German American CC official visits
By Kevin Sweeney
NEW ULM – The Double Anniversary celebration in New Ulm Saturday gave Aline Anliker, executive director of the Minnesota Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce a chance to visit one of Minnesota’s most German enclaves.
Anliker and her husband Dominique Kull, who live in Minneapolis, visited New Ulm and were given a whirlwind tour of town by George Glotzbach before visiting the festivities at Hermann Heights Park.
The German American Chamber, with Midwest headquarters in Chicago, has about 130 member businesses. Its focus is to foster bilateral trade and investment between Germany and the U.S.
Anliker said she works mostly with smaller businesses interested in expanding or finding connections in Germany or Minnesota. Larger corporations like 3M usually have all the resources and personnel they need for making international connections.
Anliker, a communications specialist who also runs her own marketing and communications business, plan A communication, helps businesses by connecting them with a variety of local resources, or with some of the full-time consultants at the Chamber’s headquarters in Chicago.
She will help them weave through the different regulations, customs and language differences as they make their business connections.
Anliker is hoping to expand the German American Chamber’s reach beyond the Twin Cities area to places like New Ulm in outstate Minnesota.
Kull, a manager for Bakery Supply Systems division of Buhler, Inc., knows about the differences. He travels internationally for his company, which supplies grain milling and processing equipment to food processing firms.
“In Europe, a lot of people speak English or study English, but they don’t always understand the meaning (or nuances) of the words,” he said. “They may send an e-mail to someone, using language that has a negative meaning they aren’t aware of, and the person getting the email will think, ‘What did I do?’ and send a negative email back.”
European and American businesses have different styles of doing business as well. In Europe businesses like to meet and plan and develop a complete project strategy before launching something. Afterwards, there are few meetings as people carry out their part of the plan. American businesses want to get a project going quickly, and continue to hold meetings throughout the project to check on the status and deal with contingencies.