Volume IV | April 19 2021
Since 1989 SACC-DC has offered a platform for developing U.S. – Swedish lucrative commercial ventures and professional opportunities through our network and business and social events. The SACC-DC Newsletter will help you stay on top of what’s happening in the Swedish-American business community and find the perfect opportunity to create new business connections in the greater Washington D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region.
From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,

Today April 19 President Joe Biden holds his second meeting with Democratic and Republican members of Congress to discuss his more than 2 trillion-plan to revamp U.S. roads, bridges, airports, broadband, housing, and utilities, and to invest in job training along with care for the elderly and disabled Americans.

The President has said that he wants to craft a bipartisan bill, although Democrats could pass legislation on their own through budget reconciliation if they fail to strike a deal with the GOP. Republicans have signaled that they could support a scaled-back bill focusing on transportation, broadband, and water systems. Indeed, the parties have different visions of what qualifies as infrastructure and how big of a role the government should take in improving it.

According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Macroeconomic Policy Institute, public investment spending does have a stimulating effect on private spending and GDP and as such can help close the output gap during recovery from the pandemic.

Public investment spending ought to get into the economy quickly not to overheat the economy on the other side of recovery. As infrastructure projects tend to peak years after a project is started, funding for projects already planned or initiated could be prioritized to undergird the economy in a timely manner. Local in nature, infrastructure spending coinciding with the geographic distribution of stimulus needs has a stronger stimulating effect.

The effect is further pronounced when monies are funneled to low-income households and to those in most economic distress, likely to spend rather than to save or pay off existing debt. To limit government debt build-up, stimulus spending should be limited in time.

Also on the Presidential docket, a global climate summit starting on Earth Day, April 22. The virtual summit is set to reconvene the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, bringing together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80 percent of global emissions and global GDP. Also invited are heads of state demonstrating strong climate leadership and countries especially vulnerable to climate impacts.

There is more on the Washington D.C. docket; read more below in this month's Newsletter expertly crafted by our Business Associate Rasmus Jonsson and his interview subjects coupled with feature articles and other items aptly representing the vibrant Swedish American business community in the region.

Best wishes,

Board Member Spotlight - Magnus Eriksson at Skanska
Magnus Eriksson with the Skanska Group is an Executive Vice President and oversees the company’s infrastructure investment portfolio in the U.S. Eriksson has been a key player in winning and delivering some of Skanska’s largest and most successful public-private partnership (P3) projects such as the A1 motorway in Poland, Karolinska hospital in Sweden, Elizabeth River Tunnels in Virginia, and the new LaGuardia Terminal B in New York. He has been with Skanska for 21 years, with 15 of those based in the U.S.

Skanska, founded in Sweden 133 years ago, is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the United States. Headquartered in New York with a presence in more than 20 U.S. states and territories, we have over 7,900 employees committed to being leaders in safety, project execution, sustainability, ethics, and people development. In 2020, our work in building and civil construction and developing self-financed commercial properties generated $6.5 billion USD in revenue. Project sizes range from $1 million to $3+ billion and include hospitals, education facilities, life sciences, airports, commercial offices, stadiums, tunnels, bridges, road- and railways, and data centers.

What is your connection to SACC-DC? first connected with SACC early in my time in the D.C. area. Skanska was already a member, going back decades to the time of our earliest projects in the U.S., which included the subway system right here in Washington, D.C. It was, and still is a great way to meet people and to build your local network, while keeping some of the more important Swedish traditions alive. I also enjoy SAAC’s close relationship with the Swedish Embassy and the very engaged and supportive Embassy staff..”

What is Skanska's approach to sustainability for your building and development projects? 
Skanska’s long-term global target is to achieve overall net-zero carbon emissions in our own operations and in the value chain by 2045, and we’ve already made considerable progress toward that goal. When the U.S. pulled itself out of the Paris Accord in 2017, Skanska was one of a number of companies and cities—and I believe the first large builder or developer—to state that we would continue holding ourselves to that standard. We still do.

