GACCoM ChamberBrief: April 2013 Issue


Dear GACCoM Members and Friends,

America’s status as an attractive investment location for Germany continues to rise. According to an investment survey by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), America has become the “rising star” among the recipients of German investment.

The results of this survey are reflected throughout our network. Whether it be the addition of two new direct flights from Chicago to Germany, a record number of exhibitors at the 2013 Hannover Fair – where GACCoM Chairman W. David Braun spoke at the Global Business & Markets conference – or the continued growth of the GACCoM network, recent developments point to one conclusion: German-American business is going strong.

With this in mind, we are excited to offer two outstanding events celebrating German-American business – our Transatlantic Business Conference and MERLIN Awards Gala on May 3rd. We hope to see you at these excellent events!

Best wishes | Herzliche Grüße,

Your GACCoM team


The continued strength of German-American business is dependent on the ability of its members to foresee and effectively respond to future events in their respective industries. Invest in your company’s future by joining GACCoM for an afternoon of German-American vision at our inaugural Transatlantic Business Conference!

The conference’s visionary dialogue will include keynote speeches by Anne Ruth Herkes, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany (BMWi), and Dr. Martin Wansleben, CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), as well as an expert panel of industry speakers. The topic of Ms. Herkes’ speech will be “Transatlantic Partnership – Opportunities & Challenges.” Dr. Wansleben will speak on “The Future of Education: Skills for Tomorrow’s Competitiveness.” Register for this invaluable opportunity to hear from industry experts today!


Conclude an afternoon of German-American vision with an evening of elegance at our 2013 MERLIN Awards Gala! Featuring a Silent Auction, cocktails & fine wines, a special anniversary menu, first-class musical entertainment, and the MERLIN Awards Ceremony, this event will be the highlight of our 50th anniversary year

Treat yourself, your spouse, your business partners, and/or your clients to this celebration event and register today! Contact Anna Cournoyer (cournoyer@gaccom.org) for more information

News From the German Chamber Network

New Representatives in the Chamber Network

In addition to Eric Schweitzer, who was elected Chairman of the DIHK (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag / Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce) in Berlin, GACCoM welcomed three new Board Members in March!

  • Ms. Ursula K. Klicker, Managing Director, Melitta System Service USA Inc
  • Mr. Tom Mitchell, President, Messe Düsseldorf North America
  • Mr. Andy F. Stecher, CEO, Plasmatreat North America, Inc.

We are also pleased to announce a new Co-Vice Chairman – Dr. Walter Maisel, President & CEO of Kostal North America. Please visit our website to see our full board list.

Our Wisconsin Chapter also welcomed a new member to its Board of Directors this month: Mr. Troy Lewein, Global MRI Advanced Application Leader, GE Healthcare.


(DIHK) – More industrial companies than ever before plan to invest abroad in 2013, and North America – primarily the US – is becoming the 'rising star' among the recipients of German investment. The favorable economic development of the last 1 1/2 years combined with decreasing unemployment figures and increasing corporate profits attracts German businesses. Due to its low energy costs, the US has gained importance as a business location – especially for energy-intensive investments. Visit the DIHK website to read the press release and download the report (German-language only).

Prof. Dr. Kurt Biedenkopf Visits the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest for an Exclusive Luncheon


On Monday, April 15, we were honored to welcome Prof. Dr. Biedenkopf, who served as the Governor of the state of Saxony from 1990 to 2002 – being reelected twice. Visiting Chicago on behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Prof Biedenkopf joined us for an exclusive luncheon talk on Germany’s Role in the Future of the Euro, as well as Current Challenges with European Governance. Being a prolific author and a highly respected voice on public policy issues in Germany and abroad, Biedenkopf negated there was such a thing as a Euro crisis. Biedenkopf looks at it as a structural issue, especially given the “youth” of the European Union and the democratic nation states it encompasses. In spite of all the challenges, Europe is definitely a worthwile project – both from a European and a transatlantic perspective, especially given the stretch of peace that has now endured longer than at any point in recent history. We thank Prof. Dr. Biedenkopf for this intimate and productive exchange of ideas.

GACCoM on the Road

Hannover Fair 2013 reported a record number of international exhibitors in the largest Hannover Fair in over a decade, demonstrating the world’s renewed interest in manufacturing as a driver of economic growth. W. David Braun, GACCoM Chairman, participated in the opening conference of Global Business & Markets, focusing on transatlantic business relations. As part of the high-ranking introductory event including Dr. Benno Bunse, new CEO of Germany Trade & Invest, Dr. Rob Smith, AmCham Germany board member, and Aaron Brickman, Acting Director, SelectUSA, Mr. Braun highlighted the potential for cooperation and investment, particularly in light of the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the opportunities for mid-sized German companies in the US and the support provided by the German American Chambers of Commerce.  The event was moderated by GACCoM Vice President, Mark Tomkins, who spent the week in Hannover meeting with German and US companies and organizations looking to expand their transatlantic activities. Watch for news coming soon on some of those initiatives!  Furthermore, Virginia Attaway Rounds, Director of Consulting Services, lead a delegation of smart-grid experts from the US to the fair.


