This past month, I had the privilege to participate in Alabama Germany Partnership’s (AGP) 24th Annual Celebration Dinner at the Battle House in Mobile, Alabama. Many German professionals attended this event that either work in Alabama or plan to locate a new facility within our state. As a native of Germany, it always amazes me how many Germans are already here in Alabama, and I cherish every opportunity to keep my German language skills practiced.
During my junior year of high school, I participated in a foreign exchange program that landed me in Curry, Alabama. I eventually overcame the “new kid” stigma and the language barrier with time. I fell in love with Southern culture and enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree and later a Master of Engineering in Construction Management from the university. After graduation, I began working for a German engineering company in Birmingham.
AGP develops and supports relationships between organizations and individuals in Alabama and Germany. They focus their efforts on three pillars – education, business, and culture. Most people associate German presence in Alabama with the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, which started production of passenger vehicles in early 1997. AGP was founded by a spouse of a German executive who moved to Alabama to lead the production. This massive investment in our state has created thousands of well-paying jobs and put Alabama on the map for international industrial investment, particularly the automotive sector. Since then, many Mercedes-Benz suppliers have moved production facilities and German personnel to Alabama, and we have seen this trend continue. Take the German company Heiche for example. It’s a German company specializing in chemical surface treatment of metal parts, and it is in my hometown of Jasper. The company serves automotive customers throughout the southeast. Sain has been instrumental in the site selection process of many of these types of investments into our state. We are thankful to be part of the growing economy and transforming our job market with well-paying career opportunities in the automotive and manufacturing industries.
AGP is an extremely active organization, and many of Alabama’s leading German and American companies are participants in AGP. The organization facilitates meetings between German company leaders, educational groups, and young professionals; furthermore, it offers networking opportunities, German dinners, cultural workshops, and business seminars. To learn more, visit their website.