniversary members:

  • Corbett, Duncan & Hubly PC        5 years
  • Hannover Fairs USA, Inc.              5 years
  • McGladrey, Inc.                                5 years
  • MPDV USA, Inc.                            10 years
  • Carus Corporation                        25 years
  • Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP 25 years
  • American Airlines, Inc.                 30 years
  • Lufthansa German Airlines       50 years

We really appreciate your commitment and would like to thank you for your outstanding support over the years!

We would also like to thank our Wine Dinner Sponsors:

  • American Airlines
  • Christkindlmarket Chicago & Oak Brook
  • Fragomen
  • Hannover Messe
  • Lufthansa
  • Porter Wright

GACC Midwest on the Road

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest hosted twelve German automotive supplier companies this week providing each a unique opportunity to explore the U.S. automotive market.

These companies represent innovative technical production and process optimization technologies designed and targeted for the automotive industry. Each of them was paired with potential strategic business partnerships and new customers, helping them decide if the U.S. market is a fit for them.

The visit to the greater Detroit metropolitan area, the heart of the U.S. industry, took place from November 10-12. The program included a conference with an inspired keynote speech from Birgit Behrendt, Vice President, Global Programs & Purchasing Operations, Ford Motor Company. Besides the business conference, individual business meetings were organized for the German companies which should pave the way for future market entry. A major part of the meetings was organized by Ford Motor Company and conducted at a German Mittelstand Supplier Networking event where each German participant was connected with a Ford employee active in purchasing or engineering and one of Ford’s tier 1 briefings and seminars with industry experts.

The project was sponsored by the German Ministry of Economics and Energy in the context of the Ministry's market development program for small to medium-sized businesses. 

Nic Susta, Manager Site Selection and Consulting Services, visited Germany in early November 2014 to meet with German companies, attend a M&A conference in Nuremberg, and represent the Chamber at the GlobalConnect trade fair for internationalization in Suttgart (home of Daimler/Mercedes and Porsche) as well as Exporttag Bayern 2014 (export day Bavaria) in Munich (home of BMW). 

He toured companies of all sectors and advised German CEOs, international department heads, and inventors on how to enter the U.S. market. Most were interested in market research, finding U.S. business partners, virtual offices at GACC Midwest, and site selection to start or increase their U.S.-sales.

Our October Knowledge Exchange explored international transfer pricing requirements for both the IRS and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). This topic is of special importance because both agencies have increased scrutiny of companies and transfer pricing documentation over the last several years. Experts from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Corbett, Duncan & Hubly, PC jointly hosted and presented at the event in Schaumburg.

The Innovation Seminars focused on Energy Efficiency in Transportation Systems took place in the last week of October at four renowned Midwestern Universities.

During the transatlantic knowledge exchange at the Michigan State University, the University of Toledo, The Ohio State University, and University of Kentucky students were able to explore cutting-edge technology from Germany.

German representatives from the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change, FOGTEC Fire Protection, HELLA, IAV Automotive Engineering, ProEmion Telematics Systems, and Siemens Rail Way Division presented on the latest developments in their industry. The seminar and following networking reception were a great opportunity for students and professionals to connect with German companies and institutions and explore collaboration and career opportunities

Simone Pohl Visits IHK Swabia, Germany

In October, our CEO Simone Pohl met with the IHK Swabia to discuss several ideas for even closer cooperation. Moving forward, GACC Midwest is planning on working more closely together with the IHKs in Germany to facilitate market entry into the U.S.

In-house consultations for German companies interested in U.S. expansion, more information about German-American business relations, and a close exchange regarding the topic of skille workforce through dual vocational training were among the topics discussed,

From left to right: Dr. John Gatto, Mario Soos, Simone Pohl, W. David Braun

The Wisconsin Chapter of GACC Midwest hosted a Member Open House at GE Healthcare Magnetic Resonance Center on October 9, 2014 in Waukesha, WI. Mr. Troy Lewein, MRI Advanced Applications Leader at GE, welcomed the group of around 40 participants with an introduction to GE Healthcare, its initiatives and its strong partnership with Germany.

