German-American Business Stammtisch

Connecting the region and making an impact

Imagine that you find yourself in a comfortable restaurant or pub with a rustic setting, the atmosphere is filled with chatter, food, drinks and good conversation. In Germany, a ‘Stammtisch’ is a table reserved for regular customers at a restaurant or beer hall. It is usually designated by a brass plaque at the center of the table with the word “Stammtisch” printed on it in bold lettering.


copyright: JosFritz

The history of the German Stammtisch (‘round table’) goes back to the time when social and political elites, e.g. the local town’s major, priest, businessmen and successful farmers regularly gathered at a local pub to discuss matters concerning the town. Of course, discussions were often heated but at the same time, the informal setting triggered innovative ideas and projects. Today, the Stammtisch is more inclusive and people with common interests gather to connect and make an impact in their community.

This integral part of German social life, the popular ‘Stammtischkultur”, has now also transcended to the southern U.S. In the past months, GACC South members and friends, and many of those with a connection to Germany have met in South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee.

By holding these regular business Stammtische, the GACC South and its chapters are making an effort to engage the region and to connect the German-American business community in the South. After all, conversation and social gatherings connect all those with common interests.

Join us for this informal and casual way to connect and exchange opinions.We hope to see a lot of new faces at our upcoming dates!


Check for upcoming Stammtisch dates in the South:

Business Stammtisch in Tennessee:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Chattanooga, TN – Big River Grille
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Chattanooga, TN – Big River Grille
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Chattanooga, TN – Big River Grille

Business Stammtisch in Texas

Thursday, April 24, 2014 Houston, TX – Bar Münich

Business Stammtisch in South Carolina:

June – German American Business Stammtisch in Greenville, SC (tbd)
July – German American Business Stammtisch in Columbia, SC (tbd)


A European Night in Atlanta

Evening Reception with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht

On March 6, more than 70 guests and members from bilateral European Chambers in Atlanta welcomed the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht from Brussels. The evening was unique in that more than 13 European nations were represented; a profound demonstration of unity. The topic of the night was the transatlantic relationship and Commissioner De Gucht gave an update on the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Representatives and delegates of EU Chambers of Commerce and Consulates with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (bottom row, third from left)

In a roundtable discussion Commissioner De Gucht and representatives of the European Chambers focused on potential challenges and opportunities for companies in the South. They agreed that they need to liaise closer to advocate for this integrated trade deal between the EU and the U.S.

During the networking reception, Stefanie Jehlitschka, Vice President of the GACC South, welcomed the guest of honor EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht as well as other distinguished guests. Mrs. Jehlitschka gave an overview of TTIP and its importance for the region. She stated, “TTIP has been an ongoing topic for our companies located in the South, especially for the automotive and manufacturing industries.“


Stefanie Jehlitschka, GACC South Vice President with EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Greek Consul Vassilios Gouloussis.

As Greece currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Greek Consul Vassilios Gouloussis welcomed the Commissioner on behalf of the European diplomatic corps in Atlanta.

Following these remarks, Commissioner De Gucht thanked all chambers and consulates for their support of his visit. He emphasized that the dissemination of facts and raising awareness of the benefits of TTIP among companies in Georgia and throughout South were important.

The reception was a highlight for the European community in Atlanta and the GACC South and other hosting European Chambers have received overwhelming positive feedback.

The topic will also be analyzed by experts during a TTIP panel at the GACC South Annual German Mittelstand – Southern SME Forum in Greenville, on April 7.

Visit the Photo Gallery of the event. 

Restoring Trust in German-American Relations

Breakfast w/… Peter Beyer, Member of the German Bundestag

“Mutual trust is based on mutual respect,” said Peter Beyer, Member of the German Bundestag at a breakfast meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26. at the GACC South in Atlanta.

About 15 members from the German-American business community joined Mr. Beyer in a discussion about the chances and challenges of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Mr. Beyer is the CDU/CSU Rapporteur for Transatlantic Relations at the German Bundestag in Berlin.

Peter Beyer, MdB with Martina Stellmaszek, President & CEO, GACC South, German Consul General Christoph Sander

Peter Beyer, MdB with Martina Stellmaszek, President & CEO, GACC South, and German Consul General Christoph Sander

In his keynote, he outlined the potential economic impacts for both continents but also referred to critical topics, such as the NSA surveillance program and its effect on the German-American relationship and public opinion. “TTIP is an ambitious project but it is achievable,” said Mr. Beyer.

