Sponsors 2018

Evening Reception Sponsor:


Lanyard Sponsor:


Conference Bag Sponsor:

Lunch Sponsor:



Southeast’s Sixth Forum for German Small & Medium Sized Enterprises

 Monday, April 9, 2018 | The Westin Hotel | Birmingham, AL

Our sixth “German Mittelstand - Southern SME Forum” will be held on April 9, 2018, at The Westin Hotel in Birmingham, AL. This business-specific event offers a platform to exchange ideas while building relationships with new business and offers the opportunity to gain insights on innovative business practices, in order to successfully strengthen your presence within the U.S. market.

The all-day business conference will feature engaging keynote speakers followed by informative workshops, panel discussions, and plentiful networking opportunities. Alongside the German Mittelstand - Southern SME Forum, the 2018 GACC South Board of Directors will be elected as part of our Annual General Meeting.


To view full agenda click here.


Registration Fee $380

Register Here

Register online!

Conference incl. Evening Reception: $380

Evening Reception only: $99

The Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour is free of charge for conference and Evening Reception attendees but registration is required (Limited to 50 tickets on a first come first serve basis).



Enjoy Your Time in Birmingham:

Birmingham Attractions 

Birmingham Food & Drink 






Monday, April 9

7:30 am

Registration at 3rd Floor of Forum Building

Directions from the Westin Lobby to the Meeting Space: Go to the 2nd floor of the Westin Hotel. Travel through the parking deck. Cross the crosswalk from the parking deck to the Forum Building. Make a right at the Security Desk. Come down the hallway to the 2nd floor foyer. Take the elevators to the 3rd floor. Hotel Staff will be on location to help guide you to your destination.

8:00 am

Breakfast Keynote by Alabama International Trade Center (Room J)
Steel and Aluminum Tariffs 

9:15 am

Workshop Sessions I

  • How does IoT (Internet of Things) Impact Production (Room K)
    The workshop will provide an introduction and overview of potential applications of IoT technology and how it relates to a production environment to improve transparency, thus resulting in increased efficiency and throughput.
    Eric Tiefenthaler, Engineering Manager, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc.
  • How to drive Innovation in a Changing Marketplace (Room G)
    The workshop will focus on why innovation is important for businesses and how to foster innovation within your company. Workshop will include concrete steps that you can take to increase the generation and capture of innovative ideas at your company and deliberate practice in completing an invention disclosure. 
    Bob Sesek, Senior Consultant, Innovation Monkey
  • Net Neutrality- The State of U.S. Net Regulation and Future Implications (Room H+ I)
    The workshop will provide updates on current net neutrality regulation, and how it affects the telecommunications, high-technology, and other industries. The workshop will also explore the impact of these regulations on consumers and future innovation.
    Nicol Turner Lee, Ph.D., Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation- Brookings Institution

10:30 am

Coffee Break

11:00 am

Workshop Sessions II

12:30 pm

Luncheon Keynote by Anne Marie Colombo, CISSP, Cybersecurity Solution Advisor, SAP
Data Protection, Cybersecurity, GDPR and Other Threats Every SME Should Know About (Room J)

Sponsored by: 


2:00 pm

Panel Discussion: Trade Policies and How They Affect SMEs: NAFTA, Tariffs and Other Trade Obstacles

  • Moderated by Michael Johnson, Honorary German Consul in Alabama
  • Daniel Andrich, President & CEO, Representative of German Industry and Trade
  • Consul General Javier Díaz de León, Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta
  • Dennis Wagner, CEO, BESTAR Steel Group (Germany)

3:30 pm

Coffee Break

4:00 pm 

Annual General Meeting (for Members in Good Standing only) 
Election of the Board of Directors and State of the Chamber Report

6:00 pm

Evening Reception at the Birmingham Museum of Art
Address: 2000 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35203
Sponsored by:




08:45 am 



Plant Tour of Mercedes Benz U.S. International
Please note the tour will start PROMPTLY at 8:45 am
(Only guests registered ahead of time will be able to enter the tour)

Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center
6 Mercedes Drive
Vance, AL 35490


This year's Southern SME Forum will be held at
The Westin Hotel in Birmingham, AL
on Monday, April 9, 2018

The GACC South has negotiated a Special Room Rate at The Westin Birmingham in the amount of $179 for conference attendees, if you book by April 8th, 2018. To redeem this rate, book your room through the GACC Guest Website or call the Hotel at (888) 627-7095 and mention the German American Chamber of Commerce.

The Westin Birmingham

2221 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N
Birmingham, AL 35203

Phone: (205) 307-3600

Phone: (704) 377-0400
Concierge: EXT. 1778



Rafaela Hadba

Customer Experience Manager

German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., Inc.

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2018 Attendee Overview

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2017 Attendees by Industry Sector

Download Pie Chart Here 

View pictures from 2017's conference