SACC-Georgia’s 31st Annual Lucia Gala was featured in Global Atlanta. Trevor Williams wrote an insightful and pleasant article
about the Gala and the Swedish Lucia tradition. Thank you! Click on the link to read the article in full.
Qmatic is a company that bridge the online and physical world with smart technology solutions. They would love to help to further bridge Sweden with Georgia. It is a Swedish company with offices in both Atlanta, Georgia and Mölndal, Sweden.
Jeff Green directs Qmatic U.S. He is a passionate brand and customer experience advocate with more than two decades of leadership experience focused on service delivery, account management and business development. Jeff leads a team of more than 50 employees who focus on ensuring Qmatic customers enjoy an experience as exceptional as the one they strive to deliver for their own customers.
Why is Qmatic in Atlanta? What’s interesting about Atlanta now and in the future vs. when you first arrived?
Qmatic has been in the US for the past almost 30 years. Originally in Illinois, then Asheville, NC, then Duluth, GA since 2011. Key reasons are accessibility to a major international airport, solid business (and technology) community, and we enjoy being East Coast (easy access to everywhere) with great quality of living in this area for our employees. Most interesting in the future is the evolution Georgia continues to go through as a international and national technology business center.
Is all your business for North America from Atlanta?
Our direct business is managed out of Atlanta, yes, but we have clients in all 50 states and a sales coverage model for whole US. We support Canada operationally, Qmatic Canada, but sell and manage clients through channel partners in Canada, and Non US North America.
What about the DMV in Georgia? Are they a customer? Are you pleased with this success?
Yes, Georgia Department of Driver Services is a key client of ours in the state. We partner with 23 of the 44 state run Motor Vehicle departments/agencies. Pleased with Georgia, yes, working with them on continual improvement of business process and better serving citizens is a key focus for us in our relationship with them.
Any other big successes in Georgia and the U.S.?
Many, we focus in 8 key industry segments in the US and have many strong success stories to share.
What’s ahead in North America?
Growth. Locally, regionally, and nationally. We will be tweaking our org structure to better drive market and industry focused growth. We are the industry leader in US with huge growth potential.
Let’s talk about the bridge between Sweden and Georgia, and the ocean that’s been squeezed to being just a river…
Definitely want to leverage. Working to have a stronger business bridge. From Qmatic US, we are very focused on our national footprint and we are proud of being a Swedish company – we manufacture and create our software and hardware in Sweden.
Visit at our corporate member Qmatic, founded in Mölndal, Sweden in 1981. They now have 11 international offices worldwide and one of them is in Georgia. Here with their Swedish intern Max who spent the summer of 2016 at their Atlanta office – he had a great time!
Pictures from The Swedish-American Chamber of Commcerce Georgia’s 31st Annual Lucia Gala which was held on December 17, 2016, at Druid Hills Golf Club. Special thanks to our photographer Randy McDow for these beautiful pictures. Thank you all for celebrating our Swedish cultural traditions with us here in Atlanta. We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did. Happy Holidays from SACC-Georgia!
On Thursday, November 17, 2016, The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Georgia organized a company tour at one of our corporate members, Swedish Atlanta-based company Regal Lager. Founded in 1991 by husband and wife Bengt Lager (former Swedish Olympics athlete in modern pentathlete)and Luanne Whiting-Lager, they truly are a family business, not only in the sense of the ownership, but also in terms of their values, mission and not least; customers. During this visit, we were given an interesting insight into the world, industry and machinery around everything from the safety, shipment and even design of baby and children products.
It started off with a tour of their modern facilities and impressive warehouse, whereby a special presentation of both their history, as well as their various specialized, Swedish-style and inspired products where introduced and explained, and ended with networking and a luncheon, during which regulations in their specific industry – and how they potentially could be changed in the future – were discussed.
Although they have had their ups and downs throughout the journey of establishing Regal Lager, starting with a thought born through the ideas, concepts and trends they saw in Sweden, which they passionately were eager to introduce to the American market, and seeing many changes in their niched business over the past 25 years – they continously grow, prosper and re-invent themselves, constantly introducing and distributing new, innovate products on the market.
Regal Lager is a distributor of high quality baby and children’s products located in the surburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. They started out as a small, family owned business and have grown into a large, family owned business. Family is the best way to describe what they do: from the ownership, to the esprit de corps of their employees, to their family of quality brands, to their family of retailers, and most importantly, to their commitment to you and your families. Read more here!
