Alexis Muellner Editor- Tampa Bay Business Journal   Tampa Bay Business Journal                                                                       

Globe  The German AmGermany-USA flagserican Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States is expanding and has chosen Tampa as its Florida landing spot.

First word of the deal was shared with members of the organization last week in Atlanta at an event.

Charles Puccini, CEO of Bauer Foundation Corp., will be named to a leadership role. Bauer is the U.S. subsidiary of the worldwide operating Bauer Group of Schrobenhausen, Germany.

Puccini believes he was sought after for his intrinsic understanding of the German market, and its quiet but significant Tampa Bay presence. He’s worked for Bauer for two decades.

“All the success I’ve achieved has come from selling German technology — not because it’s German technology, it’s just that it’s technology generated there, where their culture drives for improvement, and a lot of it based on competition there,” he said.

It’s the same drive to be better business culture that permeates the German auto industry and education system — a spirit that could have a “tremendous influence” on the Tampa Bay area, he said, “especially on education, on long-term risk assessment and risk avoidance all leading to less depression and economic compression in times of change.”

There are far more synergies, for example, between German business culture and educational systems, with young people matched up for employment opportunities and skill development at early ages.

The GACC is seen as a key element in a network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs), which have 120 offices in 80 countries. In the U.S., there are three sister German American Chambers of Commerce located in Atlanta, Chicago and New York, or their branches in Houston, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Its mission is to further, promote and assist in the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between Germany and the U.S., especially the Southern U.S., its website reads.

There is still a lot of planning to come related to local headquarters, hierarchy and presence. Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham is slated to appear at the Thursday press conference along with state trade dignitaries and German trade executives. The commissioner was active on the effort.

Clearly, on its website, the GACC calls the Southeast U.S. “a powerhouse of innovative business, with a high concentration of manufacturing and technological companies” within our 11 states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. “The entrepreneurially-friendly climate of this region is distinguished by its low operating costs and cost of labor, a highly skilled workforce, attractive economic incentive programs, and numerous non-union businesses. The costs for rent, infrastructure, taxes, etc., in this region are 4 percent below the national average.”

Alexis Muellner is Editor of the Tampa Bay Business Journal.