July 2021
AGP In The News
By Michael Tomberlin, Alabama NewsCenter
Alabama Germany Partnership event celebrates business, cultural ties

German corporate investment in Alabama is certainly brightest with the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz, but the Alabama Germany Partnership (AGP) made clear at its annual dinner that the renowned automaker isn’t the only German star shining in the state.

Ten companies, including Mercedes, were recognized during AGP’s annual awards dinner at Regions Field Thursday night for investing $227 million in the state last year. They are:

It was the first large gathering since the pandemic began for many of the 262 in attendance and included addresses from Gov. Kay Ivey, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, and German American Chamber of Commerce South CEO Matthias Hoffmann.

At the conclusion of the dinner, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield was surprised with the Rainer Bauer Award, AGP’s highest individual honor.

Ivey praised Canfield’s efforts.
“Alabama and Germany have developed a special relationship over the years, and no one has worked harder to strengthen the economic and personal bonds that tie us together than Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield,” Ivey said. “Greg has spearheaded efforts to help numerous German companies launch their growth plans in Alabama, providing benefits that will be felt in communities for generations. This honor is well-deserved.”

Also at Thursday’s event, Anja Werth of Auburn University was awarded the Dr. Barbara Fisher Award, AGP’s top education honor.

THANK YOU! To Our AGP 23rd Annual Celebration Dinner Sponsors
AGP 23rd Annual Celebration Dinner Photo Gallery
AGP Stammtisch
Please join us for our monthly AGP Stammtisch:

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Carrigan's Beer Garden, Birmingham

What does "Stammtisch" mean? A Stammtisch is an informal group meeting held on a regular basis, and also the usually large table around which the group meets. A Stammtisch is not a structured meeting, but rather a friendly and casual get-together.

This is a great opportunity for German expats to meet and for other German-speaking/practicing to improve your German. Speaking German is encouraged but not required.

Dankeschön to our PATRON Members:
German Company Visit with STRAEHLE+HESS
By Tine Hoffmeister, AlabamaGermany Partnership
I met Corinna Luz for the first time when I visited STRAEHLE+HESS back in September 2019. At that time she was the Director of Sales as well as a member of the STRAEHLE+HESS International (a group that includes the HQ and all subsidiaries) management team. The headquarter is located in Althengstett, Germany, close to Stuttgart.

Corinna Luz had been with the company for 16 years when she took over the position as the CEO of STRAEHLE+HESS USA Inc. in Auburn, in July 2020. She is a German native and moved to the US in 2016 as a salesperson for STRAEHLE+HESS. She first spent 2 years in Michigan building up the network with the automotive companies in the Detroit area, and starting new projects with US manufacturers. In July 2018 she moved to Auburn to support the team on-site as a link to the HQ, to implement a lot of new processes especially Quality, Logistics, Product, and Process Development as well to launch the new projects with the team in Auburn.
2018 was also the year for another German native to arrive in Auburn, Denis Haehn, who is the Quality Manager. Denis graduated from Reutlingen University as a Textile Engineer, Bachelor of Engineering, and Master of Science in 2017. To build up his Quality knowledge and specifically the company’s products and processes, he started in the German headquarters as a Quality Engineer before he relocated to the US. Denis says “I really enjoy working with STRAEHLE+HESS and the US customers and suppliers as well my coworkers and the Management in Auburn. It is a great opportunity for me to gain a lot of experience with a leading international supplier of special textiles in the automotive industry as well to grow with the company in a leadership position.”
STRAEHLE+HESS opened their first facility in the US, 2004, in Auburn. Equipment was set up later that year and the production of two products, headliner application, and piping products for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, was started in 2005. Both products are still the main products with headliners as their core product.

