Persistence pays off – 10 years to attract German company to Springfield OH

GKS manager Andrew Wal operates out of GADC's space within the SBDC

GKS manager Andrew Wal operates out of GADC's space within the SBDC

A long courtship yields results

In 1995, Folker Hemmann, head of the German-American Development Corporation, started his business by mailing letters of introduction to thousands of medium-sized German companies.  He put forth the value proposition that if a German company could find someone to sell to the US market, he could take care of establishing the company, maintaining the books, and navigating the regulations of US business for them.  And he would do it for a monthly fee with no long-term contract.  Well, since that time Hemmann has helped 8 companies cross the ocean and establish a presence in Springfield, Ohio. 

One of the companies to get Hemmann’s letter was GKS, a German lifting and moving equipment company (jacks, dollies, and pumps).  Over the years, Hemmann visited them at industry trade shows and at their headquarters, keeping contact and nurturing the relationship.  When GKS and its parent Georg Kramp & Co KG decided to found a US company, the choice was easy, and so in 2005 and early 2006 they started GKS Lifting and Moving Solutions, LLC at the Springfield Technology Center where Folker is housed. 

The German parent company

GKS LLC is a subsidiary of Georg Kramp GmbH & Co KG in Fellbach/Germany (near Stuttgart).

Georg Kramp GmbH & Co KG was established in 1950 as a wholesaler for machinery and cutting tools. In the late 1960s, the started developing, manufacturing, and distributing lifting and moving equipment under the “GKS-Perfekt” brand (which means GKS-perfect in German).   The company currently has 29 employees.  GKS’s state-of-the-art standard products are engineered for safe and reliable use up to a maximum weight of 440,000 lbs. (200 tons).  The company’s equipment is most often used for the lifting up and transporting of heavy, but valuable machines and equipment. 

>> GKS’s US homepage –
>> GKS’s global website –
>> About GKS Lifting – 

>> IMTS 2010 profile & booth –
>> Thomas Net profile –
>> Hotfrog profile –

 >> SNS Article on incubator/SBDC –
>> Small Business Development Center –
>> German-American Development Corporation –


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