Our Speakers

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

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Matthias Amberg

Partner, Rödl Langford de Kock LLP - Chicago

A native of Germany, Matthias Amberg graduated from the DHBW Karlsruhe (Germany) in 2000 with a Diploma in Economics (specialization in Taxation and Auditing). After his studies, Matthias gained international working experience at the CPA firm Alliotts in London, a medium sized CPA firm in Dortmund (Germany) and successfully passed the German Tax Advisor exam (Steuerberater) and the CINA exam (Certified in International Accounting).Matthias has been with Rödl & Partner since 2004, where he also acquired the US Certified Public Accountant qualification. Matthias has been a partner at Rödl & Partner since 2012 and heads the Business Development department in the US. Matthias serves primarily German Mittelstand companies with operations in the US. His practice focuses on financial audit services in accordance with U.S. GAAP, IFRS and German GAAP (HGB). Additionally, he is dedicated to comprehensively advising his clients on international tax matters and efficiently managing their federal, state, and local tax compliance. Furthermore, he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the German American Chamber of Commerce Midwest (AHK) since 2022 and he is a Board Member and the Treasurer of the Rotary/One club in Chicago since 2019.

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Christian Buske is the managing director and company founder of Plasmatreat GmbH. Since its foundation in Steinhagen in 1995, the company has specialized in the development and manufacture of atmospheric plasma equipment and systems for the treatment of surfaces.

After the invention and patenting of the novel Openair-Plasma® technology, numerous other developments and patents followed, e.g. in the field of plasma coatings. Early on in the company's young history, Buske founded additional technology centers and subsidiaries in Canada, the USA, Japan and China, among other places, as well as in Europe, and has since been steadily expanding its worldwide sales and service network with subsidiaries and sales partners. Christian Buske studied cybernetics and automation technology at the Leipzig Institute of Technology and moved to Bielefeld in 1989.

Christian Buske

CEO, Plasmatreat GmbH - Steinhagen

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Thorsten Finke

CEO IDENTYTEC GmbH & Co KG

Thorsten Finke is co-founder of IDENTYTEC GmbH & Co KG and has been working here since 2005. He has mainly taken over the management of sales and coordination in the technical area. The expansion of sales in Germany, Europe and the USA is at the forefront. In 2019, the subsidiary in the USA was founded in order to take the next steps in terms of sales in the USA, Mexico and Canada. Currently, an employee in the USA is hired for sales in order to advance existing customers and new acquisitions. Thorsten Finke has an electrical engineering education and is a state-certified technician specializing in communications engineering. Since 1995 he has been working in the technical field of Auto-ID products. Since 2000, he has focused on commercial activities in the same segment.

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Hans Beckhoff

Managing Partner , Beckhoff Automation

GmbH & Co. KG - Verl

Hans Beckhoff (born 1954) is managing director, shareholder and founder of Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG. He began his academic education in 1972 at the Technical University of Berlin and received his diploma in nuclear physics from the University of Münster in 1980. Immediately after completing his studies, he founded Beckhoff Automation. Since then, the company has undergone rapid development. Growing steadily, Beckhoff generated sales of nearly €1.2 billion in 2021 and employs 5,000 people worldwide. With 24 sales offices in Germany and 40 subsidiaries/representative offices worldwide, the company is represented in over 75 countries. Beckhoff Automation is known for its leading technology, its constant development of new ideas and products that sometimes lead to revolutionary, disruptive business changes in the automation industry.

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Rich Christiansen

Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP - San Diego, CA

Rich Christiansen is partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, a multi-practice international law firm. Rich obtained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Rich focuses his practice on patent prosecution and counseling for a broad range of technologies, including electronics, medical devices, software, clean technology, and mechanical devices. Rich has helped his clients design, build, and rejuvenate IP portfolios to achieve business and legal objectives. Rich's practice includes due diligence, clearance reviews, opinion work, licensing, and litigation.

Rich is fluent in German.

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Sigmar Gabriel

Former Federal Minister, Chairman of Atlantik-Brücke - Berlin

Sigmar Gabriel, born in Goslar on September 12, 1959, and politically active since 1976, is one of Germany's highest-profile politicians. He is a member of the SPD, and was its chairman from 2009 to 2017. He was prime minister of Lower Saxony from 1999 to 2003. He then held the office of Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety from 2005 - 2009, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology from 2013 - 2017, and most recently Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2017 - 2018. Between 2013 and 2018, Sigmar Gabriel was Vice Chancellor. Sigmar Gabriel is married and has three daughters.

