Rolf Biekert, president and CEO of Trumpf USA Inc. in Farmington, has been named honorary German consul general for Connecticut — a post that’s not just ceremonial.
As an honorary consul general, Biekert can’t perform official diplomatic functions such as issuing visas, but he is, in effect, the Federal Republic of Germany’s representative in Connecticut. He’s been at Trumpf’s Farmington plant, which makes laser machines for the sheet metal industry, for more than 20 years, a decade as head of North America operations for the company.
Biekert, a U.S. citizen, received the appointment Tuesday from Rolf Schuette, the German consul general in Boston, and both men are scheduled to meet with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday.
He’ll be the business and cultural diplomat for German people and companies in Connecticut, the largest of which is Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, with about 3,000 employees in Ridgefield.
The appointment, approved by both nations, caps a 5-year effort by Costas Lake, who oversaw foreign direct investment for the state Department of Economic and Community Development until he retired in 2009, and has continued as a volunteer.
“Who is better to market the state of Connecticut than the German companies that are here?” Lake said Wednesday.German-owned manufacturers represent about 7 percent of all factory employment in Connecticut, Lake said, and that does not include such firms as Boehringer Ingelheim and Munich Re, which owns The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.