I believe we have a unique perspective at Skanska because we’re part of the lifecycle of a construction project from beginning to end. We can have a positive influence over the design of many of our projects, even if we are not the developer—encouraging the pursuit of top sustainable building certifications, from Envision (for infrastructure) to LEED, WELL, Fitwel, Living Building, and beyond.

We also design and build for resiliency against any number of unforeseen future challenges. At LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B, for example, the Headhouse was designed to respond to ever-changing technology. The departures level can scale up to incorporate more space for social distancing in a pandemic, and the screening area is designed to adapt to ever-changing technology that will undoubtedly evolve over the coming years.”

What is Skanska’s view on the infrastructure program proposed by the Biden administration? 
I personally believe that increased investment in infrastructure in the U.S. is not a matter of if, but when, where, and how. There is almost literally only up to go, with the latest American Society of Civil Engineers report giving U.S. infrastructure a C-minus grading overall. While it is hard to see at this point the exact and final shape it will take, the proposed legislation is understood to be both sorely needed and well overdue. What I find particularly interesting is the very broad holistic approach taken by the administration in the proposed infrastructure program, reaching far beyond the traditional physical infrastructure we are used to seeing like roads and bridges, into clean energy, new technologies, and social programs to enable domestic growth and enhance American global competitiveness. I think this way of looking at infrastructure is refreshing and Skanska wants very much to continue building for a better society.

Skanska is a major transit and transportation infrastructure builder in the U.S. and the largest in both the New York metro area and throughout Southern California. Increased overall investment has the potential to positively impact the company over the long term. While we would still need to fairly earn any and all of that work, we believe we are best positioned among our peers given our focus on safety, quality, and the communities in which we live and serve.

Skanska also sees in the months and years ahead not just the building of roads and bridges, but a once-in-a-generation opportunity to optimize the connections between our communities. I’m personally energized by the prospect of our work bringing increased economic vitality to communities from Orlando to Seattle and in-between.”

What is your favorite hobby outside your professional career? 
Born in Gothenburg, being on the water has always been a natural way to take a break and relax. I have a weak heart for old classic power and sailing boats and whenever I have a chance, I take my mahogany runabout out for a drive on the Chesapeake Bay with my wife.

Researched and Written by Rasmus Jonsson, Business Associate
GARO, the Nordic region's market-leading manufacturer and supplier of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

For the second episode featuring manufacturers adapting to the global trend of energy storage in batteries and electrification, focusing on sustainability, SACC-DC will highlight GARO AB. 

GARO was formed in 1939, early with electrical safety, and has developed its business in stages ever since its start. Their 1000 M SEK passing rapidly growing business is nowadays organized into four product areas: Electrical distribution products, project business for tailor-made ready-to-install electrical cabinets, and temporary electric installations for construction sites & events, and E-mobility for chargers to electrical cars. The company has operations in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, and Poland. With its background, GARO presented its first EV-charging station in 2008.
Focusing on innovation, sustainability, and design, GARO provides profitable complete solutions for the electrical industry. Garo Electric has recently introduced a premium quality end-to-end EV Charging range to the European market. Backed by extensive Nordic market-leading expertise, Garo charging points are featured in multiple high-profile installations including Facebook, Musgraves, Abbott, McDonalds, Volvo’s R&D facility, Airport Car Parks, and Sweden’s Green Highway
The comprehensive range includes Wall Chargers, Public Fast Chargers & DC Charging Stations. Every setting is catered for, from home charging to workplaces, institutions, municipal buildings, offices, shopping centers, car parking & public spaces, service stations, etc.