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Michael W. Böllhoff

Managing Partner, Böllhoff Gruppe - Bielefeld

Since 2005, M.W. Böllhoff and his brother Wilhelm A. Böllhoff have been managing the group of companies in the 4th generation. Böllhoff is a leading supplier of fastening technology and is active in 24 countries. Customers are worldwide the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, electronics and aerospace industry. M. W. Böllhoff was Managing Director North America of Böllhoff Inc. in Fort Wayne from 2000 to 2004. Today, the business contributes approximately €50 million to the Böllhoff Group.

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Andrea Diewald

Director Innovation, Investor & Startup

Relations GACC New York - Hamburg

Andrea Diewald joined the German American Chamber of Commerce New York as head of the Consulting Services department in January 2011. Moving from New York to Germany in 2014, she took over the new business unit "Innovation, Investor & Startup Relations". Focusing on fast-growing, scalable startups, the GACC NY launched the STEP USA program, which exists as a travel format and as virtual program. The development of individual internationalization strategies is one of the most important goals of this program. Andrea Diewald studied American Studies and political science at Leipzig University, at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Strasbourg and at New York University.

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Dr. Theo Freye worked for CLAAS KGaA GmbH for many years, including as CEO from 2007 to 2014. He was previously responsible for the expansion of the American business, initially as part of a joint venture with Caterpillar, and later under Claas' own management. To this end, an assembly plant was built in Omaha, Nebraska, and a sales network for the USA and Canada was established. Previously, Theo Freye held management positions in German sales, exports, product management and development. He is currently a member of the advisory board of a German company and a member of the board of directors of Valmont Industries (VMI). Valmont is the world market leader in circular sprinkler systems (Valley) and active in the infrastructure sector worldwide. Since 2020, Theo Freye has also headed the economic office of the US state of Nebraska in Germany.

Dr. Theo Freye

Former Speaker of the Executive Board CLAAS KGaA/ Board of Directors Valmont, Omaha, NE, USA

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Susanne Gellert

Vice President and Director Legal & Business Development Consulting, AHK USA - New York

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.

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Jan Heck

President & CEO, Miele USA

Jan Heck is President & CEO of Miele USA and responsible for operations and sales growth to ensure the company maintains the status as the leading premium appliance brand. His aptitude at building a resilient leadership team has allowed the company to develop and empower a strong and intelligent workforce with the same “Immer Besser” (or “Forever Better”) vision for the company. Mr. Heck has led the Miele business in North America for 23 years, first in Canada and, in 2016, he took leadership in the United States. In his responsibilities, he oversees business with a national network of premium appliances dealers and trade partners and the operation of 10 Miele Experience Centers throughout the US.

Mr. Heck is a board member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and Chairman of the board for German American Chamber of Commerce.

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Thomas Jahn

Team Lead Technologie, Handelsblatt

Thomas Jahn works for Handelsblatt since September 2011, starting as New York correspondent. He become Head of the New York Office in 2013, and returned to Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf in 2018.Thomas Jahn covers Technology since 2020, editing and publishing the weekly series “Insight Innovation” since 2021. He was born in the US, grew up in Germany, and studied Economics at the University of Cologne. Thomas Jahn completed the master class journalism at Deutsche Journalisten Schule (DJS) in Munich in 1996.

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Matthias Köhler

Founder and CEO, KOEHLER Transatlantic Business Results

As a Business Developer and Coach , Matthias Koehler accompanies German speaking companies and people on their way to success on the US market. Prior to establishing his own business Matthias worked for several German - American companies in different leadership and management roles for over 20 years. For the German WAGNER Group , Matthias Koehler work in finance & controlling as well as a regional and national sales manage. After moving to the US, he led WAGNER Systems Inc. as their General Manager und President. After restructuring the organization, Matthias led the organization back on a profitable growth path. This also included the successful acquisition and integration of a US company before he moved back to Germany. Back in Germany Matthias took over the role as Head of International Sales for the ZARGES Group and as President of ZARGES Inc. USA. After ZARGES was acquired by the US market leader WernerCo , Matthias took over the executive management role as Managing Director EMEA International for WernerCo / ZARGES.

