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 Thank you to our Speakers!

We would like to thank all of our speakers for their support of the German-American Business Forum 2019.

Gerrit leads GACC Midwest’s Consulting & Corporate Development Services team for entry, strategy, growth, and business transformation for companies, particularly European mid-caps, for the US market. His work ranges from corporate market entry strategy, virtual offices, M&A, market research, and site selection to growth strategy, business partner search, and cultural differences. Prior to joining the GACC Midwest, Gerrit held a leading role in establishing the US presence for a mid-sized German consulting agency, where he was responsible for the US operations and serving clients across a diverse set of sectors. He holds the equivalent of an MBA with a specialization in Brand Management, Sustainability, and Strategic Management from the University of Bremen.

Gerrit Ahlers
Director, Consulting & Corporate Development Services, GACC Midwest




Achim Brommer

Managing Director / Sales Department, SHW Storage & Handling Solutions GmbH

After completing his engineering studies, Achim Brommer initially worked in sales and later as head of product management in the mechanical engineering industry. When SHW Storage & Handling Solutions GmbH, the former division of process engineering of Schwäbische Hüttenwerke, founded in 1365, was offered for sale in 2006, Achim Brommer took over the company. Since then he has worked there as a managing partner.


In 2016, SHW-SHS GmbH founded an American subsidiary, SHW Storage & Handling Solutions Inc., in Atlanta, after SHW SHS GmbH had successfully supplied the American market from Germany since the 1990s and was able to install more than 100 reference systems there during this time.

Dr. Crane serves as the chief political correspondent at DW TV and the host for the DW talk show “Quadriga”. In 2014 she was awarded the Steuben-Schurz Media Award for her service to transatlantic understanding. Dr. Crane studied history and political science at Brown University and law at Harvard. She wrote her dissertation on the political economy of development assistance at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. As International Affairs Consultant to the discussion show “Sabine Christiansen” she produced interviews with Kofi Annan, Bill & Hillary Clinton, George Bush and many others. She also has worked for the “New York Times Magazine,” ”The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine,” “The Boston Globe,” the “Christian Science Monitor” and German newspapers and magazines.

Dr. Melinda Crane

Chief Political Correspondent Deutsche Welle TV, TV-Producer and Journalist

Dr.-Ing. Arne Dethlefs is CEO of Garz & Fricke Inc. located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Head of Production at Garz & Fricke GmbH in Hamburg. In this role, he is responsible for both, the company's own electronics production and equipment assembly for Human Machine Interfaces and components for vending machines, as well as industrial engineering. Previously, he worked as a senior engineer at the Institute of Machine Tools and Factory Operation of the Technische Universität Berlin and as a project manager at the Fraunhofer IPK. He studied mechanical engineering at the Hamburg University of Technology and received his doctorate in 2015 with a thesis on the basics of vibratory finishing at the TU Berlin.

Dr. -Ing. Arne Dethlefs 

CEO, Garz & Fricke Inc.

Andreas Essendorfer, son of local farmers, was born in 1972 in Bavaria, Germany. He grew up in a down-to-earth environment surrounded by familiar traditional values. On his many journeys all over the world, Andreas Essendorfer not only climbed every mountain and sailed with every ship, but also looked into every cooking pot - preferably into the pots far back on the stove. In doing so, he discovered above all else the art of making the valuable things in life accessible through culinary innovation.

Andreas Essendorfer has combined this old knowledge with the best ingredients of fresh and regional products, craftsmanship and a quantum of culinary coolness. In this way, he combines taste with history, which puts a smile on every face.

Andreas Essendorfer

Owner and General Manager/COO, Essendorfer Genussschmelzerei GmbH


Since joining Gerresheimer Medical Systems Regensburg in April of 2018, Nadine Hellmig has taken over the role of Head of HR International.


Nadine is working with the international HR Partner of the global Gerresheimer facilities. Her main task is the implementation of the corporate structures and processes. She is also working in global projects, for example, the implementation of the apprenticeship programs in the US in collaboration with the local Head of HR.