After providing a brief overview of EU-US economic history, Mr. Beyer indicated that in 2007, when Germany held the Presidency of the EU Council, first drafts of such a transatlantic deal were presented. Following the worldwide economic recession, the idea gained momentum. In fact, Mr. Beyer referred to studies by the Bertelsmann Foundation (2013), which indicate that TTIP, once implemented, would contribute to the creation of jobs, growth of economies, and most importantly, restore economic and political trust between Europe and the U.S.

In an open discussion, Mr. Beyer also touched upon the benefits of TTIP for German Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the U.S. After the talk and discussion, guests had the opportunity to network.

Breakfast with Peter Beyer

This engaging and informative breakfast event was hosted in cooperation with the American Council on Germany and sponsored by The Halle Foundation.

Please visit the GACC South image gallery to view all photos of the event.

Ringing in the New Year throughout the South!

In January, the GACC South hosted four New Year’s Receptions in Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte and Duncan to celebrate the new year and to honor longstanding members of the GACC South. 

New Year’s Reception Atlanta

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, GACC South Office Atlanta, GA

After the GACC South’s signature event had been postponed two days due to severe weather conditions, more than 150 guests gathered at the GACC South’s Atlanta office to celebrate the beginning of a prosperous New Year.


The reception was sponsored by Commerzbank AG, SIXT Rent A Car, and the breweries Lammsbräu and Krombacher, which all helped the GACC South boast with several entertainment and culinary highlights.

SIXT offered a special cocktail, and the buffet featured traditional German delicacies such as sauerkraut, bread baskets, a selection of cheeses and sausages, potato salad and many sweet treats.


A different kind of treat was the ‘foosball-lounge’, set up by Commerzbank. The playful rivalry between German-American guests running around the foosball table was definitely heated at times.

Martina Stellmaszek, GACC South President & CEO honored in her speech all membership anniversaries (10 year, 15 year, 30 year GACC South membership) and also unveiled the newly installed images of BoDs, presidents and chairmen of the organization. After this warm welcome, German Deputy Consul General Thomas Wülfing, Sascha Moser of SIXT, and Philipp Hüsgen, representing Commerzbank, addressed the crowd in the lobby.


Thank you to all of our sponsors and for everybody who made this a great night!

The picture gallery of the GACC South New Year’s Reception can be found here.

New Year’s Reception Houston

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 Houston, TX

In a casual atmosphere, members and friends of the GACC South gathered at the Cajun-style pub ‘Mojeauxs Louisiana Drinkery’ in the trendy East End district of Houston. Members of the German-American community and transatlantic friends mingled to celebrate the start of 2014. The evening was filled with networking in a laid-back atmosphere.

New Year’s Reception GACC South NC Chapter

Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, Charlotte NC

GACC South members, friends, and business associates came together at Sabine & Mike Birkle´s home in Charlotte to toast to the continuing work of the GACC South in the state.

Throughout the night, the spirit of everybody was high and the festive atmosphere was the perfect place to welcome the New Year.

GACC South NC Chapter Director Dr. Christian Kissinger addressed the crowd and GACC South Vice President Stefanie Jehlitschka honored longstanding members of the GACC South with membership certificates.

All guests agreed that this evening was the perfect opportunity to get involved with the German American business community and to support the NC Chapter.

New Year’s Reception GACC South SC Chapter

Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 Duncan, SC

What a stellar way to ring in the New Year! The GACC South SC Chapter welcomed its new Chapter Director, Mr. Vincenc Pearson, Esq. of DAA Draexlmaier Automotive of America LLC at the company’s plant in Duncan, SC.


Sam Moses (Parker Poe LLP), U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Martina Stellmaszek (GACC South), Deputy Consul General Thomas Wülfing, Vincenc Pearson (Draexlmaier Automotive of America LLC)

Among the many members and business partners who attended the sold-out event, was honorary guest Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senator for South Carolina.

Martina Stellmaszek, GACC South President & CEO delivered some introductory remarks before Senator Graham in his speech honored the presence of German companies in the region.

Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the Chapter’s new director and to demonstrate the importance of the SC Chapter, everybody toasted to the commitment of German businesses in the state and to building on the success of this network in 2014.

Swirl and Twirl: Ice Skating & S’mores

Written by: Christine Kuehl

It wouldn’t be winter without a spin on one Atlanta’s most celebrated ice rinks. On December 2, 2013, the GACC South Marketing team laced their skates and swirled away at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead. The sparkling lights, hot wine, and festive atmosphere put everyone into a Christmas mood.

