GACC Midwest ChamberBrief: September 2013 Issue

Dear Members and Friends,

Following an eventful August and first half of September, our full attention has now turned to our fall programs, as well as our new & improved Signature Event: The Executive Panel on Manufacturing and our Anniversary Wine Dinner on November 8.

The introduction of an Executive Panel on the topic “Growth Strategies for German Manufacturing and Production in the US” before the 50th Anniversary edition of our member-favorite Wine Dinner has been accompanied by brand new high-profile sponsorship opportunities. Interested in gaining exposure before leading executives and decision-makers? Download our Sponsorship Flyer or get involved in our anniversary book!

Registration for both of these events is now open! Secure your table at the Executive Panel and Wine Dinner on November 8 today!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACC Midwest team


On Tuesday, September 3, over 100 guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of our Michigan Office in Detroit. The open house was a great success, as the impressive office space shared with the Detroit Regional Chamber was filled with productive networking and energy. Opening an office in Michigan has been a goal for quite some time, and a lot of work went into making this project a reality.

Many thanks to GACC Midwest Vice Chairman Walter Maisel, our German Honorary Consul and Director Fred Hoffman, and departing Michigan Chapter President & Chairman Logan Robinson for all their support in getting this office off the ground, as well as our own GACC Midwest Board leadership and the Board of our Michigan Chapter. This would not have been possible without all of your work!

Chapter Board Updates

Both our Michigan and Wisconsin Chapters recently held Board of Director meetings, each welcoming changes to their respective Boards. In Michigan, Walter Maisel was elected as the new President & Chairman, and Fred Hoffmann Vice President Public Affairs. Thank you to departing President & Chairman Logan Robinson for all of his work over the years. Peter Kaub, Bruce Thelen and Johan Wesslen resigned from the Michigan Chapter Board; David Teolis from GM and Peter Weiss from Chrysler joined the Michigan Chapter Board.

Our Wisconsin Chapter elected 5 new Board Members at their meeting – Kurt Baumann (Armstrong & Associates, Inc.), Robert Komljenovic (Hermle Machine Company), Troy A. Lewein (GE Healthcare, Magnetic Resonance), Steven M. Schindhelm (Phillips Borowski S.C.), and Ralf Schoenfelder (Prince Minerals Inc.).

A warm welcome to all new Board members!

Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Program

Another key initiative that was coupled with our visit to Detroit was the kickoff of the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Program, a 3-year German-style dual training program for Mechatronics. The first contingent of 30 applicants are starting their training at 10 companies in SE Michigan, with classes taking place at two local community colleges. Several member companies have been instrumental in getting this program started. GACC Midwest is pleased to support this initiative as a member of the program Steering Committee, which will culminate with all graduates taking the German Mechatronics exams, including DIHK certification. 

GACC Midwest 50th Anniversary Book - Be A Part With Your Success Story

Does Your Business Offer an Outstanding and Innovative Service Portfolio?

Are you a model for success in German-American business?

Is your company is a hidden champion?

Share your story and make your success visible to the German-American business community and beyond! The Anniversary Book will be released to commemorate GACC Midwest's 50th Anniversary and will serve as both review and vision for our successful work in transatlantic relations.

Be part of our signature publication and:

  • Reach a global audience of executives and public officials
  • Use this premier platform to showcase your groundbreaking work in a unique format
  • Show your commitment to the transatlantic business community
  • Make a long-term investment in your company's visibility and

Place your ad now or make use of the fantastic opportunity to grasp the audience's attention with a compelling article about your company's success story, your outstanding service portfolio or your product innovations! Availability is limited!

Editorial Deadline: October 18. Contact Jasmin Welter ( with questions.

GACCs Announce National Partner Program

The German American Chambers of Commerce are proud to announce their new National Partner Program. Due to high demand, a new program will be introduced enabling companies to have a simultaneous membership with all three Chambers, starting January 2014. At a discounted rate, National Partners will receive all benefits of the highest membership levels of the GACC Midwest, GACC New York, and GACC South. They will enjoy additional privileges such as listing of multiple contacts/offices in national and regional membership directories, logo placements on GACC websites, special recognition in the GAT magazine, invitations to GACC events nationwide, and business referrals across the United States. More information coming shortly. In the meantime, please contact Anna Cournoyer in case of questions.

Upcoming GACC Midwest Events:

Exclusive Dinner Seminars with LEG Thüringen – October 1-2, 2013

To attract US investments to the federal state of Thuringia, Germany, the economic development agency LEG Thüringen will host 2 exclusive dinner seminars, carried out in cooperation with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest.

Attendees will learn about investment opportunities in the heart of Germany and find out how their business can benefit from a presence in Europe’s largest economy! Throughout the dinner the attendees will receive first-hand reports about business activities in Germany from industry experts.