Further tasks are the management of the international Assignments within Gerresheimer as well as Expatriate Management.

Nadine Hellmig

Head of HR International, Gerresheimer Regensburg GmbH


Alex is the chair of Squire Patton Boggs’s German Practice and leading a group of 100+ professionals globally, including in our three German offices in Berlin, Boeblingen and Frankfurt.  He licensed to practice in both the US (California) and Germany. As a native German, Alex has been practicing in the US since 1996. Prior to moving to the US, Alex practiced in Germany where he represented clients in general civil and commercial litigation matters.  Today, his successful litigation practice in the US and abroad is centered on the automotive, technology and energy industries. Alex handles complex, commercial, products liability and intellectual property litigation, with an emphasis on the defense of German and other European manufacturers in US courts.

Dr. Alexander Imberg 

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs LLP

Manuel Merkt began his industrial engineering background through a 3.5-year dual apprenticeship program with Hermle AG in Germany. Afterwords, he received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Applied Science Constance, Germany as well as a Bachelor of European Engineering Studies from Coventry University in the UK.

In 2010, Manuel relocated to the US and served as Executive Assistant at Hermle’s North American HQ. In 2014, Manuel was promoted to the Operations Manager and in 2016 he was promoted to Executive VP Operations at Hermle USA. Just two years later Manuel was promoted to President & COO and is now heading of the Executive Management Team of Hermle USA, Inc.

Manuel Merkt

President & COO, Hermle USA Inc.


Ralf Moosmann started his career in engineering in 2005 as a mechatronics apprentice. After finishing the program in 2008 he worked as an assembler for 5-axis CNC machines. He finished his training to become a state certified engineer of mechatronics and automation technology successfully in 2011. In 2010 he started working for Hettich Centrifuges and was responsible for the apprenticeship program and designing test and assembly equipment. End of 2015, he got the chance to set up the apprenticeship program based on the German model as a pilot project for all foreign locations of IMS Gear. Since 2019 he has been working at IMS Gear in Germany and is responsible for the training and apprenticeship programs of the Americas locations.

Ralf Moosmann 

Apprenticeship Coordinator Americas, IMS Gear SE & Co. KGaA

Susanne Rehse has been working with the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. since February 2011. As of January 1, 2019, she stepped into the role of Executive Director of the Philadelphia office. Previously, Susanne held the position of Senior Manager, Business Development Consulting in the New York office and was responsible for market entry consulting in the Northeastern United States. Through the years, Susanne supported numerous German companies and organizations with a variety of services including market research, virtual office, business partner search, delegation trips, and events. Susanne studied Business Administration at Cologne University of Applied Sciences and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She also completed an apprenticeship in office communication with Deutsche Telekom AG in Cologne, Germany.

Susanne Rehse

Executive Director, German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Philadelphia 


Daniel Schultze began working for Tresky Gmbh in 2007 as a Sales Director. In this role, Daniel was responsible for the growth of their worldwide sales network. In 2011, Daniel became a member of the Executive Board, which he served on for three years. Since 2014 Daniel has been the General Manager at Tresky Gmbh. Prior to his time at Tresky, Daniel served as Sales Director at Finetech, a supplier of placement, assembly and rework equipment for customers involved in microelectronics. Daniel has an educational background in engineering and business.

Daniel Schultze

Managing Director, Tresky Automation GmbH

Mark Tomkins joined GACC Midwest in March 2006. Prior to this, he spent over 10 years in business development consulting, working with businesses throughout the world in developing strategic alliances and long-term co-operations. Mr. Tomkins began his professional career in the automotive and IT industry in Germany and the U.S. 
He serves on the board of GACC Midwest, the Honorary Board of the German International School Chicago, and the Board of Advisors for AIESEC at Northwestern University. Mr. Tomkins also serves on the National Academies of Sciences Committee on the Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics (Honors Program), Economics and German.

Mark Tomkins
President & CEO, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. 