Throughout this late fall, many at the Atlanta office were involved in all the 18th Annual Gala preparations. When the GACC South team heard about a planned ice-skating night at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead,  it was a real perk after all the extensive arrangements and the follow ups for the Gala.

ice skating


Even if Christmas is just around the corner, the mild weather in Atlanta makes it difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas.

But at the St. Regis with its authentic Gingerbreadhouse, the magnificent Christmas tree and the beautiful, colorful decoration, it was clear that it wouldn’t be long until the holidays.

After admiring the decoration inside, the team made their way up to the 6th floor where the ice-skating rink was installed on top of the pool. The first attempts on the ice were more or less successful. Some had to be supported with two hands. Others showed off gallant moves and turns on the ice. Provided with hot ‘Glühwein’ and a lot more training, everybody improved their skills quickly.

ice skating 2

Feeling good about burning some calories on the ice, the team deserved to eat delicious S’mores, an authentic American treat: Marshmallows heated in the fire and put between a piece of chocolate and two cookies. There were even special hazelnut and peppermint marshmallows waiting for us. It was a perfect end for an evening full of fun.

Ready, Set, Go: Oktoberfest Run 2013

Written by: Dilara Ozgonenc 

Finishing what you start may sometimes seem hard. Not so much when it is a 5k run on a motivating beautiful Sunday in Piedmont Park in Atlanta.

On October 27, 2013 ten staff members of the GACC South participated in Atlanta’s first Oktoberfest Run. If you looked close enough you could even see runners in Dirndl’s and Lederhosen. The event was organized by the German-American Cultural Foundation and approximately 120 runners participated.


For some of us it was rather a walk on a beautiful day, enjoying the sunshine, whereas others showed off by being first at the finish line. Supporters lined the streets, among them several staff members, our President & CEO Martina Stellmaszek as well as our Vice President Stefanie Jehlitschka, who both took pictures of us.


It was no surprise to any of us that our staff member Manuel won the price for being the fastest in his age group. 

As a reward for the burned calories, we indulged at the after-party while drinking German beer, eating Bratwurst and Sauerkraut.

Besides being active, staying healthy and reaching our limits, it was much fun and a great team experience.

GACC South 18th Annual Gala: A Night To Shine

At the 18th Annual Gala on November 2, the GACC South and 500 members, friends, and honorary guests toasted to the strength of the German-American business community and the GACC South’s 35th anniversary. The eclectic night was filled with warm words of applause and recognition, a Gala dinner, several inspiring speeches, an award ceremony, a live band, professional dancers, and a Silent Auction.

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Guests and members from all industries and nationalities celebrated a night of German-American relations and friendship at the St. Regis in Atlanta. It was a night to shine for all who came in their glamorous dresses and tuxedos. 

In addition, a delegation from Bremen and Bremerhaven, consisting of 30 political and industry representatives of aviation and trade, was present.Mrs. Martina Stellmaszek, President & CEO of the GACC South welcomed all guests, distinguished members, GACC South’s table sponsors, the GACC South Board of Directors, and honorary attendees.

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

Among the honorary speakers were the German Consul General Mr. Christoph Sander, Mr. Peter Fischer, Minister for Economics at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Ms. Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages-USA, who showed her gratitude to be the GACC South’s Gala’s charity partner.

In his position as Chairman of the GACC South’s Board of Directors, Mr. Martin Richenhagen, Chairman, President, and CEO of AGCO Corp., thanked the GACC South for 35 years of dedication to promoting German business in the United States and strengthening the transatlantic partnership by actively working to integrate more industries, businesses, and entrepreneurs.

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

35 years of progress: Founding of the GACC South in 1978

Following these remarks and great applause, Mr. Richenhagen and Mrs. Stellmaszek honored Dr. Eike Jordan with an award for his lifelong support and initial founding of the GACC South in 1978. Dr. Jordan was clearly moved by the standing ovations and the humorous yet informative presentation which featured pictures and highlights of 35 years of GACC South.

PWP Studio photographers specialize in corporate event photography, decor, details, incentive travel, conventions, and on-location photography in Atlanta, Georgia

The evening ended with a Silent Auction; highlights included an electric guitar signed by all members of the Rolling Stones, a Montblanc Fountain Pen, a Lufthansa flight for two, and several autographed Sports Frames by legendary athletes. 

It was a night to remember. The 19th Annual Gala will take place on November 1, 2014, when members and guests will celebrate the transatlantic community, German-American business, and success built on a strong foundation. 

The complete picture gallery of this year’s annual Gala can be found here.

Also, read the full Gala 2013 review on GACC’s website here.