The company grew from 10,000 square feet to 23,500 square feet from 2004 to 2015. In 2015 they added two more programs and ended up needing more space. They moved into a new 58,000 square feet location in Auburn in 2016. Customers keep increasing their demands and new opportunities had been added to the portfolio. Their product is special textiles mainly for the automotive industry. Tailor-made for interiors, like surface fabrics (headliners, pillars, sunroof, etc), trims like piping (design accents in seats) which have gained in popularity. They also produce products that are more “solution-oriented” and that might not be visible like fastening systems for seats, (woven and knitted hoses) and tensioning straps, elastic tapes. Since the company is growing, the company started end of 2020 to work on plans for an expansion of the current building in Auburn to double capacity and space. Corinna Luz says “We have outgrown a building in Auburn for the 3rd time now, that’s something we call happy growing pain and we are actually really more than happy to see such a great development of our location in the US!” She also says “We are really grateful to be in Auburn, the City of Auburn, especially the Industrial Development Board with Arndt Siepmann, are always very supportive.”

Learn more about the company at: www.straehle-hess.de

Fehrer Automotive expands in Gadsden
By Erica Joiner West, Business Alabama
Fehrer Automotive has invested more than $6 million to expand its facility in Gadsden by 200,000 square feet and add 15 more jobs.

This expansion gives the company a total of 500,000 square feet — quadruple the company’s footprint when it opened a decade ago — and giving the facility approximately 500 employees, making it the second-largest foam plant in the Fehrer Group worldwide.

“While this expansion will only, for now, create 15 more jobs, for us more importantly, it frees up space in the original production site to bring more production…into Gadsden and create even more opportunities,” said Matthias Goetz, general manager of the plant.

Founded in 1875, the Fehrer Group is one of the leading specialists in vehicle interior components. The Gadsden plant began with two production lines to supply Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, in Tuscaloosa, and Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. Today, the company has five production lines and its customers include Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz Vans in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Commercial Vehicle Group.

The acquisition of the new Mercedes electric SUV, which will be made in Tuscaloosa, and Volkswagen’s electric ID.4, which will be made in Chattanooga, will provide additional opportunities to Fehrer Gadsden.

Eberspaecher announces closure of Alabama plant
By Erica Joiner West, Southern Automotive Alliance
Eberspaecher is closing its Northport, Alabama, plant, laying off 47 employees. According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, the plant’s last day of operation will be Aug. 17.

The company, which started operations in Tuscaloosa County in 2003, had been laying off employees for quite a while, with a layoff of 127 employees in April 2019. The company’s Northport operation supplies auto exhaust systems.

According to the company’s website, worldwide Eberspaecher has close to 10,000 employees, making exhaust systems, climate control systems and automotive controls. Its Purem by Eberspächer exhaust emission control system helps to reduce CO2 emissions and acoustics to comply with emission standards and noise legislation.

Euro 2020: Germany's Joachim Löw era ends with loss to England
By DW.com
Germany's Euro 2020 ended with a defeat in London against England. For Joachim Löw, the end of the tournament also meant the end of his career as head coach.

Joachim Löw's last tournament as Germany's coach ended not with a bang but with a whimper as England overcame their demons to finally beat Germany in a big knockout game.

As tense as this fixture was — and for long periods it was on a knife-edge — perhaps the most telling aspect was that, despite having two head coaches at different ends of the experience scale, both spent more time trying not to lose rather than looking to win it.

Afterward, Löw, who announced in May his intention to retire after Euro 2020, could only lament the missed opportunity that his Germany side had had to make one last tournament run.

"It's a huge disappointment for us," Löw told German public broadcaster ARD. "We had hoped for more and the belief was there. But, in such games, it's important to use the few chances you have."
Though playing Germany carries traumatic baggage for England and their fans, this fixture is a matchup that has historically favored Germany. The Germans hardly ever lose to England in major tournaments, their last such defeat coming at the 1966 World Cup final. And despite Germany's own inconsistencies and a raucous home crowd, this Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash was no different.
But, besides England’s fans booing throughout Germany's anthem and Germany's longer spells of possession, and cheering when the big screen showed a little girl in a Germany shirt crying, it was not Wembley's intimidating atmosphere that left Germany dazed and confused but rather their inability to find out how to win the game.