  • Dinner seminar on Germany’s Life Sciences industry: Ann Arbor, MI on October 1, 2013.  Register here.
  • Dinner seminar Europe’s leading plastics industry: Akron, OH on October 2, 2013.  Register here.

In both Europe and the United States, values such as individual freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law are at the heart of free societies and market-based economies. But German and American public opinion on the balance between freedom and security sometimes differ, as recent debates about privacy have shown. Partnering with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, GACC Midwest is honored to welcome Harald Leibrecht for an assessment of the future of the transatlantic partnership and the challenges that need to be addressed on the way towards a free trade agreement following the German federal elections in September. Register today!

GACC Midwest will host an International Night Reception on the occasion of WEFTEC 2013, the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference.

Taking place on Monday, October 7, 2013 from 5:30–8:00pm in the NBC Tower in downtown Chicago, the International Night Reception is a great place to mingle with WEFTEC’s international audience and exhibitors. Expand your network and connect with more than 150 professionals from the water environment industry. For information on sponsorship and registration, visit our website.

GACC Midwest and Germany Trade & Invest will be present at WEFTEC to speak about the German and US water sectors, innovative German and American water technologies, challenges in the water sector due to climate change, as well as energy efficiency.

GACC Midwest will present on the German American Water Technology Initiative, a platform which was started last year for know-how, technology, and economic exchange among experts in the water sector in the US and Germany. Germany Trade & Invest will focus on water efficiency and flood protection and what this means in the context of climate change. They will also present business opportunities for US companies in the German water sector.

Fostering German Investment in the US - Germany, October 2013

Consulting Director Virginia Rounds will be presenting at the Dienstleistungsforum Bayern 2013 on October 11 on how Bavarian service companies can be successful in foreign markets. In addition to Virginia’s presentation on the USA, other countries like Great Britain, Poland, Czech Republic, China, and Russia will also be represented.

On October 15, Virginia will be doing Inhouse Beratung with the IHK Suhl, where she will visit companies to discuss their US expansion strategies and how GACC Midwest can assist them.

Companies interested in meeting with Virginia during her trips should contact her at

Virginia will also be one of two trainers (together with Karim Azaiz of the AHK Algeria) who will present a 2-day training seminar for AHK and IHK employees on the basics of market entry on October 17 and 18. This seminar has been completely revamped by Virginia and Karim and aims to give AHK employees the knowledge needed to evaluate sales-channel strategies in their respective markets as well as correctly identify potential partners for German clients.

GACC Midwest is proud to be an Event Partner of the Solar Power International (SPI) Conference & Exhibition from October 21-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Through this partnership, GACC Midwest members receive a 15% discount on SPI conference passes and SPI expo-only passes. You can register for SPI here. Enter the codes GACCMPO and GACCEXPO respectively.

GACC Midwest is also organizing a Bavarian-themed reception for Bayern International and their German solar exhibitors on the occasion of SPI. Stay tuned for more information about GACC Midwest’s involvement at SPI!

Quellenangabe: © Patrizia Tilly/Fotolia

With a focus on component suppliers and O&M companies in the wind industry, this program aims to facilitate business relationships between German wind energy companies and their US counterparts. As part of the program, GACC Midwest and GACC South will conduct a free of charge, individualized business partner search. Participating German companies will meet wind industry leaders and discuss current market developments with policy experts and other decision makers. German companies can apply for the program here.

GACC Midwest members and friends are invited to meet the German wind companies at the Wind Energy Business Conference on November 5, 2013, in Chicago. Register now!

The next Transatlantic Program - Young Technology Leaders (TAP-YTL) delegation, focused on "Automotive R&D," will offer 12 select participants the chance to explore cutting-edge developments and innovations in automobile design and production during an intensive, 8-day trip throughout Germany from November 10-18, 2013.

Do you know somebody who may be interested in this program? Please share this information with potential candidates in your network! The final application deadline is September 23!

Event and Industry Review: August/September 2013

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GACC Midwest hosted its successful Smart City Planning Conference on August 27, 2013. Thanks to our board member Dieter Schmitz, the conference could be held at the spectacular Baker & McKenzie offices overlooking Chicago.

As city planners today have to face challenges like re-urbanization, the concentration of the population in metropolitan areas, or extreme weather situations, they require integrated planning approaches leading to a smart organization and operation of cities. Our conference introduced the attendees to new technologies that can help to make Smart Cities a reality. The event featured talks about the latest developments and trends in Germany and the US, as well as presentations on innovative products and technologies from 8 German delegation companies. In addition, the attendees had ample opportunity to network and explore synergies and partnership opportunities. More details about the topics covered and our delegation companies are available on our website.