Transatlantic Connections: New Direct Flights from Chicago to Germany

The recent addition of two non-stop flights from Chicago to Germany reflects the city’s growing importance to transatlantic business and trade. Both American Airlines and airberlin increased their investment in the Midwest with the addition of direct flights from Chicago to Düsseldorf and Berlin, respectively. GACCoM was proud to take part in the launch of each of these transatlantic flights. Together with Deputy Consul General Helmut Rausch, German Consulate, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jerry Roper, Chicago Dept. of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, American Airlines VP Chicago Franco Tedeschi, and Mike Albers AA Regional Sales Manager Mike Albers, GACCoM President & CEO Simone Pohl was invited to participate in and speak at American Airlines’ inaugural event.

Together with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce GACCoM also co-organized the “Inauguration Event of airberlin” on April 11. We welcome both companies’ investment in the Chicagoland region and their contribution to the continued growth of German-American business!



GACCoM Visits the University of Notre Dame


As part of their Community Voices series, GACCoM was invited to speak on German-American business relations at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. Ranking first in the 2013 Best Undergraduate Business Schools for the fourth consecutive year, Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and the university’s German language department offer a pool of excellent students entering the business world – and German investment in the US offers great perspectives for them. If your school, institution or organization is interested in cooperating with GACCoM, please contact Jasmin Welter, Manager, PR & Communications, at welter@gaccom.org.

Upcoming Events:


GACCoM, in cooperation with AWEA, UK Trade & Investment, and World Business Chicago is organizing an International Business Reception at the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition.

Join the global wind community on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 5:00pm at McCormick Place and conclude the first show floor day in an international setting. With more than 200 industry leaders expected, the International Business Reception is the premier place to network with the show’s internationally-focused audience. For more information and to register, please visit www.gaccom.org/en/windpower.

German Solar Energy Business Delegation to Chicago – May 16-17


From May 16- 17, 2013, GACCoM will be bringing 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. Prior to their visit to Chicago, the delegation will be in Orlando, FL for the German American Solar Energy Business Conference, organized by GACCoM’s sister office in Houston.

The delegation companies include EJOT Solar Fastening Systems, MAGE Solar AG, Schletter GmbH and Vis Solis GmbH. More information is available at www.gaccom.org/solardelegation.

A Taste of Germany: Reception & Tasting of German Sweets & Snacks – May 21


The German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. cordially invite you to an exclusive reception showcasing products from Germany.

The event will take place on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm in the Vertigo Sky Lounge of the Dana Hotel & Spa in Chicago. Don't miss the opportunity to be part of this event and meet German sweets and snacks companies. Refreshments will be served.

Please register here.


GACCoM will be accepting applications through the remainder of this week for the upcoming Transatlantic Program - Young Technology Leaders delegation for U.S. students and young professionals with a focus on "Sustainable Manufacturing”. TAP-YTL will offer 12 select participants the chance to explore sustainability innovations and solutions in manufacturing during an intensive, 8-day trip throughout Germany. The program will take place June 9 - 17, 2013.

Program points include:

  • Chemnitz: A joint examination of energy efficient production with the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology and the Institute for Management Sciences and Factory Systems, a high technology cluster. Site visit to Volkswagen Motorenwerkes, a factory that has received numerous energy efficiency accolades.
  • Saarland: A visit to the Bosch Rexroth facility in Homberg, which integrates a mix of numerous energy saving and renewable energy technologies.
  • Stuttgart: Briefing on cutting edge production machinery that save 70% on energy use.-Exclusive tour of the EOS e-manufacturing facilities

For more information, please visit our website or contact James Hollis, Renewables Project Manager, hollis@gaccom.org.

MAT2 - Michigan Advanced Technician Training Mechatronics Program – a new dual education initiative in MI – based on the German Model

As a non-voting member of the Steering Committee, the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest supports the MAT2 – Program, an innovative and industry-focused approach to education which will offer young adults a financially viable education and career pathway. Initiated by German Companies in MI and benchmarked on the German Dual Education System (Deutsche Lehre, Duale Ausbildung) MAT2 is an educational model developed in conjunction with global technology leaders, and will combine theory, practice and work to train a globally competitive workforce.

The State of Michigan will continue to support MAT2 and its vision for change, and is moving towards state-wide implementation of the Michigan Advanced Technician Training programs. Mechatronics represents the first avenue in MAT2, as MI will continue to develop and implement additional MAT2 professions in order to meet industry needs and global standards.

GACCoM’s Career Services is currently assisting Member companies to recruit top talent for the following positions:

  • Technical Manager
  • Global Key Account Manager
  • Accounts Payable Associate
  • Machine Programmer (PLCs)
  • Service Engineer
  • Application Proposal Engineer
  • Sales Engineer
  • Marketing Assistant

Please visit our website for detailed descriptions of these opportunities and application instructions! Click here for more information.


Show your support for our commitment to the German-American business community and become an Anniversary Sponsor. For more information on our individual sponsorship packages, please contact Jayne Riemer-Chishty, Director, Membership and Chamber Development, at (312) 494- 2169.

Thank you to our Sponsors!