German rocketry meets German-American business

The week before last, the GACC South brought together over a hundred members and chamber guests to its Annual General Meeting at the Westin in Huntsville, Ala. Attendees heard a series of speakers and panels discuss business relations between Germany and the United States and economic forecasts specific to our region during the all-day event on May 7.

Keynote speakers included John Norris, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Management at Oakworth Capital Bank, and Vice President of Operations Assembly at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. Mr. Rolf Wrona, amongst others.

The evening’s Executive Dinner reception took place at the U.S. Space and RocketCenter, where the GACC South’s Board of Directors election results were also announced. We would like to send our congratulations to the following new additions to our Board: 

  • Mr. Thomas Ginschel
    President & CEO of Hettich America, LP
  • Dr. Eike Jordan
    President of Jordan Inter Consult
  • Mr. Michael G. Sauer
    Senior Vice President of BVT Real Estate Development, Inc.
  • Mr. Felix von Nathusius
    President & CEO of IFA Rotorion North America, LLC
  • Mr. Russ Wheeler,
    President of Hansgrohe, Inc.

The Vice President of Research at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Dr. John Horack, also made some informal introductions before the dinner, commenting on the important scientific relationship our two countries share and that began in Huntsville some 60 years ago.

Shortly after World War II, a wave of German scientists immigrated to the city in the north of the Heart of Dixie to continue their rocketry research. The team, led by now-celebrated scientist Wernher von Braun, put American astronauts on the moon in 1969 and laid the foundations for the work that eventually gave Huntsville the nickname “Rocket City.” Huntsville has become a mecca of engineering and space research over the past six decades, and currently has one of the highest concentrations of scientists and engineers in the country – giving this year’s AGM attendees a bit of a history lesson as well.

Some members of our Board of Directors outside of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, from left: Peter Halphaus; Russ Wheeler; Thomas Harrold, Jr.; Dr. Christian Kissinger; Martina Stegmeier; Martin Richenhagen; Dennis Wagner; Rudi Herbst; Thomas Ginschel; Dr. Eike Jordan; Traute Malhotra; Teri Simmons; and Wolfgang Hartert

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center got its start with renowned German scientist Wernher von Braun, who immigrated to Huntsville in the 1950s.

To see more pictures from this year’s Annual General Meeting, please visit our web album here. A complete list of the GACC South’s Board of Directors can also be found here.

One thought on “German rocketry meets German-American business

  1. Pingback: The Martina camp’s first 100 days | German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc

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