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2009 Austria Connect Conference in Atlanta  

group Image Kesberg, Rosensweig, Prosl, Fernandez, Roessler, Seefried
September 25, 2009

Rays of sunshine lighten up gloomy skies at the 2009 “crisis summit” of Austrian subsidiaries in the US.

“We can’t deny that Austrian subsidiaries in the US are affected by the current economic crisis, but they are still far from throwing in the towel. Our companies, most of them in the high-tech sector, have generated enough capital to have a considerable advantage over many of their American competitors. They are prepared to ride out even long-lasting economic storms and to take advantage of the weaker competition once the crisis is over,” said Austrian Trade Commissioner Christian Kesberg in his closing remarks at the successful second Austria Connect Conference 2009.

After launching the Austro-American event in Washington in 2008, the Austrian Trade Commissions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles organized the second conference for Austrian subsidiaries in Atlanta this year. Talks given by some of the most renowned political and economic experts attracted almost 100 participants from all parts of the country, among them the Austrian ambassador to the US, Christian Prosl.

U.S. Senator from Georgia Johnny Isakson presented a critical approach to the new US administration’s economic and political agenda and provided an inside perspective on the current health reform debate. Emory professor Jeff Rosensweig, a “rockstars” amongst US economists, gave a sweeping speech on the current economic situation, claiming that, despite generally pessimistic forecasts, the economic crisis is actually over. At the same time, Rosensweig warned against being too optimistic that the economy would soon recover. The undisputed highlight for all participants was the opportunity once again to exchange experiences and ideas with fellow Austrian CEOs from all over the country. This interesting program drew participants from Austria, among them Wolfgang Litzlbauer, CEO of Miba Group ( and Erwin Toplak, president of Kapsch TrafficCom (

Christian Kesberg’s positive wrap-up: “We received consistently positive feedback on the concept and the execution of the conference, we had more participants than last year and we already received great suggestions and ideas for next year’s Austria Connect Conference in Chicago”.

The event was generously sponsored by Austrian Airlines, The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Bank Austria / Unicredit, Erste Bank, RZB Finance and DB Schenker.