October /2018
  AlabamaGermany Partnership   
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In This Issue
AGP Biergarten at U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville
Mercedes launches construction of Alabama battery plant
AGP Fall of the Wall
Daimler is getting a new CEO
German Expat Life in Alabama
GACC South Industry 4.0 Delegation Trip
Camp Aliceville

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What to do in Alabama

October 13-31

October 19-20

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October 22-27

October 27

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October 27-28
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October 27

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AGP Biergarten at U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville

Join us for German Biergarten at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. AlabamaGermany Partnership has been chosen to be the featured nonprofit organization at their weekly German Biergarten. They will make donation to our organization by contributing a portion of food sales the evening of October 18.

Thursday, October 18, 2018
4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center

The Biergarten is in the Saturn V Hall in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration. This is a free event but you can purchase authentic German cuisine, and beers and delicious wines from the German region. 

Come join us for a festive evening. Look for us at the AGP table at the entrance - we will also have a couple of reserved table. Don't miss it! 

Mercedes launches construction of Alabama battery plant

According to Made in Alabama  Mercedes-Benz started this month with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Scott Davis Industrial Park to mark the start of the construction on a two million square-foot plant that will supply battery packs for the Mercedes-Benz's Alabama-made electric vehicles. The 1 billion expansion was announced in September last year.

They also celebrated their first customer-ready 2020 GLE. This will be the fourth generation of the sport utility originally known as the M-Class.

Click here to read Made in Alabama's full story

AGP Fall of the Wall

Join AlabamaGermany Partnership (AGP):

Thursday, November 8, 2018
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Brät Brot Biergarten in Birmingham

We are Celebrating the 29th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall at Birmingham's new Biergarten with  German style food, beverages and networking. 

$35 AGP Members/$45 Non-Members fee - includes beverages and food. Pre-registration is required. Must be 21 of age to attend! 

Thank you to our generous sponsors: 

       Roedl & Partner         
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler is getting a new CEO
By Tine Hoffmeister, AGP

Ola Källenius with AGP Delegation in Stuttgart in 2018

According to Daimler's blog last month, Ola Källenius has been selected to be the next CEO of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. He will be replacing CEO Dieter Zetsche two years ahead of schedule. Zetsche will move to the Supervisory Board in 2021. Källenius will be the first non-German to take the helm of Daimler as he becomes the CEO in 2019. The AGP Delegation to Germany in June had the pleasure of hosting Mercedes-Benz Appreciated Dinner with Källenius as the guest of honor. Källenius is also know to Alabama as the 2009 CEO & President of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance, AL. 

As successor of Ola Källenius with board of management responsibility for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, the Supervisory Board has appointed Markus Schäfer, who is also well know to Alabama as the CEO & President to Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Vance, from 2010 to 2013. Jörg Burzer was by Schäfer's side in Alabama as VP in Logistics and Supplier Quality. He will now take over Schäfer current position as Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars for Production and Supply Chain Management. Congratulations to them all. 

German Expat Life in Alabama - Leaving the Comfort Zone
By Diana Heuer, German Expat

"Birmingham, Alabama - where exactly is that?" was my first question when my husband came home one day from work, telling me that his company offered him a job as President and CEO of their American subsidiary.

I have been to the USA numerous times for private or business purposes, mainly to the East and to the West coast. Alabama only crossed my life once with the "Sweet Home Alabama" movie. As I have an inherent desire to analyze things before making decisions, I said "Let's see it first." Fortunately, we had an upcoming vacation planned in Florida. So, we took some days to go to Birmingham and we were positively surprised by the city, the nice neighborhoods, the very friendly people, the landscape, the great food and the weather. Nine months later, in July 2017, we started our new life as so-called expats in Birmingham, Alabama.

Many say that the women and the kids have the more difficult part of the expat-experience and I fully agree with that. Most of the expats are men and they will soon find themselves back in a familiar environment with a structured working day in the office, with co-workers, with meetings and so on. However, it is the women who must re-invent their own lives. Suddenly, there is no more job, family and friends are thousands of miles away and there are a lot of new everyday challenges.

First week challenges
One of our first challenges was to camp in our new house on inflatables for a couple of weeks. We only had a suitcase each when we arrived. The rest of our entire household was stuck in a container in U.S. customs for longer than expected. I still remember how euphoric we felt when our belongings finally arrived. Our to do list was loaded with tasks like signing up for electricity, Wi-Fi, TV and trash removal, applying for a US driver's license and social security number, opening a bank account, obtaining insurance and getting a phone contract. Unexpectedly, all of this is quite a challenge when you don't have a credit history in this country!

For our nine-year-old daughter our new life was challenging, too. She did not speak English before we got here. Searching the internet showed that it may take about six months to understand and nine months to speak the language. Surprisingly, it did not even take that long. After only three months she was able to easily follow the lessons and at the end of her first year she got one of the best report cards of her class. Relieved and very proud parents!

Getting used to cultural differences and local customs
Books with titles like "A Deep Insight into American Culture" or "Culture Shock America" - I read them all. Even books describing us Germans were on my reading list. Doing so I realized how German I actually am. I never thought so before. Instead, I considered myself rather cosmopolitan after living abroad during my days as a student. However, I found that I carry many German values and attitudes.

Click here to read more about Frau Heuer's experience as an Expat. 

GACC South Industry 4.0 Delegation Trip to Germany

GACC South is arranging a delegation trip to Germany for executives, researchers and thought leaders within the field of Industry 4.0.  The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), so there is no participation fee, but participants are responsible for individual travel costs, food and hotel accommodations.
The trip will take place  December 3-6  and will include stops in Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. It will also include a visit to the  Smart Factory  as well as to sites showcasing real-world examples of German innovation in the advanced manufacturing sector. Together with program partner SBS systems for business solutions, they will connect you with even more industry stakeholders engaged in German Industry 4.0 initiatives and advanced manufacturing organizations for an in-depth look into augmented reality, automation and international collaboration opportunities.
For more information on the preliminary itinerary and to register, please check out the program flyer .
Camp Aliceville
By John Stephen Hutchinson, AGP Intern & UAB Student

On September 10th, the Friends of the Hoover Public Library hosted an event titled "Camp Aliceville: Alabama's Prisoner of War Camp 1942 -1945." The event was presented by Ruth Beaumont Cook, a historian and author who has thus far published two books, with a third coming soon. The presentation covered information from Cook's second book, Guests Behind the Barbed Wire, which chronicles the story of WWII German soldiers at Camp Aliceville, the largest prisoner of war camp in Alabama during that time.

Camp Aliceville was constructed to help house the large number of Axis soldiers captured by the Allies during the campaign in North Africa. On June 3rd, 1943, the first trainload of soldiers arrived in Aliceville, escorted by military guards and Alabama State troopers. Curious locals defied orders to stay in their houses in order to catch a glimpse of their new neighbors. Neither the POWs nor the locals could have guessed the relationship they would soon develop.

POW treatment at Camp Aliceville can be regarded as the model of humane war-time prisoner treatment. The German soldiers were fed three times a day, and their time was split between work and free-time.