The Open House included special guest Mr. Mario Soos, Deputy Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany who offered insight to the current state of German-American relations followed by a discussion. The evening was rounded out with a presentation by Amy Gallenberg, Clinical Program Manager of the GE/NFL Collaboration, on “Current Topics in Healthcare – The Partnership between GE Healthcare and the National Football League (NFL) in Concussion Research.” The event concluded with a showcase of the GE Healthcare MR demonstration rooms.


Everyone in Chicago loves the annual Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza! Few of you might know that it is actually organized by a subsidiary of GACC Midwest.

Meet Maren Biester Priebe, Vice President & Managing Director of German American Services, Inc., also known as GASI. Maren joined the GASI team in September 2006, when it was just her, an intern, and Ray Lotter, the founder of the Christkindlmarket Chicago.

In March 2013, Maren became Managing Director and this year’s Christkindlmarket Chicago is the 9th market she is organizing. During her time with GASI she introduced numerous activities with cultural and traditional backgrounds like the Advent Calendar noontime event, Stammtisch table reservations, the Kinder Korner and many more. This year, she is most excited for the revival of the Christkindlmarket Oakbrook, which will be the Christkindlmarket’s second location and clearly proves its huge popularity among visitors and vendors alike. The Christkindlmarket is the most festive spot in town and the perfect place to host a reserved table or book a full reception for colleagues, business partners, friends and family. Make sure to visit the Christkindlmarket Chicago, Oakbrook or both markets this year and wish Maren and her team Seasons Greetings.

Also stay tuned for the Christkindlmarket’s 20th anniversary in 2015! There will be numerous special events and surprises.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the most popular glass ornament sold at the Christkindlmarket is in the shape of a pickle? 

Photo Credit: City of Chicago

It’s that time of year: The Christkindlmarket Team would like to invite you to stop by Daley Plaza to visit the 19th annual Christkindlmarket Chicago, opening on November 21!

Besides the customary, authentic novelties & edible specialties which only come once a year, new vendors and beloved German Imbiss foods such as Döner kebabs will be available. In addition to the obligatory mug of Glühwein in the 2014 collectable mugs, children will be excited to have their own official Kinder Korner snowman mugs. Check out the full listing of vendors, events, and appearances by Chicago’s Christkind on the market’s Facebook page and brand new website.

The Christkindlmarket is also very pleased to announce its expansion this year to include a second location in the heart of Oakbrook Center in the western suburb of Oak Brook, IL. Like its parent event, the Christkindlmarket Oakbrook will feature the recognizable Nuremberg styled candy cane striped wooden huts as well as unique and traditional food and gift vendors. Opening on November 28 and also running through Christmas Eve, the market is a great addition to the ever popular Chicago original.     

Christkindlmarket Chicago & Oakbrook
Phone: (312) 644-2662; Email:

Upcoming GACC Midwest Events:

Upcoming Knowledge Exchanges

Register today for the last two Knowledge Exchanges of 2014!

  • On November 20, Peter Schallmoser, Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch, will present on strategies to ensure a healthy financial life in retirement and discuss best practices on how companies can comply with their fiduciary responsibilities. Click here for more information and registration.
  • On December 11, Ned Leiby, Managing Director at WTP, will present on strategies to uncover hidden tax incentives for businesses in Oak Brook. Click here for more information and registration.

You are invited to join us for an exclusive dinner and networking celebration of this year's GHTC® - the German High Tech Champions Award in Medical Imaging taking place on December 2, 2014 on the occasion of the 2014 RSNA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. 

The GHTC® Award in Medical Imaging will be granted by Fraunhofer - Europe's largest organization for application-oriented research - to five groundbreaking German technology developers for their innovations in the field of medical imaging.