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Wolf D. Meier-Scheuven

Managing Partner, BOGE KOMPRESSOREN - Bielefeld and President, Chamber of Industry and Commerce Ostwestfalen zu Bielefeld

Wolf D. Meier-Scheuven (born 1959) is Managing Partner of BOGE KOM-PRESSOREN GmbH & Co. KG. BOGE plans, develops, distributes and supports compressed air supply for customers from plant engineering, industry and trade. The graduate psychologist and graduate businessman led the company in the 4th generation from 1995 to 2020 is married and has two children. Mr. Meier-Scheuven has been a member of the plenary assembly of the IHK Ostwestfalen zu Bielefeld since 2005. From 2006 to 2014 he was vice president and since September 2014 president of the IHK Ostwestfalen zu Bielefeld. From 1999 to 2022, Mr. Meier-Scheuven was active in various honorary offices, including as a board member of the regional association VDMA NRW, chairman of "Unternehmen für OWL-Marketing e.V., chairman of the employers' association Bielefeld and chairman of the board of the Bildungswerk der ostwestfälisch-lippischen Wirtschaft e.V.. Mr. Meier-Scheuven has also been the spokesman for the mechanical engineering cluster "ProduktionNRW" since 2008 as well as a member of the main board of the VDMA in Frankfurt.

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Harald Grefe

Vice President, Industrie- und Handelskammer Ostwestfalen zu Bielefeld

Harald Grefe was born in Bad Salzuflen in 1957. He is married and has two children. After completing his schooling in Bad Salzuflen, he studied economics and psychology at the University of Bielefeld from 1976 to 1983, graduating with a degree in economics. His professional career initially took him to Melitta in the household products division until 1986, when he started as a foreign trade officer at the Ostwestfalen Chamber of Commerce in Bielefeld. With a brief return to Melitta as Brand Manager, he took over the position of Managing Director at the East Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce in 1993, responsible for foreign trade, commerce and transport. In 2002, Mr. Grefe also assumed the position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of East Westphalia in Bielefeld.

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Matthias Hoffmann

President & CEO at German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc. – Atlanta

Matthias Hoffmann was born and raised in Schwäbisch Gmünd, very close to the automotive metropolis of Stuttgart. After various internships at automotive suppliers,
he studied business administration with a focus on international management in Bamberg. Matthias has more than ten years of experience at the German-Greek Chamber of Industry and Commerce, where he held various positions such as Project Manager and Head of the Northern Greece office. In April 2020, he was appointed Executive Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States (AHK USA-Atlanta/GACC South).

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Nur Hayat Nezir

Managing Director, ABRAMS Group Osnabrück

Ms. Nur Hayat Nezir has been with the ABRAMS Group for 17 years. Born in the South of Germany with Turkish parents studied law at the University of Osnabrück. Starting in 2005 as a student at ABRAMS Industries GmbH & Co. KG, her talent for communication and sales was quickly recognized by the Founder and CEO , Dr. Jürgen Abrams, which is why she was given responsibility for building up the sales department. Ms. Nezir thus successfully introduced the PREMIUM STEEL division of the ABRAMS Group to the German market, later to the European market . As product manager, she expanded the portfolio to include PRE MIUM DRILL BITS , as well as PREMIUM ALUMINUM. Since 2015, as Managing Director, she has also been in charge of the Group's Business Intelligence division - ABRAMS World Trade Wiki - with which companies generate knowledge from the award - winning ABRAMS.wiki database, enabling them to see with one click who supplies what to whom worldwide and at what price. In 2021, the sales talent spent 3 months building ABRAMS Industries Inc.'s on - site sales force in Bolingbrook, Chicago, Illinois. The multi - talented is now responsible for 150 employees in sales, inside sales, IT, warehouse and manufacturing.

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Niklas Hunsdiek

Senior Innovation Manager|Startup Partnerships, E.ON Group Innovation

Niklas Hunsdiek has been working for E.ON’s Group Innovation department since October 2021. In his role as Senior Innovation Manager , he is responsible for Startup Partnerships and Venture Building. Previously, Niklas worked as a startup coach at the University of Applied Science Aachen , where he also successfully built and launched the Startup Center. Prior to his role at FH Aachen, he worked several years in international business development at MOTUL. In his last position at MOTUL he managed the sales business in United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland. Niklas holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Passau and Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen. In parallel to his position a t University of Applied Science Aachen he finished his PhD in field of External Corporate Venturing.

