An organization promoting economic ties to the German state of Niedersachsen recognized the Alabama Department of Commerce as its “Outstanding Economic Development Partner of the Year” at an international trade show in Chicago.
The award from Invest in Niedersachsen reflects Commerce’s strategic efforts to build close relationships with companies and business organizations throughout Europe but particularly in Germany. Commerce maintains a business development office in Stuttgart, and Germany is Alabama’s No. 1 international investor.
“We opened our European office in 2019 to raise Alabama’s profile and make the right connections within the business community there,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“This much-appreciated award from our friends in Niedersachsen shows that our efforts are paying off, and we’ll work hard to expand our relationship with them,” he added.
Dr. Andreas Eckstein, managing director of Invest in Niedersachsen in the U.S., presented the award to Commerce’s Senior Project Manager Veronica Crock on Tuesday, during the International Manufacturing Technology Show/Hannover Messe USA at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Dr. Eckstein said Alabama was chosen over 15 other economic development organizations for the group’s award.
“The efforts that Alabama has taken on in bringing aerospace and automotive suppliers to the region and also making them feel at home with cultural events like Stammtische (an informal dinner event) and Oktoberfest led to the decision,” he said.
“We are looking forward to strengthening the relationship with Alabama in the future.”
Commerce and the Alabama Germany Partnership, an organization dedicated to solidifying economic and cultural ties between the two, hosted Dr. Eckstein during a recent visit to the state.
While in Alabama, he attended an AGP dinner event and toured the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, among other sites, according to Bob Smith, Commerce’s assistant director of business development in charge of European strategy.
Christoph Dörr, who heads Commerce’s European office, said Niedersachsen, or Lower Saxony, is an important region in Germany. It surrounds the state of Bremen, a key industrial center, and borders Hamburg, where Airbus has a massive manufacturing presence. Major cities in Niedersachsen include Hannover and Wolfsburg, a hub for auto manufacturing.
“I maintain a close relationship with all the states in Germany to discuss the great opportunities in Alabama,” Dörr said.
“And we have a good connection with the state of Lower Saxony, especially on the topic of aerospace and automotive.”