U.S. Expansion Made Easy


The initial leap over the ‘pond’ can be an intimidating prospect for German small- to mid-sized companies. Starting operations in a foreign market is never easy or simple, especially with a time difference of at least six hours and a multi-hour – and sometimes multi-stop – flight between parent companies and local subsidiaries. But don’t fret, there’s help!

One of the most dynamic market entry services offered by the GACC South in Atlanta and Houston is what we call “Business Representation”. Developed and pioneered by the GACC South over two decades ago, numerous AHKs worldwide now offer this valuable service to companies from Germany that are looking to establish an international presence.

A Business Representation arrangement offers German companies a flexible and economical option to quickly establish a presence in the U.S. Represented companies can use the GACC’s address and be assigned a local phone number. Our GACC representatives step in to handle the day-to-day tasks and assist with the challenging situations most every new and growing business faces.

We help with essential customer service needs, order processing, license and permit applications, bookkeeping and administrative support, trade show organization, market research and numerous other sales and marketing activities. This allows companies to “test drive” the US market with a manageable initial investment.

Strategically, the Business Representation makes a lot of sense. The service can be adapted to meet a client’s individual needs. For some, the service is the ideal, short-term solution to ramp up operations for one or two years; others have relied on it as a perfect fit for their long-term U.S. goals. We have clients who have been with us for over 12 years! The service was Originally designed for companies with no local employees, but developed into a lean administrative base that companies use to support their field staff or home office employees, for example those in service or sales.

Roughly 50 clients from a wide variety of industries use this flexible solution for their initial dive into the U.S. market. In our Atlanta and Houston offices we have a total of six dedicated employees providing this service to clients. We primarily support German clients but welcome interested entrepreneurs from other European nations. Our client list has included companies from Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain and the Czech Republic, among others.

It’s a great concept with proven potential. So the only question remaining is…why not take the plunge?


The First 102 Days in Office: Meet our newest employees via haiku

The GACC South Blog is back!

We give our readers an insight into the GACC. Expect to see more posts as we ramp up our blog activity again.

Knock Knock

The GACC South hired six new team members approximately 102 days ago.

To represent their endeavors, the new employees wrote haikus.

When writing a haiku, one must be precise in their language. Our team had 17 syllables to tell a story.The syllables of their haikus add up to the approximate amount of days they have spent working at the chamber, 102.

Why 102?  We modeled this post after the frequently used “First 100 Days in Office” publication written by presidents and other official offices.

We aren’t presidents, so we kept this one a little more lighthearted.

Meet the GACC South’s newest employees and get a better idea of what they do. Click on any of the haikus to get the writers’ meanings of their poems.

Rafaela Hadba – Events Coordinator

Plan and organize
To meet, greet, learn and get wise.
Come to our events!

Kristina Stauf – Membership and Events Coordinator in the Carolinas

A great new venture
In sublime community.
I joined the upswing.

Katharina Dahm – Office Management Coordinator

Open a spreadsheet
Chew on the end of a pen
frown as if thinking.

Mahdis Gharaei – Trainee U.S. Market Entry Services

I joined the Germans
Right into Hannover Fair.
Powerpoint for life!

Catharina Schaefer – Events Intern

Our swift beginning
Led to exciting events
and formed a great team.

Robby Gadd – Communications Coordinator

GACC South,
What exactly do you do?
Quite a bit, you’ll learn.

Until next time,
Your GACC Team

Happy Holidays from the GACC South!

Dear Members, Business Partners & Friends,

From all of us, thank you for your support.
It has been a pleasure working with you and we look forward to a continued partnership in 2016.

Best wishes for a
wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

xmas photo


Upcoming Events in 2016

New Year’s Reception – NC Chapter
Friday, January 8, 2016 | 7:00pm – 9:00pm | Charlotte, NC
Event Website

New Year’s Reception – Houston
Thursday, January 14, 2016 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm | Houston, TX
Event Website

New Year’s Reception – TN Chapter
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 | Chattanooga, TN
Event Website

New Year’s Reception – Atlanta
Thursday, January 28, 2016 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm | Atlanta, GA
Event Website

Southern SME Forum
Monday, April 18, 2016 | 7:00am – 5:30pm | Savannah, GA
Event Website

Spargel Dinner
May 2016 | Atlanta, Houston, Dallas Chapter

Gateway Award
Thursday, May 26, 2016 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm | Charlotte, NC

Deutsch-Amerikanischer Wirtschaftstag
Thursday, June 16, 2016 | 8:30am – 5:00pm | Frankfurt, Germany
Event Website

New Member Reception
July 2016 | Atlanta, NC + SC Chapter

GACC South Oktoberfest
September 2016 | Houston, TX

Martinsgans Dinner
November 2016 | Atlanta, Dallas Chapter

21st Annual Gala
Saturday, November 12, 2016 | Atlanta, GA
Event Website

German American Business Outlook
December 2016 | New York, NY

GACC South Hosts Delegation in Mexico

Written by: Nicole Prybula

By popular demand from its members, the GACC South hosted a business delegation trip to Mexico from November 9th-13th, 2015. Following the accelerated interest and recent wave of investment to Mexico’s automotive market, which has made Mexico the world’s seventh largest producer of cars, the delegation focused on the automotive industry.

blog pic 1During the delegation trip, ten delegates, comprised of business representatives and economic developers, established partnerships with key market players and increased their understanding of Mexico’s automotive market.

