German American Collaboration

Emilio Brahmst, director of Germany Trade and Invest’s (GTAI) Chicago office, uses his industry expertise to promote Germany in the U.S. Midwest.

December 2019


Chicago by night © Pexels on Pixabay

What is your background and how did you join GTAI?

Emilio Brahmst: After studying engineering in Berlin, I went to Detroit to work as a consultant in the automotive industry. I analyzed many manufacturing processes at domestic auto makers and their suppliers while at the University of Michigan and later at two other employers. After 10 years, it was time to move on. I started an MBA program in Chicago, and I got in contact with Germany Trade and Invest, which was looking for a candidate to cover the automotive sector. It was a perfect fit, and I think it is a strength of our service that we have strong industry expertise in the sectors we consult in.

What are the key industries in your region for foreign direct investment?

Brahmst: The American Midwest is generally characterized by strong manufacturing, food and service sectors. We also have several clusters. For example, most domestic car makers and their suppliers are headquartered in Michigan. Chicago is the third largest metro area in the U.S. and home to a variety of very large corporations that represent a cross-section of our industries. Interestingly, I tend to find most investors in areas where Germany is strong as well, such as advanced manufacturing.

What information do companies seek about Germany?

Brahmst: Many of our clients are small- to mid-size companies and they usually need information on how to establish and run a business in Germany. As a result, we dispense a variety of information on these topics. Some companies also seek industry- specific information in order to complement their own analysis. Also important is our site selection service where we work with the investor and with our partners in Germany on the state or city level to find the best possible investment location.

»We focus on emerging growth areas.«

Emilio Brahmst’s job is to attract investment to Germany, and he has assisted many U.S. and Canadian companies with FDI projects in the automotive, machinery and other sectors. He regularly speaks at industry events. He is an engineering specialist with a Masters in Engineering in Manufacturing from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Engineering and Machine Construction from the Technical University of Munich.

How do you work with the German American Chamber of Commerce and the German Consulate in Chicago?

Brahmst: Aside from regular exchanges, we are often present at one other’s events. It turns out that our networks are very mutually beneficial. We also share resources. The Chamber may help us organize events. Or we might assist them by supporting trade missions. The cooperation can even extend to colleagues in Germany: for example, our expert in automotive lightweighting recently participated in the visit of a Chamber delegation to our country.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Brahmst: We will try to be proactive with respect to trends by focusing on the emerging growth areas within our industries. And we will increase our efforts with regards to automation equipment for machinery, ingredients for food and autonomous technologies for the automotive sector.