Written by: Alina Bikineyeva
I have just started working for the GACC South here in Atlanta at the end of January and was immediately whisked away to the automotive world, the main culprit being the German Automotive Delegation that took place just a few weeks ago (March 11 – 15, 2013). The GACC South Consulting department was busy organizing industry-related tours and events, in addition to the personalized one-on-one meetings for each participant.
The delegation itself was a collaborative effort between the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology in Germany and the GACC offices in Atlanta and Chicago. For the first half of the week, the participating companies explored Detroit in all of its glory. On Tuesday evening the companies landed in Atlanta and were greeted by the President & CEO of the GACC South, Martina Stegmeier on Wednesday morning. For me, it was exhilarating to finally meet the people that I had been in contact for so long while preparing their trip.
After the morning reception and some southern food for lunch the participants headed back to our offices to discuss the topics of site selection and the southern business culture in general.
In the early evening of that same day we headed to the Georgia Resource Center where Tommy Wade and Mike Staples, who are both engineers in the economic development department at Georgia Power, showed off the incredibly fascinating gadgets and tools available to the business world in Georgia. We were all amazed at the advances technology has made! The busy day was wrapped up with a cocktail reception at the offices of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLC.
On Thursday, March 14, the delegation headed to Alabama to fully experience the presence of Mercedes Benz in the state. They were greeted at the plant by the President & CEO of Mercedes Benz US International, Inc., Markus Schaefer. A highly informative factory tour followed. Afterwards, the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority warmly welcomed the delegation at the local Country Club, where they exchanged pleasant banter over dinner and drinks.
In addition to all the chamber-organized group events, we were also able to bring our participants together with companies such as BMW, Honda, Johnson Controls, Borbet, and Brose for individual business meetings. The feedback we have received from the companies was very positive and I am proud to have been part of the organization of this delegation.