In addition to offering market energy-smart products, Garo’s ambition is to be “Future smart” from an energy perspective. The company plan to achieve this by increasing its proportion of renewable energy, producing its own solar energy, and continuously enhancing the efficiency of its manufacturing facilities. The company communicates their work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where they have chosen six of them as being most relevant for them.
Finally, GARO is placed on the list of Sustainable Companies compiled by Dagens Industri, in partnership with the Lund University School of Economics and Management. The Sustainable Companies ranking is a survey, based on company reports and websites, to see how well companies are adapting their ongoing sustainability work. To gain points in the ranking, a company must have a sustainability strategy, a link between the sustainability work and the UN SDGs mentioned above, and integration of the SDGs into the company’s business model. The company must also demonstrate how its operations promote the UN SDGs, both positively and negatively. The operations must also be surveyed as regards risks associated with the SDGs. GARO received five out of a possible six points on the scale and has thus taken a strong position on this year’s list.

Someone else' does not work at GARO. We all have a responsibility for our products and our operations
Patrik Andersson, CEO & President

Researched & Written by Rasmus Jonsson, Business Associate
Meet Erik Gatenholm, CEO & Founder of CELLINK
To start off, could you please briefly introduce yourself and your background?
Hi there SACC USA community! Erik Gatenholm here, the co-founder and CEO of CELLINK, the leading 3D Bioprinting technology company. I was born in Sweden but grew up in the US where I also went to High School, College (Virginia Tech University), and started my entrepreneurial career. I have always been interested in life sciences and entrepreneurship from a young age. I started my first company at 18 and knew that was just the beginning. When I moved back to Sweden to get my MBA, I continued to fulfill my lifelong dream to be a life sciences entrepreneur. 

What has your interaction been with the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce?
I was honored to receive the Anders Wall Exceptional Entrepreneurship award from SACC and appreciate all the support they have shown for CELLINK and myself throughout the years. It’s a great organization and I am grateful to be a part of it. I’ve also been part of a few events, both as a speaker but also as an attendee. The community is strong and something that many companies should take part in when expanding their business in the U.S.

You co-founded Cellink in 2016 and ever since you have been very successful and seen as a pioneer within the field of biotech medicine and you have been awarded on several occasions for your great effort and innovation. What is the story behind Cellink´s success? 
My founding team and I have made it our mission to bring on talent that is not only smart but just as dedicated as we are to making an impact in the world and serving our customers. We took the time to really understand the customer’s pain points, which products they actually needed to solve their challenges, and finding solutions. I pride myself on providing top-tier customer service and establishing relationships with our entire customer base. I want to work with them, I don’t want them to just buy products. At CELLINK, we make it our top priority to grasp exactly what our customers are looking for and why. Then we either develop it ourselves, acquire it, or partner with someone that can provide us with that solution. Either way, the customer should get what they want. I believe approaching this business with a collaborative approach is what has really set us apart from our competition. 

How come you caught interest in this field in the first place? Did you have a big realization just before starting the company or is it a passion of yours that you have had for a long while? 
The moment I laid my eyes on a bioprinter, I was hooked. I was amazed by the potential this technology had and made it my mission to make sure this potential materialized. CELLINK is the first company in the world to commercialize a universal bio link for bioprinting of human tissues and organs, I believed off the bat that this was not the only route CELLINK would take in the bioprinting field. We had to figure out a way to create cost-effective solutions to enable more researchers around the world to utilize this technology to further their research. Many of our collaborators have been working with developing model organs, drug development, and disease research. It’s incredible to see how far our technology has come and how it’s being used. Today, we are in over 1,000 labs in 60+ countries and counting! It’s an indescribable feeling. 

What connection do you and your company have with the U.S.? What would you say are the strengths and opportunities in the U.S. market vs. the Swedish one?
I would say that CELLINK is today an American company, with roots in Sweden. We are working with every leading research institution in the US and believe there is tremendous opportunity here from both a business and scientific discovery perspective. The U.S. is our home market and the biggest market for our products and technologies. The brightest minds from all over the world come to the U.S. and want to establish themselves among other leading researchers at top-tier research institutions. I am seeing more and more of that in Sweden as well, which I love. That mindset is needed to make a big impact on the world. We have managed to take the best of both worlds and turn it into a successful business by applying American marketing and sales with Swedish design and product development.