Emily Tepe – aka IVA, is SACC-Georgia’s Lucia 2016! This will be her third year in a row to take on the stage as our Lucia Performer at our traditional Lucia Gala. Read more about her here or have a look at her website.
In 2015, she was appointed Swedish-American of the Year by the Vasa Order of America, more details around this honorary nomination can be found in the clip above, where we get to follow her through her cultural journey from the U.S. to Sweden, where she actually ended up living for 6 years. During that period of time, she experienced a “very deep feeling of peace and calm”, while enjoying exploring her roots and heritage, both on a personal and professional level.
She candidly shares her wonderful and enriching experience of living in Sweden, and emphasize the value of knowing and celebrating your origin – something that many of our Swedish-American members surely can relate to.
We are very pleased, proud and excited to have her performing at our 31st Annual Lucia Gala – get your tickets now!
Emily performing last year at SACC-Georgia’s 30th Annual Lucia Gala.
Who is Emily Tepe?
She is a singer, artist, and mentor who cares for the world around her and the world within her.
What inspires you musically?
For as long as I can remember I have felt compelled to make music, and it is a constant presence in my life. I have always loved to sing and write songs, and have had many journeys around the world, including my years in Sweden, that have inspired my music. The experiences I have had in my relationships, both good and bad, inform the music that I write. I suppose it’s a way to deal with my emotions. Recently I went through a particularly difficult time in my love life, and that led to some beautiful songs that I now am proud to sing, despite all the pain that brought the songs to me.
Tell us about your Swedish heritage!
My ancestors Per Larsson Cock and Margaret Lom came over on the third voyage of the Kalmar Nyckel in 1643. They settled in the colony of New Sweden and my family still lives in the Wilmington/Philadelphia area where they were. As a child I sang every year at the Lucia festival at Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, Delaware and participated in Swedish cultural events, which made me more interested in my Swedish heritage. When I was in graduate school at Manhattan School of Music I decided to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to Stockholm, where I wound up living for six gloriously cold and dark years.
How was living in Sweden?
The Swedes are a caring, progressive people who value serving society as a whole instead of worshipping yourself, the individual. I learned to be more mindful and less ego-driven, and to listen carefully. I also felt a great sense of peace in Sweden, which I did not feel while living in New York the years before, despite a daily yoga and meditation practice. Sweden took me on a deep journey into myself and I learned to hear the true voice within me, not a voice shaped by the priorities of others close to me, or catering to popularity. Sweden helped me find the channel to the music living within me.
What is your impression of Atlanta and Georgia?
I was struck by the friendly people in Atlanta, the delicious restaurants, and how much fun you all had at the Lucia Gala. You are a great group of Swedes and Swede-o-philes and it’s always a pleasure to sing for you.
When did you first come in contact with the Lucia tradition?
At Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and later I had the chance to lead Lucia celebrations in Stockholm, which was a treat since I knew the songs and traditions from childhood.
What does Lucia mean to you?
For me Lucia represents the Swedes’ love of singing. It brings warmth and love to a cold environment. When I lived in Stockholm I was struck by how much everyone loved to sing at parties and for friends, and saw beautiful choir singing in the Old City on Lucia day. The lights and the music bring comfort and love to Sweden during a very dark time of the year. I love to light a candle at home during the cold and dark days and play my Lucia music from Adolf Fredriks choir in Stockholm. It brings back so many special memories.
What can our guests expect from your performance at SACC-Georgia’s 31st Annual Lucia Gala?
I’ve been practicing my fire-swallowing act for some extra flair this year! No, I am kidding, but you will hear some beloved Swedish Lucia songs as well as American classics, and even a song or two of my own.
As this will be your third year in a row as SACC-GA’s Lucia Performer – what do you like most about our Lucia Gala?
I love that you include the drinking songs in the party. It’s a great way for everyone to get to know each other and builds real camaraderie.
Watch her video “Just Enough” from her latest album below!
On Wednesday November 9, 2016, SACC-Georgia held a Wine-Working Event at Brookhaven Wines.
The evening consisted of a wine tasting during social and business networking among members and friends of the Swedish-American community in Atlanta.