Starting in Mexico City, the delegation was welcomed by the Mexican Secretariat of Economy and the Mexican Association for the Automotive Industry. During expert roundtables, the groups discussed Mexico’s economic and political framework.

In Puebla, the delegates visited major industry leaders such as Volkswagen de Mexico, CEDUAL, Seglo Logistics and the new Audi de Mexico training center in San Jose Chiapa.

blog pic 2The delegation also visited industrial parks in the states of Tlaxcala, Queretaro and San Luis Potosi, and met with the Ministries of the states of Tlaxcala and San Luis Potosi.

Throughout the busy week, delegates gained an exclusive insight into ‘doing business in Mexico’, and formed valuable connections with industry leaders that will be expanded into the future.

Thank you to the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mexico for their collaboration in organizing this trip, and to all of the participating companies for their support.

As the Southern U.S. continues to play a key role in connecting businesses to Latin America, the German American Chambers of Commerce of the United States, Inc. looks forward to establishing an international trade mission next year as well, targeting another Central or South American country.
blog pic 3

Honoring 20 years of Success at the 20th Annual Gala

Written by: Nicole Prybula

The GACC South celebrated a monumental milestone as we hosted the 20th Annual Gala on October 24th, 2015.

Uniting 530 elite guests at the exquisite InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, the 20th Annual Gala paid tribute to the achievements of the German-American business community of the Southern U.S. Established in 1995, it is an honor to continue this celebration 20 years later, and to witness our strong transatlantic partnership continuing to grow today.

A delightful ambiance consumed the foyer of the Grand Ballroom, as guests entered the Gala in sophisticated gowns and tuxedos, and welcomed both new and old friends with toasts of German wine & Warsteiner beer.

Guests glanced at the array of Silent Auction items, presented their best pose at the Red Carpet Backdrop, sponsored by Mississippi Development Authority, and slowly made their way into the Grand Ballroom, where beautiful gold centerpieces and sapphire lighting set an elegant mood.

President & CEO of the GACC South, Martina Stellmaszek, welcomed the room and acknowledged the dedicated support of our community and strengthening economic cooperation across the globe. Chairman of the German American Chambers of Commerce and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO Corporation, Martin Richenhagen, also recognized the cooperation of our members, not only across the South, but across the entire U.S. as well.

The GACC South was honored to welcome Dr. Peter Wittig, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United States, to the stage, who delivered inspiring words honoring the transatlantic partnership and the continued success it has brought to our community.

Following a delicious meal, a special salsa dance performance kicked off the rest of the evening with excitement. Inspired by the performers’ swaying hips, guests dashed to the dance floor immediately following the start of the band The Celebrity All-Stars’ sensational performance. The dance floor remained packed for the rest of the evening.

The highly anticipated Silent Auction added even more excitement, as guests continued submitting bids until the last second before closing. The Silent Auction showcased over 100 unique items, including an Autographed Record Album by The Beatles, a Michael Jordan Signed Sports Frame and an electric guitar signed by Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santanta and Slash, amongst other Rock n’ Roll guitar legends.

The Silent Auction’s Charity Partner, SOS Children’s Villages USA received great support in their dedication to helping orphaned and abandoned children finding homes, thanks to the contributions of our guests and the kind donations from our network.

The excitement of the evening lasted long past midnight at the “After-Party”, where guests posed with silly props in the Photobooth and danced to German Schlagermusic in front of the DJ. Thank you to Western Union Business Solutions for sponsoring this year’s “After-Party”!

The success of this year’s Gala would not have been possible without the kind contributions of our members and friends. Thank you also to our VIP Reception sponsor, DEKRA North America, Inc., our beer sponsor, Warsteiner, our logistics partner, IFF, Inc., our Official Gift Sponsor, MostlyChocolate.com, the Audi of America car displays, and to all of our Table Sponsors and Silent Auction donators.

It was certainly a night to remember. The 21st Annual Gala will take place on November 12th, 2016 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta.

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

Prost to the 12th Annual German Bierfest!