Germany's Role in Europe
Germany has lifted all restrictions for travelers residing in the United States
The German Government has lifted all travel restrictions for persons residing in the United States, effective Sunday, June 20, 2021. Travel to Germany for all purposes will be permitted again. However, proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from COVID-19 or negative test results is still required for entry via air travel.

Requirements For Entry Via Air Travel

All air travelers six years and older who are entering the Federal Republic of Germany must either show that they are fully vaccinated or fully recovered or have tested negative prior to departure.

  • Travelers who received all the required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine cited on the website of the Paul Ehrlich Institute are considered fully vaccinated. It must be at least 14 days since the last vaccine dose was administered. On entry, travelers must have proof of vaccination in written (e.g. CDC card) or digital form (a cellphone photo is not sufficient). Vaccinated travelers must additionally show no relevant symptoms.
  • Travelers who can prove they were previously infected with COVID through a positive PCR test, taken at least 28 days but no more than six months prior, and who show no relevant symptoms are considered to be fully recovered.

Travelers who are neither fully vaccinated nor fully recovered must continue to present a negative COVID test prior to departure. Both PCR tests and rapid antigen tests are accepted. A list of approved rapid antigen tests that meet the requirements of the Robert Koch Institute for entry can be found here. The PCR test must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to entering Germany; the rapid antigen test, no more than 48 hours.
Transit travelers with a destination outside the Schengen area who do not leave the international transit area of the airport do not need to present a negative test prior to departure.

The United States No Longer Risk Area
As of Sunday, June 13, 2021, the United States is no longer categorized as a risk area according to the Robert Koch Institute. Thus, travelers are no longer required to register digitally for entry or quarantine on arrival in Germany.

German Health Minister predicts 90 percent of people who want vaccine will have one by mid-July
By The Local DE
Health Minister Jens Spahn says Germany is on track to offer nine out of 10 adults who are willing to be vaccinated a shot by mid-July.

According to Spahn, an estimated 70-75 percent of the German population is willing to be vaccinated. 

As of Monday, 43 percent of the population had been given at least one dose of the vaccine – meaning that two-thirds of adults who want a vaccine have already been given one. Around 17.6 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

On June 7th, Germany is due to lift the vaccination prioritization list to allow all adults to book a vaccine at their local GP’s surgery or vaccination center, regardless of whether they belong to a risk group or not. 

Until that time, several states are still inoculating priority group 3, which includes over-60s, key workers, and people with chronic health conditions – though some states, like Berlin and Bavaria, have already lifted their prioritization lists for GPs. 

Dankeschön to our SUSTAINING Members:
New AGP Member
Please help us welcome our new members:


Daniel Solea
Executive Manager

Your source for:

  • Production Stamping
  • Service Stamping & Assembly
  • Emergency Production Support
  • Die Tryout and Spotting
  • Press Rental
  • Engineering Changes
  • Service Parts
  • Foreign Tool Support
  • Large Component Machining
  • Staging of Foreign Sourced Tools

Die Services International, LLC was born on January 12, 2010. It rises from the former Republic Die & Tool Company and continues in the same fine tradition of its history. Located in the same facility with 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space and utilizing the same equipment.

As an AGP member, you can connect with them through the AGP membership database.

Alabama the Beautiful
Most People Don’t Know About This Magical Sunflower Field Hiding In Alabama

Alabama boasts a variety of outdoor attractions that are perfect for a summer visit. One in particular is The Sunflower Field. Even though The Sunflower Field welcomes many visitors each year, there are several people who are still unfamiliar with it. To learn all about The Sunflower Field, including why it belongs on your summer bucket list, take a look here.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions are in place for entry into Germany from a large number of countries. Those entering Germany from risk areas must complete a digital entry registration form, be tested for coronavirus, and, depending on the regulations of the Land in question, self-isolate. Please check for restrictions and registration here.

Key Information for Travelers to Germany from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit CDC Website.


We have collected a list of resources that can provide information and assistance during these challenging times. You can find them on our website under Helpful Resources.

AlabamaGermany Partnership:

You can continue to reach us by phone: (205) 341-7880 or email: director@alabamagermany.org.

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