signingTop executives from The Water Council, based in Milwaukee, and the German Water Partnership, located in Berlin, have committed to promoting economic development and providing assistance to companies seeking to establish and expand their presence in each other’s markets.

A memorandum of understanding signed by The Water Council’s president and CEO, Dean Amhaus, and German Water Partnership’s (GWP’s) general manager, Dr. Michael Prange, at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans on Sept. 26, 2016, outlines a framework in which the two bodies will collaborate on business development and scientific and institutional research while promoting interpersonal, professional and cultural exchanges.

The groundwork for the joint initiative between the two organizations was laid in May when Amhaus and Cate Rahmlow of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) attended IFAT 2016, a trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management in Munich, where WEDC’s German international trade office arranged a meeting with Prange. The meeting underscored the potential benefits of building upon already strong relationships between Wisconsin and Germany, the state’s sixth-largest export destination and a strong source of foreign direct investment.

“The roots of today’s Milwaukee water technology industry lie in the German immigrants who first came to the area and made the region a world-renowned leader in brewing of beer,” stated Amhaus. “This industry supplied the breweries with everything from the pumps to the meters that kept the water flowing. With this strong history and trade relationships between Wisconsin and Germany, it was only natural for us to expand our global presence in Germany.”

“The United States of America, as one of the leading countries in the world in innovation and technology, is the preferred partner for Germany in global markets, not only in the water sector,” said Prange. “The Water Council and GWP offer their partners and members an ideal platform to create integrated solutions for the international water market.”

Capitalizing upon the strong relationship between Germany and Wisconsin, WEDC led a trade mission to the country in April in conjunction with the Hannover Messe trade fair. WEDC’s Invest In Wisconsin exhibit at the fair educated attendees about Wisconsin’s manufacturing strengths. The trip, led by WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan, included targeted meetings with German companies looking to expand their operations in the U.S. as well as a celebration and renewal of Wisconsin’s 40-year sister state relationship with the German state of Hessen.

“The formalization of a mutually beneficial working relationship between two of the most respected global water technology organizations highlights Wisconsin’s growing leadership in the world, particularly when it comes to challenges related to water conservation and sustainability,” said WEDC Deputy Secretary and Chief Operations Officer Tricia Braun.

In addition to sharing resources, information and expertise, The Water Council will develop a program of “soft-landing” services for GWP members that seek to establish offices in the Milwaukee region, including space in Milwaukee’s Global Water Centers. The signatories also agree to share business acceleration best practices and explore the development of a program modeled after The Water Council’s BREW (Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin.) accelerator for German water technology startups.