Kristian Wolf is the newly appointed CEO & President of the Representative of German Business (RGB), based in San Francisco. Before joining RGB, Kristian served for 7 years as the Executive Director of the German Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.  He has been part of the German Chamber System (AHK) for 17 years and developed a deep understanding of the international trade and investment environment. Prior to his posting in Sydney, Kristian served as the CEO & President of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, Georgia.  There, he focused the Chamber’s activities on assisting German companies expand their manufacturing operations in the Southern United States. Kristian holds a B.S. in International Business and has served on several non-profit boards as well as on the global advisory committee of the German Chamber association. 

Kristian Wolf

CEO, Representative of German Business for the Western U.S. 


Effective July 1, 2016, Mr. Daniel Andrich is President and CEO, Representative of German Industry and Trade. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Andrich worked for the Federation of German Industries (BDI), one of RGIT’s principals in Berlin, from 2008 to 2016. At BDI, he was Senior Policy Advisor for Global Governance and Trade Promotion and most recently Executive Assistant to BDI President Ulrich Grillo. In 2012, Mr. Andrich worked at RGIT as a visiting fellow and Senior Policy Advisor.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Political and Social Science, and History from University of Muenster.

Daniel Andrich

President and CEO, Representative of German Industry and Trade




Anthony Brosnan has  been with the State Department and working as  a Vice Consul for 5 years. His previous tour was in Guangzhou China.  Before working at the State Department he was bread-maker at a communal bakery, and before that he worked at a hedge fund. He's from Houston Texas and has two wonderful children and a beautiful, intelligent wife. 

Anthony Brosnon

Vice Consul, U.S. Embassy Berlin

Having years of experience in finance and technology, Dr. Stephan Beyer serves as the CEO of BigRep GmbH. He is one of the company’s founders and has been a driving force behind the strategic development and global expansion of BigRep.

Stephan has held various executive positions with venture capital and start-up finance businesses. A trained engineer, Stephan obtained a doctorate degree in finance from the Technical University of Berlin.

BigRep develops the world’s largest serial production 3D printers. Its award-winning, German-engineered machines, have established new standards in speed, reliability and efficiency. BigRep is headquartered in Berlin with offices in New York, Boston and Singapore.

Dr. Stephan Beyer

CEO, BigRep GmbH

Maximilian Conrad gained experience in the field of journalism inside the Berlin pages of the newspaper F.A.Z. and with the Spiegel Publishing House before he founded in 2005 the Anwaltskanzlei Conrad, a law firm focusing on fast-growing international companies. In 2006, he oversaw the expansion of AG and, since 2008, the growth of Content Fleet GmbH as Managing Director. Since the incorporation of Statista in 2009, he has been advising the company on international expansion. The company has now offices in more than eight countries and over 600 employees.

Maximilian Conrad

CLO, Statista GmbH

Claus Cremer studied Business at the University of Paderborn and the Technical University of Berlin with a focus on Innovation Management. Upon completion of his studies, Claus worked as an Account Manager within Siemens’ IT Solutions and Services department across several cities in Germany. After a short period of time working for Atos, Europe’s leading provider of cloud computing, cybersecurity and high-performance computing, Claus returned to Siemens and worked within business development with a focus on Digitalization and Start-Ups. In 2017 Claus entered his current position of Sales Representative and Business Development of MindSphere, Siemens’ cloud-based and open IIoT operating system. 

Claus Cremers

Sales Representative and Business Development, MindSphere Future Maker, Siemens AG – MindSphere

Claus Dörner, originally from Trochtelfingen, completed a professional training as a forwarding agent. He worked in this line of business for five years, gaining valuable experiences in the field of import-export trade. Working internationally has greatly enhanced his knowledge in this area and his career. He has been working in sales for ALB-GOLD Teigwaren (pasta products) GmbH since January 1997. After just three years he took over sales management of national and international transactions.

