Workshop IV Innovation Location USA


Workshop IV will highlight the research and innovation landscape in the US, startup hubs as innovation locations, collaboration with startups, introduction of the STEP program, the shaping of digital transformation and customer-centric innovation for businesses, intrapreneurship, the exchange of tried-and-tested innovation methods and best practices.

Our Speakers

Ralf Westhoff

Mitglied der Geschäftsführung, Arvato Systems GmbH

Marco Kollmeier

Managing Director, Benteler EV Systems GmbH

Niklas Hunsdiek

Senior Innovation Manager | Startup Partnerships, E.ON Strategy and Innovation


Andrea Diewald

Abteilungsleiterin 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. 


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.



Sven Thorsten Potthoff

CEO, German American Chamber of Commerce of the West (GACC West)

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).