Join us on this occasion to meet the award recipients and learn about the latest and upcoming technological advances in medical imaging, network with esteemed medical industry and research contacts, explore opportunities for new business collaboration, and establish foundations for international engagement in the field of medical imaging.


On December 4, Prof. Stephan F.  Wernicke, Chief Legal Officer of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), will join us from Germany to discuss “Law - Made in Germany”.  On this occasion, we will hold an exclusive breakfast roundtable discussion where Prof. Wernicke will discuss this important topic. The discussion will reach well beyond comparative law aspects: Key issues of the current perspective on US Law include the ongoing EU-US negotiations on  the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), specifically regarding arbitration, and recent developments in the area of class actions (business and human rights, Kiobel, BP).  Please visit our event website to view Prof. Wernicke’s bio, material regarding “Law – Made in Germany”, and specific event details. Space is limited.

Thank you for your participation in the German American Business Outlook!

We are currently reviewing the results which will be publicly announced on December 8 at Thomson Reuters on Times Square in New York City. We will shortly notify the lucky winner of our raffle to attend the results presentation. You can still register here!

The program includes a Welcome, Opening and Keynote address, the presentation of the survey results, as well as an industry panel moderated by Rob Cox (Thomson Reuters):

  • Dr. Hans-Ulrich Engel,
    CEO North America & Global CFO, BASF Corporation
  • Dr. James Sharp, 
    President, Carl Zeiss Inc., Carl Zeiss Microscopy LLC
  • Detlev von Platen, 
    President & CEO, Porsche Cars North America
  • Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, 
    Chairwoman, Wittenstein Holding Corp

A special highlight is the presentation of the GACCs Award “Trainee of the Year,” followed by a cocktail reception.

For sponsorship opportunities, including being featured on the Thomson Reuters’ jumbotron at Times Square, please contact Jasmin Welter

Join us for a Special Edition of our European Networking Reception in the Festival Tent at the Christkindlmarket Chicago!

Get into the christmas spirit with warm Glühwein, traditional pretzels, sweet and savory treats and more and mingle with your fellow colleagues from Chicago's unique European business community!

Christkindl Market Start Dates:

We are excited to announce the first two confirmed panelists:

  • Adolfo Laurenti, Chief International Economist at Mesirow Financial
  • Michael Backfisch, Head of the News Desk at Thueringer Allgemeine Zeitung

Learn about their economic outlook for 2015 and hear our keynote speaker, the Honorable Dr. Peter Wittig, newly appointed Ambassador of Germany to the United States!

Right in time for the fall, we are happy to announce the release of the 3rd German American Water Technology Magazine. Start the wet season with an exciting read about current and future developments in the German and the U.S. water sectors, innovative water technologies, and how to take your water technology business global!

German International School Chicago and the DANK Haus welcomed over 600 people (including over 250 children) to their annual autumn celebration.
Kids had fun personalizing their very own lanterns, adults enjoyed a beer or glühwein, and everyone had a chance to munch on pretzels and other delicious goodies.
Finally, everyone headed out to walk with their lanterns in the St. Martin’s parade in Lincoln Square and sing songs at Giddings Plaza. It was a fun afternoon for all!

Platinum Sponsors 2014

ChamberBrief Sponsors

Open Positions:

  • Regional Sales Engineer (Industrial Components)- Greater Chicago
  • Sales Engineer (Prototyping Solutions)- Ann Arbor
  • Head of Sales (Telematics)- Greater Chicago
  • Field Sales Engineer (Electromechanical components)- Greater Detroit
  • Plant Manager (3D Printing)- Greater Detroit
  • Inside Sales Rep- Cleveland
  • Sales Administration Manager- Chicago (Home office)
  • IT Consultant/Project Manager- Greater Chicago
  • Finance/HR Manager- Greater Detroit
  • Business Development Manager- Louisville, KY

    For details, contact Justin Flaxbart, Manager, Career Services, or visit our website.

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