Claus Dörner

Sales Director, ALB·GOLD Teigwaren GmbH

Mr. Friedel studied economics in Fulda and Berlin. He has been involved in the development of Berlin Heart since the start-up phase. Initially, Mr. Friedel was Head of Finance for various international VC financings. In 2006 he participated in the sale of Berlin Heart to today's partner. After the establishment of the US subsidiary, Berlin Heart Inc., he took over the management of Berlin Heart as well as the commercial management of ECP Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. ECP pursued the development of a highly innovative percutaneous assist system for applications in cardiology. In 2014 Mr. Friedel helped facilitate the successful sale of this business, along with an extensive IP portfolio, to Abiomed Inc. Since October 2014 he manages the business of Berlin Heart together with Dr. Ares K. Menon.

Sven-René Friedel

General Manager, Berlin Heart GmbH

Peter Heydenbluth completed an apprenticeship program to become an electrician and later a certified industrial supervisor specializing in electrical engineering. After working as a site manager at Beton-Decken-Werk Gelsenkirchen GmbH & Co. KG and as a plant manager at Ex-Rohr GmbH, he founded ERV Entsorgung-Recycling-Verwertung GmbH in 1994 and currently serves as its managing director. Heydenbluth currently holds the position of President of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK Potsdam.) He has been an active member of the IHK Environmental and Energy Committee since 2012, the IHK Board of Directors since 2012 and the IHK Potsdam since 2007. Heydenbluth actively supports youth regional sports, local politics and the Rotary club. In addition, he is a member of the supervisory board of the Osthavelländische Trinkwasser und Abwasser GmbH for the city of Velten.

Peter Heydenbluth

President, Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry


In 2012, he founded Kalms Consulting, focusing on European market access for international medical device, diagnostic and bioscience companies. Marco has more than 25 years of experience in operational, strategic and market access leadership positions in the healthcare industry. As a long-time Sales Manager, Country Manager Germany and Managing Director Europe, he contributed significantly to the growth of American Medical Systems, Inc.

In his role as Managing Director Europe, Marco developed market access strategies to open up new markets in the EMEA regions.
It is this mixture of operational business and market access experience that is an essential part of the expertise the Kalms Consulting team offers to support healthcare companies.

Marco Kalms

Founder & CEO, Kalms Consulting GmbH

Mr. Mikros studied business administration at the University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg and graduated with a degree in business administration. Before joining Würth, he worked for several years in Supply Chain Management at INA Schaeffler KG in Herzogenaurach. In 2007, he switched to sales and started key account management at Würth Industrie Service. In 2013, he took over the management of the newly founded Construction Machinery Division and was appointed a member of the Management Board. Since 2015, Mr. Mikros has had overall responsibility for key account management in the customer industries, which comprises the customer segments Construction Machinery, Agriculture Equipment, Transportation, Rail and Maritime.

Alexandros Mikros

Head of Key Account Management, Würth Industrie Service

Filipp Pachomow is 46 years old and has been Head of Sales and Marketing for the Business Unit "BIAX - Tools for Industrial Metal Working" for more than five years. Mr. Pachomow previously held various sales and business development positions at FESTOOL GROUP (power tools), Andreas Stihl AG & Co. KG (petrol engine tools) and Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG. (cleaning machines). Mr. Pachomow is a graduate economist and studied at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn.

Filipp Pachomow

Sales Director, Schmid & Wezel GmbH


Since 2011, Dr. Thomas Dalstein has been CEO and president at BEUMER Corporation in Somerset, NJ, USA. The BEUMER Group specializes in the manufacturing and installation of intralogistic systems for multiple business segments. Over these 8 years, Dr. Dalstein and his team have increased their business volume from around $30 million to over $350 million. He is leading a management team and staff of over 400 employees in the fields of airports, logistics and product business systems for the cement, petrochemical and mineral & mining industries. Prior to working for BEUMER Corporation, Dr. Thomas Dalstein worked for Siemens AG for almost 20 years, holding different positions, including CEO of a worldwide business unit and Project Director.

