The Alabama Department of Commerce has opened a business development office in Stuttgart, Germany, to enhance the state’s efforts to attract European companies considering investments in the U.S.
Christoph Doerr, a German businessman who spent seven years in charge of an industrial operation in Alabama, serves as the director of the state’s new European office, which began operating earlier this month.
Doerr traveled to Montgomery last Friday for meetings with Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. He also met with Bob Smith, the assistant director of Commerce’s business development team who directs European strategy, and Hilda Lockhart, director of Commerce’s International Trade Office, among others.
Doerr has 20 years of management experience and solid contacts in industrial fields such as engineering, tooling, machining and additive manufacturing in Germany and other areas on the continent
Doerr is CEO of Innoteque Solutions in Kornwestheim, Germany, about 5 miles from Stuttgart, a major industrial center that is home to global automaker Mercedes-Benz. From 1996 to 2013, he was president and CEO of Aluminumtechnologie Schmid GmbH, a high-precision CNC machining and die-casting company.
“Communities across Alabama have seen real benefits from the state’s economic ties to Europe, thanks to robust levels of two-way trade and significant investment that has created thousands of jobs,” Ivey says. “Establishing a European business development office to strengthen this relationship and spark even more economic activity just makes sense for Alabama.”
A total of 82 German companies have operations in Alabama, more than any other foreign country, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data. Other European countries with a significant business presence in Alabama are France (51 companies), the United Kingdom (26 companies) and Sweden (11 companies).