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Udo Jankowski

Director TECOSIM Group

After brief positions with manufacturers in the automotive industry, Udo Jankowski joined the then start-up TECOSIM GmbH as a calculation engineer in 1995 as employee number six. There he was appointed authorized signatory in 1997 and took over the position of managing director in 1998 as part of a management buy-out. The six employees in 1995 have now grown to 650 employees worldwide. Udo Jankowski now works as a board member for the group's holding company and is responsible for further expansion. He is responsible for foreign locations in Japan, India, Romania, England and now also in the USA. The TECOSIM Group specializes in engineering services related to product development. The international group has four branches in Germany and ten locations abroad. Udo Jankowski studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Darmstadt and Strathclyde University in Glasgow. He is a lecturer at various universities in the field of leadership and management and lives with his family in Wiesbaden.

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Pauline Kao

US Consul General for North Rhine-Westphalia, US Consulate General Düsseldorf

Prior to her assignment to Germany, Ms. Kao was the Chief of the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, China. Her first overseas diplomatic assignment was at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, where Ms. Kao served as Vice Consul for Economic and Consular Affairs from 2002 - 2004.  This was followed by assignments as Deputy Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Senior Staff Member in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., and Policy Officer at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.  Ms. Kao also served as Deputy Chief of the Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Special Operations Command Indo-Pacific (SOCPAC) in Hawaii.  From 2011-2012, she worked as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Foreign Office in Berlin in the International Organizations, Human Rights Division. Pauline Kao earned a master's degree in law as a Fulbright Scholar at Humboldt University in Berlin. Previously, she received her Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington. Before joining the diplomatic service in 2001, Pauline Kao worked in a German law firm in Berlin.

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Marco Kollmeier

President, BENTELER EV Systems GmbH - Paderborn

Marco Kollmeier has been with BENTELER since June 2005. As of December 2021, he has taken over the management of BENTELER EV Systems GmbH (BEVS).  BEVS is the e-mobility division of the BENTELER Group. Battery systems, chassis up to complete e-platforms are developed and produced here. The latest innovation of BEVS is an Autonomous People Mover. BEVS is the spin-off of BENTELER's E-Mobility business unit founded in 2017 by Mr. Kollmeier. With subsidiaries in Shanghai China and Detroit USA, BEVS is successfully positioned worldwide. It maintains cooperations with Bosch, Pininfarina, Vibracoustic, Mobileye and Beep and is strongly networked worldwide. Mr. Kollmeier holds a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Paderborn. He is a member of numerous committees, current commitment is the membership in the association "NeMo - neue Mobilitäten".

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Christin Mechler

Since 2021, Christin Mechler has served as a Foreign Trade Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, where she is responsible for promoting and managing foreign direct investment from the DACH region, as well as parts of Eastern Europe, to the United States. to the United States.  Prior to her work at the U.S. Embassy, Christin gained professional experience in the German Bundestag and as a legislative and financial analyst for the U.S. State of Iowa. She completed her Master's degree at the Technical University of Dresden in 2011, majoring in International Relations/Global Political Economy.

Investment Specialist Select USA, US-Embassy - Berlin

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Ralph-Peter Müller

President, CFturbo, Inc. and Managing Director, CFturbo GmbH - Brooklyn

Ralph Peter MUELLER is Co-Founder of CFturbo. CFturbo is a high-tech company specialized in engineering software and services, in particular for all kind of rotating machinery for example aeroengines, cooling fans, hydro turbines, turbochargers, water pumps, and many other applications from various industries. Since 2017 Mr. Mueller runs the US subsidiary CFturbo, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY. Before co-founding CFturbo GmbH, Mr. Mueller worked as a Development Engineer in Germany and Luxemburg. In 1993 he founded                 CFDnetwork GmbH, an engineering consulting firm specialized in numerical fluid mechanics and heat transfer. The company had shown outstanding success in the German Automotive industry. From 19985 to 1990 Mr. Mueller studied Mechanical Engineering at Technische Universität Dresden. Special fields of his college education were Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, and Turbomachinery. In 1990 he graduated to M.Sc. (Dipl.-Ing.). Through all times of his professional life Mr. Mueller has been interested in advanced methods of product development, conceptual design, simulation, optimization, and Artificial Intelligence.

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Felix Neugart is Managing Director of the new NRW.Global Business GmbH, foreign trade promotion company of the state of NRW. The political science graduate has many years of expertise in the field of foreign trade and has already held various management and consulting positions in Germany and abroad. Felix Neugart started his career in political consulting at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. From 2006 to 2016, he held several positions at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Berlin, where he was head of the foreign trade policy and law department, among other things. He was also a member of the EU Commission's advisory body on the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement in Brussels from 2014 to 2016. Felix Neugart then moved to the German-Emirati Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Dubai. In addition to his role there as managing director, he was the delegate of German business for Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Iraq. Back in Germany, Felix Neugart became Managing Director International at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Düsseldorf.

