WHIRL Magazine: March 2017

Page 28

FINANCE

/ REPORT Paul Overby, president, German American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh Chapter; Rachel Mauer, vice president, German American Chamber of Commerce Pittsburgh Chapter; Tom Nist, senior vice president, Huntington Bank; and Dietmar Rieg, president and CEO, German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

GROWING THE ECONOMY

WITH GERMANY epresenting the interests of 125 companies and their 11,000 employees in regional Pittsburgh, and led by the Honorary German Consul here, the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) is helping German-owned businesses to spotlight capabilities, recruit specialized talent, and attract regional investment.

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Since the immigration tides of the 1800s, German manufacturers have been vital to our economy and remain so today. They typically construct high-precision, longlasting products and need sophisticated, high-paid talent to make that happen. Once they locate here, they typically have a long-term view of potential for a return on investment. Last year, this relationship was boosted when Condor Airlines announced a seasonal direct flight to and from Frankfort and Pittsburgh starting June 23, 2017. The chamber, Allegheny County Airport Authority, and Pittsburgh Regional Alliance collaborated in this agreement. “The momentum is helping to enhance Pittsburgh’s reputation around the world,” says Chamber President Paul Overby, the

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honorary consul for the Federal Republic of Germany in Pittsburgh. To bridge a gaping technical skills void, the Chamber is introducing a German-style “dual apprenticeship” with technically apt high schoolers who train on the job with employers. Partnering with “U Can B,” they matched Riverside High School with VEKA Industries, California High School with Rose Plastics, and Washington High School with Pleiger Plastics. “The GACC plays a key role in attracting German companies to our region, which helps to create jobs and enhance our local economy. Pittsburgh’s manufacturing, technology, and information economy is a perfect fit for many German companies looking to locate operations in the U.S.,” says Tom Nist, Huntington Bank senior vice president. The Chamber also hosts German trade missions and events, including the Pittsburgh Euro Forum on Industry, German Ministry for Energy and Economics, State of Brandenburg, the American Council on Germany, and a roundtable with Astrobotic and the German Center for Research and

Innovation. Popular networking events include the Ice Gala,“Spargel” white asparagus dinner (where the delicacy is flown in fresh!), and gatherings at Old Economy Village. For the third straight year, the Pittsburgh Rotary Club Foundation and the Chamber awarded a $2,500 scholarship to a local collegian studying in Germany in 2016. The Pittsburgh chamber is part of a network of 130 German foreign chambers and government offices, representing 2,500 member firms in 90 countries, with offices in Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco. Services range from market entry and business development, and legal and incorporation services, to J-1 exchange visitor visas for internship/training, talent recruitment, and innovation and startup relations. Pittsburgh sponsors are Cohen & Grigsby, Bosch, BKD LLP, Lufthansa, Huntington Bank, University of Pittsburgh’s Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, VEKA, and Wabtec. For more information, visit gaccpit.com. — Kim Ravenda Huntington Bank, huntington.com.

EDITED BY RACHEL JONES •

PHOTOGRAPH FROM ADAM ISOVITSCH

2/15/17 5:07 PM