Dr. Thomas Dalstein

President & CEO, Beumer Corporation

Dr. Jana Dorband ist an der Handelsabteilung der U.S. Botschaft Berlin für den Bereich ausländische Direktinvestitionen (FDI) zuständig. In dieser Funktion koordiniert sie das Investitionsförderprogramm der U.S. Regierung (SelectUSA) in Mittel- und Osteuropa. Sie promovierte am Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsgeographie der Universität Heidelberg und hat einen M.A. in International Economics der Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington D.C.

Dr. Jana Dorband

Regional Senior Investment Specialist, U.S. Embassy Berlin/Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration, Select USA

Susanne Gellert has been working for the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. for more than ten years. She is the Director of the Legal and Business Development Consulting Department. As of January 2018, she holds the position of Vice President. 
The Legal & Consulting Department advises, supports and represents German companies that wish to develop or expand their business activities in the United States by providing market entry services and legal advice and support. 
Susanne Gellert studied law at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) and Fordham Law School (New York). She is admitted to the bar in Germany and New York.

Susanne Gellert, LL.M.

Vice President and Director Legal & Consulting Department, German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Hilde Holland is a renowned U.S. immigration attorney. For more than 25 years, Ms. Holland has represented foreign and domestic companies and individuals from a wide variety of industries in matters concerning U.S. work visas and permits, permanent residency (Green Card) applications, family-based immigration, and (dual) citizenship matters.
As part of her practice, Ms. Holland provides strategic consultations on U.S. immigration matters and advises her clients on compliance with U.S. immigration laws.
Ms. Holland earned her law degree from University of Cologne, Germany, and is a member of the New York Bar Association. Furthermore, she is an Officer and Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce New York.

Hilde Holland

Attorney at Law Partner, Wuersch & Gering LLP


Philipp-Michael Kusche supports and facilitates the planning, steering and execution of Körber Logistics’ strategic initiatives and is engaged in business development and M&A activities. He joined the Business Area Logistics Systems, the leading provider of fully integrated applications for the optimization of complex internal and external logistics processes, in 2019 and is based in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Philipp started his career at an international management consulting firm for which he advised clients in Germany, Austria and the UK. He was engaged in leading roles at different start-up companies from the financial and MedTech industry in Switzerland. Philipp holds the equivalent of a master in econophysics from Ulm University.

Philipp-Michael Kusche

Manager Strategic Marketing and Sales, Körber Logistics


Dr. Harald Mollberg he has been CEO and CFO of the companies "Institute of Kassel Stuttering therapy", Parlo GmbH, Digithep GmbH and Speechagain Inc since 2012.

He received his doctorate in business administration with a focus on marketing. He then worked as a controller in the area of commercial management of a large German medical technology manufacturer. Since 1984, he has been an independent economic consultant in Kassel with a focus on financial planning and financing, especially in the area of planning and financing for residential projects.

In addition to his work, Dr. Mollberg can look back on a multitude of publications, teaching assignments and lectures.

Dr. Harald Mollberg

Commercial Director, Kassel stutter therapy

David Petrikat joined relayr in August 2017 as Global Director of Marketing and has been a member of the relayr Management Team since January 2018. He oversees the relayr brand and is responsible for expanding the company’s thought leadership position and generating demand in target markets. David has spent his career in tech-driven B2B companies and has a successful track record of marketing complex and highly innovative solutions. His experience covers several industries and verticals such as healthcare eProcurement, enterprise ITC System Integration and supply chain FinTech. What fascinates David about the IIoT industry is the challenge to market groundbreaking technology with the unique blend of insurance and finance.

David Petrikat

Global Director of Marketing, relayr Inc.


Since May 2013, Peter Riehle holds the position of President and CEO of WITTENSTEIN in Bartlett, IL. Prior responsibilities include VP of Sales and Marketing with TRUMPF Inc. in Farmington, CT, CEO of DMG America in Chicago, IL as well as Director Industrial Sales with Schaeffler in Fort Mill, SC. He held positions in executive management with responsibilities in Sales and Marketing, Research and Development, Software Technology, Procurement and Logistics, Acquisitions, Business Intelligence. He is an international executive with a vast knowledge of Sales & Marketing of highly sophisticated technology for machine tools. He holds the position of Chairman of the GACC Midwest and was instrumental in launching the ICATT Program.