Written by Nicole Prybula

“Zicke Zacke, Zicke Zacke!! Oi Oi Oi!!!” rang throughout downtown Atlanta on Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 during the 12th Annual German Bierfest.

11958239_1019594988081040_3086539419381383382_oOver 3,000 guests poured into Woodruff Park to enjoy a taste of German culture with over 40 different kinds of Germany’s best beers, and arguably the best beers in the world.

11907200_1019595891414283_2789528415902320652_oWith giant pretzels swinging around their necks, guests spent the afternoon dancing across the park to German oompah music, some even dressed in traditional Dirndls and Lederhosen.

On the opposite side of the park, a few American traditions were infused in the festival as well, as attendees competed in Supersized Beer Pong, Cornhole and Giant Jenga.

Atlanta’s best German restaurants also joined in on the fun, delivering authentic German foods from Sauerkraut and Pretzels, to Bratwursts and Wienerschnitzels.

Thank you to Premier Events for their great organization, to all of our partners for their support, and to all of our guests who joined us in celebrating the German culture with delicious German beers, food and music.

We can’t wait until next year’s!

Check out pictures from the 12th Annual German Bierfest here. 11887835_10153252145767762_7738997688855974055_n

The GACC South Welcomes the New Members

Written by Laura Lovinger & Christiane Rudyk

On July 23rd, 2015, we at the GACC South hosted a record number of attendees at our office in Atlanta for the annual New Member Reception. Enjoying delicious Apfelstrudel & other delicacies, we welcomed the new members who have joined our organization during the last year. Additionally, our new colleague, Laura Lovinger (Membership & Events Coordinator of the Carolinas), traveled to North and South Carolina to welcome our new members in these states.

The New Member Reception at the GACC South Atlanta Office gathered a record number of 216 attendees and was generously sponsored by Paramount Transportation Systems, Inc. Also sponsored by Paramount was a raffle for a new Apple Watch, seen with the happy winner below.

gacc_nmr_2015_274The reception united representatives from across the entire Southern region, from Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia, to even a special visitor, Detlev Rünger, the new Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Atlanta, GA. He was one of the speakers at the event as well as Michaela Schobert, Director of Consulting Services. She awarded a special certificate to Peter Halpaus, in recognition for many years of devoted work for the GACC South. The Board of Directors has elected Peter Halpaus as an Honorary Lifetime member of the Board.

gacc_nmr_2015_145The great food & German beer were not the only highlights of the event, the margarita machine was definitely one of the main attractions and the eye catcher of the night. A special thank you to MVI Proplant, Inc. and Star Publishing USA, Inc./Star Cooperation for providing this special treat.

Find more pictures from the event here.

North and South Carolina

Laura Lovinger recently began the position as Membership & Events Coordinator of the Carolinas on June 15th. In the last few weeks, she had the opportunity to travel to North and South Carolina to introduce herself to our members, old and new alike!

North Carolina: 40 meet at the The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte.

The North Carolina New Member Reception took place at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte on July 16th, 2015. At the event, North Carolina Chapter Director, Dr. Christian Kissinger, welcomed members & guests to the event and organization before Laura briefly spoke on her excitement for the new role. Afterwards, traditional foods such as Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, and Kartoffelsalat were served at this local German-style brewery.

2015-07-16 18_35_55

Find more pictures of the North Carolina New Member Reception here.

South Carolina: 45 meet at the BMW Zentrum in Greer

The South Carolina New Member Reception took place at the BMW Zentrum in Greer on July 30th, 2015. At the event, South Carolina Chapter Director, Vince Pearson, provided welcoming remarks before Laura briefly introduced herself to new members and guests. Surrounded by a variety of cars produced by the Bavarian auto manufacturer, Bratwurst sliders, Kartoffelknoedel, Gurkensalat, and rum raisin Dutch pancakes were served as refreshments.


Find more pictures of the South Carolina New Member Reception here.

The GACC South Company Outing Gives to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter

Written by Nicole Prybula

Once a year, Houston and Atlanta colleagues unite for the GACC South company outing to enjoy each other’s company outside of our traditional work environment. This year, the GACC South staff embraced their inner child for a day of puzzles, riddles and challenges to earn toys for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.

Starting off with a traditional German breakfast in the board room, Nutella and Fleischsalat charged everyone’s brains to prepare for a day full of activities. Each department utilized this time together to share updates on the outlook and planned programs for the rest of the year.

Following breakfast, the Porsche Board Room transformed into ‘Arts & Crafts’ time, as everyone decorated their own “Jutebeutel”. From flowers to college mascots, everyone’s innovative creativity showed through the cut out potatoes and fabric paint.

Fueled with energy and excitement, the group then packed a large cooler and headed to Piedmont Park to enjoy the rest of the beautiful, sunny day outdoors.

