This Just In

Guy Tozzoli, World Trade Centers Pioneer, Passes Away


New York, NY – Guy Tozzoli, founder of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) and a lifelong booster of world peace and prosperity through world trade, died February 2 in Myrtle Beach, SC, 10 days before his 90th birthday.

Tozzoli founded the WTCA in 1970 while working as director of world trade for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He became WTCA president in 1987, when he retired from the Port Authority, and held the job until stepping down in 2011. Tozzoli’s vision, encouraged by some and discouraged by many, involved the planning, building and operation of the 110-story, 10 million square foot World Trade Center Twin Towers in lower Manhattan.  Dedicated in April 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world at the time.  Readers’ Digest termed the project, “The largest building project since the Egyptian Pyramids.”

He was a driving force behind the establishment of more than 300 world trade centers around the world, many of which feature significant exhibition space and have become the leading exhibition facility in those cities or countries. In the 1990s, Tozzoli worked to launch world trade centers in South and North Korea. That effort, along with his lifelong belief that world peace could be fostered by world trade, earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

His accomplishments and contributions to the role of trade shows in international commerce earned him a place on the cover of the November 2009 issue of Trade Show Executive.

In 1993, when the terrorist truck bombing seriously damaged the Twin Towers, Tozzoli was trapped in a staircase for three hours.  On September 11, 2001, he was stuck in traffic and just about to enter the Holland Tunnel.  Looking across the Hudson River, he saw fire in the North Tower and then watched in horror as the second plane slammed into the South Tower.

In a letter to WTCA members shortly after, he mourned the tremendous loss of life, but said, “We must redouble our efforts to bring the world together under the banner of ‘Peace and Stability Through Trade.’”

“Guy did so very much that encompassed the world, from The World’s Fair to world trade,” noted Ghazi Abu Nahl, chairman of the WTCA board of directors and chairman of World Trade Centers Holdings (Cyprus) Ltd. “He was first and foremost a citizen of the world, and the world is a better place thanks to his Herculean efforts.  We will miss him greatly.”

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