Peter Riehle

President & CEO, WITTENSTEIN holding, Corp. and Chariman Board of Directors, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc.


Since July 2014, Michaela Schobert has been managing the Consulting Department ‚DEinternational‘ at the AHK USA-Atlanta. She is responsible for supporting market entry and business development projects as well as e.g. organizing industry specific conferences. Michaela graduated from Würzburg-Schweinfurt University with a degree in operational business administration, with an international focus and an emphasis on corporate development. Following her studies, she was an area manager with Norma, a retail grocery store chain in Fürth, and was responsible for the Wertheim district. From 2008 until 2014, Michaela led the export for Maintal Konfitüren GmbH in Haßfurt.

Michaela Schobert

Director, Consulting Services, GACC South

Mathias Schulze Steinen advises companies, private equity funds and family offices in a range of industries. He brings a pragmatic and solutions-oriented approach to his wide-ranging corporate practice that includes M&A and restructurings.

Mathias has excellent negotiating and people skills. His clients appreciate in particular his collaborative style and inventive thinking that delivers creative solutions facilitating the successful completion of deals. In complex transactions, he provides effective leadership in close cooperation with his clients. Mathias enjoys working on deals with his overseas clients, particularly from the Americas. Another area of focus is Scandinavia, where he has developed an understanding of the different markets.

Dr. Mathias Schulze Steinen 

Partner, DLA Piper LLP


Dr. Martin Wansleben is the CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) in Berlin, a position he has been holding since November 2001. Prior to being elected CEO of DIHK, he was the chief executive of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA e.V.) in Frankfurt from 1999 until October 2001. He started his career representing business with the VDMA back in 1982 with different positions within the VDMA. Born in Cologne in 1958, Dr. Martin Wansleben studied economics at the universities of Bonn and Cologne from 1977 to 1982. In 1986, Dr. Wansleben obtained his PhD from the University of Tübingen. He wrote his doctoral thesis on “Productivity-Oriented Wage Policy.” Dr. Wansleben is married and has three sons.

Dr. Martin Wansleben

CEO, Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK)

I started my professional career path in the automotive industry in 1999 after graduate in mechanical engineering. With three years expert knowledge in tool design and forming simulation for car body components, I changed to the perforating company Graepel. The first six years in the Graepel Group I worked as a Project Manager and travelled a lot in the US to support our customers in developing their products. With being head of engineering and project management from 2008 to 2013 at our HQ in Germany, I dedicated myself a lot to support the facility setup and growing business of Graepel North America. Beginning of 2014 I became General Manager in Germany and took over the responsibility for one company within the Graepel Group.

Klaus Schute 

General Manager, Graepel Löningen GmbH & Co. KG


Thomas Weber has been active in the medical device industry for more than 15 years. Since 2012 he has been assigned responsible for all regulatory activities to support the Löwenstein Medical Technology (formerly Weinmann Geräte für Medizin) internationalization strategies within the Löwenstein Group as CQO, Head of Quality and Regulatory Affairs. With his team, he handles medical device approvals in more than 40 countries, including particularly challenging markets such as China, Japan and the US. Since 2018 he has also been assigned CEO of the Löwenstein Medical US branch, where he is driving the expansion of the Löwenstein Group into the North and South American markets.

Thomas Weber 

CQO, Head of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Löwenstein Medical Technology

CEO, Löwenstein Medical Americas

Since joining the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc. (GACC South) in 2006, Stefanie Ziska has held various roles. She became Director of Marketing in 2008 and Vice President in 2011. As of March 1, 2017 she became President and CEO.Stefanie initiated the joint AHK USA brand and started the current nation-wide skilled workforce initiative for the German Dual Vocational Training System in the United States.In 2016 Stefanie won the Governor’s Award of GA for International Business Woman of the Year and was nominated for the US Committee of the German Chancellor Program of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2017.

Stefanie Ziska 
President & CEO German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc.

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