The GACC South teamed up with Atlanta Challenge LLC to complete a scavenger hunt around Piedmont Park that included photo challenges, brain teasers, code deciphering and even some rapping.

Split up into teams of 6, each team utilized each other’s strengths and appreciated each other’s differences to combine brain power and complete each task within the allotted amount of time.

In the end, every team was a winner as each team used their earned points to choose selected toys to be donated to the Atlanta Children’s Shelter. We are overjoyed to contribute to such an admirable organization and to provide joy to homeless children across Atlanta.

Lessons of the Day:

  • When we share tasks, we can work more efficiently
  • How to multitask (walk, navigate, solve a puzzle, search for clues & snap a picture at the same time)
  • A few of the GACC South colleagues have some mad rapper skills
  • How to fit 6+ people in one selfie shot

Thank you to our colleagues, Katja, Katrin & Konstantin for their great planning of this year’s company outing!

GACC South Consulting Paints the Town Red… and White and Blue and Black

Written by Amy Merrill

Recently the GACC South’s Consulting Team had the chance to discover their inner Picassos. Each quarter, we abandon our desks and phones after hours in order to relax and take part in a little non-work-related team building. For the most recent outing, the Team gathered at the studio of local Atlanta business Dip’n Dab to spend an evening of creative fun with paint and canvas.

With helpful hints from our Dip’n Dab instructor, we created our masterpieces based on the example artwork selected for the evening. Inspiration struck and our ten artists-in-residence made the canvases their own, expressing their individual taste and style in a palette of white, red, blue and black. Each turned out as unique as their creators, but I think they all revealed the hidden talents of our consulting staff. As I am sure you will agree.


From the semi-post-modern “Flamingo De-constructed” to the romantic expressionism of “The Lovebirds” (both humans and actual birds) to the unintentionally abstract “Squird,” the paintings displayed a remarkable range of creativity, as well as a preference for thinking outside the box – or canvas, as the case may be.

Did I mention that the title of the example piece was “Girl with Balloons”?

Who knew the GACC South harbored so much artistic potential in its midst? In the end, and most importantly, the experience was a great chance to both indulge our painterly muses and have fun as a team outside the office. Another successful outing accomplished – and we all got to take home a lovely work of art to show for it.


GACC South Consulting Client Wendt & Kühn Turns 100!

Written by Amy Merrill

Founded in October 1915, Grünhainichen-based manufacturer and long-time GACC South Consulting client Wendt & Kühn is celebrating a full century in business this year. Yes, 2015 is definitely the Year of the Angel – the Grünhainchen Angel with its distinctive green wings and eleven dots, that is. We know you will join us in wishing our friends in the beautiful Erzgebirge region of Germany a very good year, with many more to come.WK01
And it has been an eventful century to say the least. The 25th anniversary year, 1940, occurred in the shadow of World War II, during which Wendt & Kühn stayed in business and out of direct participation in the war by creating model ships. During the era of nationalization, the company was renamed “VEB Werk-Kunst” but was returned to the Wendt family in July 1990. Since then, Wendt & Kühn has focused on growing and reestablishing the company.


More recently, Wendt & Kühn’s figurines appeared in the 2013 Hollywood movie Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the beloved author of the Mary Poppins children’s books. What is the secret to success for Wendt & Kühn? Now in the third generation of the Wendt family, the company maintains its focus on tradition, craftsmanship and quality. The designs were originally created by Grete Wendt, who founded the company with her classmate at the Royal Saxon School of Art in Dresden, Grete Kühn, and are still being used today to produce the famous, handcrafted and -painted figurines.
WK03To celebrate the big occasion, Wendt & Kühn has planned numerous events and anniversary product promotions. Many of the events will take place in the company’s “birthplace” and home town of Grünhainichen. October will naturally mark the highlight of the year’s events, which feature the opening of a new interactive world of figurines and a grand jubilee celebration in Dresden. Retailers, friends and long-time collectors of the brand from all around the globe will join Wendt & Kühn to take part in the festivities.

The “Anniversary Edition” pieces were first unveiled in the U.S. in the early weeks of January at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market. Retailers were granted an early glimpse of the centennial year’s new releases, which included a specially designed Anniversary Angel, a grand 72-tone music box and limited edition pieces highlighting Wendt & Kühn’s history and achievements. Wendt & Kühn also brought back the very first designs created by Grete Wendt in 1913: the award-winning 3 Berry Pickers.WK04

The partnership between the GACC South and Wendt & Kühn has not quite reached a century, but at 12 years is still quite an achievement. The GACC Consulting department and Business Representation Team has assisted the company in expanding their U.S. business by attending trade shows, processing orders, facilitating customer relationships and administrative support. The GACC South has been honored to share in even a small part of Wendt & Kühn’s success story. Congratulations!