The Human Side of International Business
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after 40-plus years of doing business internationally, it’s that it’s all about the people you meet and the relationships you build. As a multi-national manufacturer, we have many locations around the globe. I can’t even say I’ve visited all of them; we have expanded so much internationally in recent years. However, one place I always feel at home is in Germany. In fact, my grandfather A.C. Stahl (born in the U.S.) was raised speaking German and spoke very little English until he was in his teens! (The name Stahl is German for steel.) I also feel at home in Germany because our business roots there go the deepest. On a recent visit, I was able to meet with GroupeSTAHL Europe CEO Thomas Karr and our accountant/financial adviser Walter Hoffmann, both of whom I have known for over 30 years. Walter speaks about as much English as I do German, but we never have any trouble communicating. When he is not crunching numbers, Walter is a certified “Weltreisender” or “Globetrotter” with a sense for adventure. I enjoyed hearing all about his last trip to New Zealand, but was even more fascinated to learn about his plans to travel to Antarctica and spend time in an igloo. I wish you safe travels my friend, until we meet again.