Felix Neugart

CEO, NRW.Global Business GmbH - Düsseldorf

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Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart

Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia 

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, born in Seelscheid in 1960, first trained as a bank clerk. He then studied economics and business administration in Münster and Bonn until 1987, where he obtained his doctorate in 1991. He then headed the office of the chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Dr. Hermann Otto Solms, before continuing his academic career with professorships in Düsseldorf and Siegen. In 2002, he became a member of the German Bundestag and state chairman of the FDP in North Rhine-Westphalia. From 2005 to 2010, he served as Minister for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology and Deputy Minister President in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2011, he made the switch back to science. Until June 2017, Prof. Pinkwart was Rector of the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management and Chair of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. Since June 2017, Prof. Pinkwart has been Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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Sven Thorsten Potthoff

CEO,  German American Chamber of

Commerce of the West – San Francisco

Sven Thorsten Potthoff has headed the AHK USA - San Francisco since the beginning of 2020, covering the western United States. Previously, he was CEO of the German Croatian Chamber of Commerce abroad and the Delegation of German Economic Affairs in Bosnia & Herzegovina. With his team, he is dedicated to the mission of connecting stakeholders and players from a wide variety of industries in order to enable growth for companies involved in transatlantic trade. The focus is on the unique innovation ecosystem of Silicon Valley. Mr. Potthoff studied economics at the Free University of Berlin with a focus on international economic policy. He also worked for the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI).

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Dietmar Rieg has served as President & CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (GACC NY) in New York since July 2013. From July 2008 to June 2013, he was Senior EVP and General Manager of BayernLB’s New York Branch and its US business. Prior to that, he held the position of Division Head Corporate Business in Munich. Mr. Rieg joined BayernLB in 1991 and transferred to its New York Branch in 1993, first as a credit analyst, then he was responsible for Team and Department Project Finance and Corporate Banking. He was instrumental in implementing the branch’s Latin American business, including the formation of various representative offices. He further expanded the branch’s business portfolio by creating a project finance team in 1997, focusing primarily on financing renewable energy projects. In 2006 he returned to the BayernLB’s head office in Munich before transferring to New York in 2008. Dietmar Rieg is active on the boards of various German-American institutions. He is an economist with a Diplom degree from the University of Tübingen, Germany, and holds an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Dietmar Rieg

President & CEO, German American Chamber

of Commerce, Inc.

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Dr. Christoph Schemionek

President & CEO, Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington, DC, LLC

Dr. Christoph Schemionek is the President and CEO of the German Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington, DC, and President of the Representative of German Industry and Trade(RGIT). He previously was the Senior Director for Regional Economic Policy at RGIT, where he was responsible for RGIT’s “German Business in the USA” project, which visualizes the economic contribution of German-owned affiliates in the United States. As RGIT’s World Bank Liaison, he also supported German companies to successfully navigate the World Bank’s procurement process. Christoph holds a Ph.D. in Geography and teaches as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

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Michaela Schobert

Director, Consulting Services,

AHK USA - Atlanta

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.

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Franz-Josef Schürmann

Chairman, Itemis AG

Franz - Josef Schuermann joined itemis AG in 2021 as a member of the board and he is chairman of the board at itemis Inc. Before joining itemis AG, he was a group board member at the The Adecco Group (CEO - DACH and Group Chief Sales & Innovation Officer) and lead Infosys Ltd. in Germany for five years as CEO. As Global Partner at Accenture, he supported Fortune 100 and DAX 30 companies in their largest transformation initiatives. Throughout his career, he has been involved in more than ten innovative technology based Start - ups. Franz - Josef Schuermann has over 20 years of experience in the technology space as well as CEO and Board Member. He has been a frequent speaker at globally leading universities and events.