Host Brandon Tai guided us through a selection of wines from both the “old and new world”, while we had the opportunity to mingle and to learn more about various wines, in a relaxed and enjoyable environment, in an intimate fall social where several new members where introduced to SACC-Georgia’s network.
On Thursday October 20, 2016, The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Georgia organized a company tour our corporate member, Swedish company Elanders, in Acworth. Stefan Danielsson, Director of Finance, Quality & Administration at Elanders USA, showed us through two of their impressive printing plants and warehouse facilities. The morning ended with a breakfast during which we enjoyed a presentation of their worldwide operations – the Group operates in more than 18 countries on four continents – ending with an interesting Q&A focused on the future of their man industries including the possible challenges and solutions which they may face or undergo. Elanders expanded into the USA in 2008 and has since then experienced tremendous growth, both nationally and internationally.
Elanders is a global supplier of integrated solutions in the areas supply chain management, print & packaging and e-commerce. Their most important markets are China, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA. Their major customers are primarily companies within the Automotive, Consumer Electronics or Industrial Manufacturing Industry.
Thank you to all of who attended this event! We look forward to seeing you again at our next company tour which will be held in Kennesaw on Thursday November 17th at Swedish company Regal Lager, a distributor of high quality baby and children’s products! The theme will be regulations for international imports and how they might be affected after the election. Stay tuned for more detailed information!
Board Member Martin Koepenick, founder of Innova International, who also is Chairman of SACC-Georgia’s Marketing Committee, visited our Stockholm-based corporate member Kilpatrick Townsend, and was welcomed by associate Glenn Nyström and trainee Emilia Strömberg. Emilia just returned to Stockholm after spending 1 year in Atlanta, during which she completed a Masters of Laws degree from Emory University School of Law, while also being part of SACC-Georgia’s team. The international law firm’s Swedish office, with 30 lawyers, officially joined the Chamber last year, as they have a great interest in expanding their network in the U.S., where Kilpatrick Townsend has no less than 15 offices – one of them being located in Atlanta; the heart and business center of the Southeast.
They discussed Kilpatrick Townsend’s U.S. Desk in Stockholm, among other topics, and we were very pleased to finally meet them in person and learn more about their operations. It is always interesting to engage with members who are based in both of our active regions – the State of Georgia and Sweden. That is also the case with our Swedish corporate members Thomas Concrete and Qmatic, with their Swedish offices being located on the west coast, in Gothenburg and Mölndal. As a Chamber of Commerce, we are always looking for ways to facilitate meetings, introductions and business opportunities across the borders.
Learn more about Kilpatrick Townsend’s Stockholm office here.
We hope to continue fostering good relationships across the Atlantic ocean with our members, partners and other collaborators in Sweden through company visits, networking events/forums/seminars (which you can see more of below) and delegation trips whenever our Board of Directors and other members have the opportunity to go there. We are hoping to be able to meet many more at Amerikadagen (America Day) in Gothenburg (March 22, 2017), an excellent 1-day conference dedicated to connecting Swedish and American businesses with each other, while exploring themes, trends and topics relevant to both countries. For those interested in networking with the Swedish-American business community in the U.S. – SACC Summit in Washington D.C. (November 2-3, 2016) provides an excellent opportunity to do so.
13th Sweden-U.S. Entrepreneurial Forum
Stockholm, October 5, 2016
A mix of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, university and government leaders came together to accelerate successful ventures to the U.S. On behalf of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, Georgia, Innova’s Martin Koepenick attended the event, who is pictured above with Per Ericson, entrepreneur founder of Graytec AB, and Anne Lidgard, Director of Vinnova’s Silicon Valley office.
Says Martin, “A lot of energy was in the air, as Swedish entrepreneurs talked about their latest inventions and desire to market in the U.S. Venture capitalists from the U.S. and Sweden were upbeat about more Swedish breakthroughs to come. Software, Apps, and industrial offerings to lower water and energy consumption were key topics. California’s Silicon Valley is their principal focus, but Atlanta could be emerging. And don’t forget Minnesota, especially for health care. Stay tuned for some possible developments in the works for Atlanta.”
The forum was organized by ESRI in concert with the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden.
Or why not donate an item, gift or experience to our Silent Auction? It would be great exposure for your business including wide-ranging marketing and promotion of your services through our international network and communication channels.