GACC Midwest On the Road

CEO Roundtable

The last week of August featured an informative CEO Roundtable, where Dieter Schmitz (Baker & McKenzie) shared his M&A expertise, leading an engaging discussion on the M&A environment and current trends. If you are interested in our CEO Roundtables, please contact Jayne Riemer-Chishty.

AHK Regional Conference in Toronto

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During their biennial regional conference, the German Chambers of Commerce in North and South America discussed their future strategies for the positioning of the German Chambers abroad as well as the promotion of German exports. Our President & CEO Simone Pohl attended the conference to represent GACC Midwest’s interest in future cooperation initiatives.

Hans-Ulrich Klose, Member of the German Bundestag, Visits GACC Midwest Office – September 5, 2013

We were honored to have Hans-Ulrich Klose, Member of the German Bundestag, Vice-Chairman of the Committee in Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, and Chairman of the German-American Parliamentary Group, together with his lovely wife Dr. Anne Steinbeck-Klose visit our offices on Thursday, September 5. Our guests at the morning roundtable discussion enjoyed Mr. Klose’s incredible perspective on current transatlantic issues, the Syrian situation, and the German elections. As W. David Braun so aptly put it in his wrap up, it was a true tour de force of politics, diplomacy, and economics.

Knowledge Exchange: Changes to Immigration Procedures that Affect German Companies in the US – September 10, 2013

GACC Midwest’s monthly Knowledge Exchange took place on September 10 as long-time GACC Midwest member and top immigration law firm Fragomen partners Michael Turansick and Kevin Aiston presented on significant changes that have already occurred in immigration enforcement policies and procedures. Additionally, Mr. Turansick and Mr. Aiston discussed current legislation targeting immigration reform and future changes this may introduce. Almost 30 members of the international business community attended this informative event, which took place in the offices of Mesirow Financial.

Get involved in our Knowledge Exchange Series!

  • Sign up for next month’s Knowledge Exchange “Updates on tax laws affecting international businesses in the US” with our member Rödl & Partner
  • Propose your own topic for a Knowledge Exchange
  • Request one of our past presentations

Vossloh is Opening Production Facilities for Fastening Systems in the USA

Vossloh AG is strengthening their presence on the American continent and opening a production location for the manufacturing of Vossloh fastening systems in the US.  The installation of the production facilities will start during the third quarter of 2013, while the commissioning of power plants and the subsequent start of production are planned for the middle of 2014.  In Waco, Texas, where the site is located, fifty new jobs will be created.

GACC Midwest assisted the firm in the search for an optimal location for the construction of a production facility. GACC Midwest worked with the development of Vossloh’s Scoring-Model for choosing a location, organized presentation and site visits, as well as gathered and analyzed site information. We are thrilled that Vossloh is convinced that the chosen site location creates an excellent base for the continued growth of their American business, and we look forward to continuing to be engaged in the progression of this important project. Press Release

Rittal Corp. US Opens New Headquarters in Schaumburg, IL

Together with Owner Friedhelm Loh and Governor Pat Quinn, GACC Midwest President & CEO Simone Pohl and VP Mark Tomkins attended the opening of the new Rittal Corp. US Headquarters in Schaumburg, IL. The 2012 MERLIN Award winner is the largest company in the owner-operated Friedhelm Loh Group based in Germany — with 11 production sites, 64 subsidiaries and 10,000 employees worldwide. Rittal relocated in September and brought 40 jobs to Illinois to better serve its US customers.

The German International School Chicago will celebrate the purchase of its school building with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 18, as well as a number of open houses throughout October and November to show up their new facilities:  

  • Thursday, October 10 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 24 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Thursday, November 7 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Thursday, November 21 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

For parents unable to attend the Open House events, private tours are available upon request; please contact GISC at 773-880-8812 or

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Read about our new Michigan Office, learn more about German-American business activity in Indiana in the State Special, and remain well-informed on trends in the German-American business community – Download GAT today!

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

Membership Fees Are Due!

Have you paid your 2013 membership dues? If not or if you are not sure, please contact Anna Cournoyer (

Our Global Network

Did you know we can support you even beyond the borders of the US? If you have questions on other markets, e.g. in Latin or South America, we can connect you with our worldwide AHK network! Contact Jayne Riemer-Chishty.

  • Management Team Assistant
  • Technical Specialist for ECM and Laser Welding
  • Special Events Management Assistant
  • Accounting Manager
  • Product Manager - Automation
  • HR Generalist
  • Technical Sales Representative
  • Accountant
  • Executive Assistant
  • VP of Human Resources
  • Sales Engineer (Machinery)
  • Service Engineer

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

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