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Gerhard Schneiders

Senior Principal, Rödl Langford de Kock LLP-Atlanta

Gerhard Schneiders has been with Rödl & Partner USA since autumn 2012 and helped to set up the NY office. As Senior Principal, he takes a critical look at German GAAP reporting packages, advises on international accounting, taxes, bookkeeping and market entry consulting. He served on the board of the German American Chamber of Commerce in New York from 2008 to 2020, as member of this Finance and Membership Committees. Gerhard Schneiders studied business administration at the universities in Heidelberg, Mannheim and graduated in Saarbrücken with Dipl. Kfm. He is a tax consultant, auditor and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has 30 years of professional experience, including 10 years at Arthur Andersen in Düsseldorf, 10 years at Ernst & Young, including 8 years as a partner and head of the German desk in Boston, MA. He has been working at Rödl & Partner USA since 2012, first in New York and now in Atlanta.

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Tilman Mieseler

Managing Director, V-LINE EUROPE GmbH, Sehnde

Since November 2019, Tilman Mieseler has been managing V-LINE EUROPE GmbH, the headquarters of the  V-LINE GROUP with locations in Saudi Arabia, USA, Mexico and Korea. After studying geology, he gained more than 20 years of experience in international project business, technical management consulting and intercultural cooperation, most recently as managing director of the Saudi Arabian branch of a German engineering firm. During his 13 years abroad in the Middle East region, Tilman Mieseler managed major projects for ministries and government agencies as well as for Saudi Aramco and the Ma'aden Group. At V-LINE, Tilman Mieseler and his team are continuously working on improving customized service solutions around spare parts procurement for customers mainly in the Middle East as well as in North and South America. Tilman Mieseler is 48 years old, married and has three children.

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Mark Tomkins

President & CEO, German American Chamber

of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. - Chicago

Mark Tomkins joined the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest in March 2006. Prior to this, Mr. Tomkins 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 the German American Chamber of Commerce of the 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. Mr. Tomkins graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics (Honors Program), Economics and German.

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Dr. Volker Treier

Head of Foreign Trade and Member of the Executive Board, DIHK, Berlin

Dr. Volker Treier was born in Creglingen on August 6, 1969. He is married and has three children. After completing his school education, he studied economics in Bamberg and Budapest from 1990 to 2002, earning a doctorate (Dr. rer. pol.) in Bamberg. Since 2003, he has been employed by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce e. V. (DIHK) in various positions, including in the areas of economic and growth policy, vocational training and international/AHK. From February 2014 to December 2018, he served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of DIHK e. V.. Since 2019, he has been Head of Foreign Trade and a member of the Executive Board, responsible, among other things, for DIHK's foreign trade and European policy representation.

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Henk-Jan van Ettekoven

Präsident & CEO Huber Technology, Denver,

NC USA

Mr. Henk-Jan van Ettekoven has been with HUBER Technology, Inc. since February 2007. As President/CEO, he leads the North American operations of HUBER SE. He is responsible for the budget, financial management and financial position of the organization and provides leadership by holding the organization accountable to stakeholders and its own policies, presenting the appropriate image to the public and guiding the short and long term goals of the organization. Prior to becoming President/CEO in July 2014, he served as Director of Service and Manufacturing since February 2007. Henk-Jan's international career spans more than 30 years, during which he has held field service, logistics and management positions in the United States, Latin America and Europe that include roles in industrial operations management and business development.

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Crispin Teufel

President of the German-American Chambers of Commerce

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Diane Temme Stinton

Chairwomen und CEO, TMCO Inc., Nebraska USA

Born in 1985 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Studied German and international studies at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln. She also resided and studied music in the UK and Germany. In 2018, she received her PhD in musicology from Bangor University in Wales. Joined TMCO in 2015 in human resources and administration and took over as CEO from her father, Roland Temme, in 2020. She is a regional manufacturing and workforce development advocate, Lincoln area leader of "Dream It Do It!" a national initiative to promote manufacturing careers, and tri-chair of Lincoln Manufacturing Council.

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Ralf Westhoff

CEO, Arvato Systems GmbH, Gütersloh

Ralf Westhoff is Managing Director of Arvato Systems GmbH and responsible for the Consumer Products and Media sectors. After studying business administration, Ralf Westhoff held various commercial and strategic positions within Bertelsmann since 1999. In 2004, Ralf Westhoff took over responsibility for controlling Arvato's global services businesses as VP Corporate Controlling and Consulting within Arvato's commercial staff. He then served as SVP Corporate Controlling and Strategy in the Central Controlling and Strategy department at Bertelsmann. In 2016, Ralf Westhoff moved to Arvato Systems as CFO, where he has held his role as Managing Director since September 2020. Ralf Westhoff is married, has two children and lives in Gütersloh.