You’ve mentioned in a range of interviews that your vision is to change the world of medicine. Do you perceive this vision as fulfilled yet or are you still on your path to achieving this? 
I am extremely pleased with the progress my team and our collaborators have made so far but our journey has just begun. I look forward to seeing where our collaborations take us and what scientific breakthroughs will emerge from bioprinting. The sky is the limit.

What current trends and future trends have you observed in the field of your business, 3D-bioprinting? 
Drug discovery is a huge part of the bioprinting industry right now. Scientists in our community are using bioprinting to print different lung tissue models to test drugs, potentially for COVID-19 and other diseases. I am truly blown away by the ongoing disruptive work within the field of bioprinting. 

How are you at Cellink handling the ongoing crisis in the world? Is it affecting your business significantly? 
I am happy to share that things have been going quite well despite current world circumstances and we have found a way to continue to educate and work with our customers. Science never stops and as a startup, it’s our mission to get our technology out there no matter what. Our mindset is that nothing should stop us!

Researched & Written by Lina Nygren: SACC USA
What do you want to read and hear about next?
Take the survey below to let us know what topics you want to see in future newsletters and webinars.

SACC-DC Newsletter Survey
Use the white button above to take the survey.
Congratulations Jens!
Congratulations, Jens Magnusson, on the new role as chief economist at SEB. SEB is a corporate member of the Chamber and an important sponsor of several key programs. We have had the honor and pleasure to work with Jens on many occasions.

SACC-DC wishes you much success in your new role.
New Members of the Chamber
The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, Washington D.C is happy to present three new members.
Cellink designs and supplies disruptive market-moving technologies and services to enhance biology research for long-lasting life impact.
SSAB, one of the largest North American producers of steel plate and coil, serving markets vital to the economy including energy, construction, agriculture, and transportation.
Life Asset is a non-profit organization that offers microloans, training, and support for entrepreneurs in the Greater Washington D.C area. Since its founding, Life Asset has provided more than 1,500 business loans to make business dreams a reality. Welcome to the Chamber.
Upcoming Events and Webinars
SEB: Greening the economy with bonds
SEB’s Christopher Flensborg, Head of Climate and Sustainable Finance, also referred to in financial media as "the father of green bonds”, and senior executives from four of Sweden’s most successful corporations will share their experience in executing climate related ESG mandates by issuing green bonds. Whether investor, practitioner or policymaker, listeners will glean first-rate advice on how to effectively leverage ESG mandates and capitalize on legislative plans while navigating risks in the evolving green bond US market - on the cusp of its first corporate funding transactions.

Date to be announced.
SACC-USA 2021 Executive Forum:

N.B. New Date: September 30th
The Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce of the United States of America (SACC-USA) cordially invites you to our flagship event, the Executive Forum, on September 30, 2021, in Washington D.C. The event is held in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in House of Sweden. This year’s theme – Business and Trade Opportunities under the Biden Administration – will give the latest insights in business and politics.
Septemeber 9th for our annual crayfish event.

Sponsored by Volvo Group.

More info soon.
Save the date October 14th for our annual golf torunament.

More info soon.
Webinar Opportunities: Sustainability Series 2021
Renewable energy, green financing, bio-based materials, circular economy, sustainable logistics etc. - sustainability is a highly popular topic!

We are currently looking for sponsors and hosts to our Sustainability Webinar Series. There is a great interest in sustainability in our Swedish-American network. Are you and/or your organization a sustainability-enthusiast and wants to update us about the latest innovations within this field? Do not hesitate to host, sponsor and/or participate in a webinar, discussing your topics with other experts and business leaders!

Please contact Business Associate Thea Nguyen at Thea.nguyen@sacc-dc.org for further information!
Secure your membership today!

SACC DC organizes many events throughout the year to give our members access to professional networking. Our annual flagship business events include SACC Summit, the Young Professionals program, and other corporate events, seminars, and workshops. We also tailor trade missions for Swedish companies interested in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

Whether an individual with a keen interest in or connection with Sweden living in D.C. or a company looking to establish new relationships, we can help you reach your next goal.
Join us on social media