BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The long-standing economic and cultural ties between Alabama and Germany were on full display Thursday night as 10 German companies were recognized for their investments in the state and Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield was honored.
The Alabama Germany Partnership’s Annual Dinner, held at Regions Field in Birmingham, attracted more than 250 German and Alabama leaders from throughout the state, including Governor Kay Ivey, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and German American Chamber of Commerce CEO Matthias Hoffmann.
The organization celebrated a diverse group of German companies that made investments totaling more than $210 million in Alabama during 2020.
Secretary Canfield, who has headed the Alabama Department of Commerce since 2011, received the AGP’s highest individual honor, the Rainer Bauer award. The award was established in 2001 to recognize individuals for outstanding accomplishment, dedicated service and loyal friendship to the AGP, both in Alabama and in Germany.
“Alabama and Germany have developed a special relationship over the years, and no one has worked harder to strengthen the economic and personal bonds that tie us together than Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield,” Governor Ivey said.
“Greg has spearheaded efforts to help numerous German companies launch their growth plans in Alabama, providing benefits that will be felt in communities for generations. This honor is well deserved,” she added.
Previous recipients of the award include Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, a member of Dr. Werner Von Braun’s original rocket team in Huntsville, former Mercedes-Benz CEO Bill Taylor and former Gov. Jim Folsom.
More than 80 German companies have operations in Alabama, some with multiple locations within the state. The strong economic bonds between Alabama and Germany prompted the state to open a business development office in Stuttgart in 2019.
German companies have invested nearly $10 billion in the state since 1999, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce. These projects have created nearly 18,000 direct jobs.
In addition, Germany is a top trade partner for Alabama, with two-way trade topping $5.5 billion in 2020, Commerce data shows. Germany was the No. 3 destination for Alabama exports last year, with shipments exceeding $2.2 billion.
“The business and cultural relationship between Alabama and Germany has continued to grow in importance over many decades and each year the AGP Annual Dinner provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate how meaningful it has become,” AGP Chairman Brian Hilson said.
“AGP is proud to recognize these German companies for their impact on our state’s economy, and Secretary Greg Canfield for his significant contributions to the Alabama and Germany relationship.”
The German honored at the partnership’s dinner were ALDI, Berg Pipe, Evonik Corp., Fehrer Automotive North America, Heiche US Surface Technologies, Knauf Insulation, Mercedes-Benz, REHAU Automotive, Sherman Industries and SWJ Technology.
The AGP, established in 1998, is a statewide, non-profit organization, dedicated to the development of the educational, business, cultural, and social relationships among individuals and organizations with ties to both Alabama and Germany.