7th Annual AmCham Germany Business Day

On March 10, 2016 the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V. (“AmCham Germany”), BridgehouseLaw LLP and Rueckel&Collegen hosted the 7th Annual AmCham Germany Business Day at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, recognizing 24 students of 7 U.S.-Universities who participated in the U.S.-German Internship Program to intern with a company in Germany for three months.
The main goal of the event titled “Family-Business and Entrepreneurship: Drivers of Growth and Innovation in Germany and in the U.S.” was to bring together international thought leaders form industry, academia and public policy, and to discuss both advantages and challenges of family-businesses and Mittelstand firms in the global race for innovation and technology growth.
The event started-off with a visit of the Headquarters of Chick-Fil-A, a highly-successful American restaurant chain based in Atlanta. Chick-Fil-A was founded in 1946 and has more than 1,850 restaurants today, mainly in the southeastern U.S. Mr. Stephen Franklin (Advisor) and Mr. Bubba Cathy (Senior Vice President) spoke about the policies and strategies that have made the company so successful. Later on Chick-Fil-A’s infamous chicken-sandwiches were served for lunch to the participants of this site visit.
The introductory speeches of the afternoon session held at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, were given by Dr. Christoph Rueckel (AmCham Germany Southeast USA; BridgehouseLaw LLP; and Rueckel&Collegen), Mr. Thomas Wuelfing (Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Southeastern U.S.) and Mr. Andreas Povel (General Manager, AmCham Germany). Prof. Dr. Hermut Kormann (Zeppelin-University) and Bill Moeller (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative at The White House) were the keynote speakers of this year’s conference.Their presentations were followed by a two-hour panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Torsten M. Pieper (Kennesaw State University), an academic expert on family-business. Eight panelists representing industry and academia discussed their experiences and approaches to cope with the challenges for American and German family-businesses and mid-sized firms in an international economy with opportunities and risks for sustainable growth and innovation.
This year’s panelists were:
  • Stefan Euchner (EUCHNER GmbH + Co. KG)
  • Dr. John D. Gatto (NRW.INVEST (North America), LLC)
  • Peter Hoecklin (TRUMPF Inc.)
  • Martin Richenhagen (AGCO Corp.)
  • Michaela Schobert (German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. Inc., (GACC South)
  • Arndt Siepmann (Stuttgart Regional Economic Development Corp.)
  • Lee C. Weingart (LNE Group)
  • Ulrich Zeltwanger (ZELTWANGER Holding GmbH).
The Dinner Reception included speeches held by Mr. Linhard Stepf (FrankfurtRheinMain Corp.) and Ms. Sabrina Fritz (SWR and ARD in Washington, DC) on the importance of family-business and the value of families in today’s world.
The evening program ended with an introduction of the U.S.-German Internship Program (for more information, go to:  http://www.amchaminternship.org/) by Ms. Monika Schulte (Chair Advisory Counsel; AmCham Internship Program; and Piedmont College) and the speeches of students from different universities who participated in the program. They talked about their professional experiences they gained during their internship with a German company and their cultural observations they gathered living abroad for 3 months. Some of the alumni took part in the internship several years ago and are now successful in the professional word.
Over 120 people attended the Business Day: both students and faculty members from the participating universities of the internship program and representatives of over 40 different companies participated this year.
The 7th Annual AmCham Germany Business Day turned out to be a very successful event, due to the generous help and support by various companies, schools and other institutions. Many thanks to this year’s silver sponsor AGCO Corp. and to other supporters, such as NRW.INVEST (NORTH AMERICA) LLC; Inc.; FrankfurtRheinMain Corp.; State of Indiana (European Office); Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP; LNE Group; CEPA Foundation; The Coca Cola Company; Paolo’s Gelato Italiano; as well as the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, Piedmont College, Morehouse College and Washington and Lee University.

by: Vivien Cservenka (BridghouseLaw Atlanta)

Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs