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WTC founder Tozzoli dies, aged 90

New York, February 6, 2013

Guy F Tozzoli, president emeritus of the World Trade Centres Association (WTCA), has passed away in his sleep in his Myrtle Beach home in South Carolina.

He would have turned 91 on February 12.

"It is with great sadness that we note Tozzoli’s passing,” said Eric R Dahl, chief executive of the WTCA. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends worldwide. Tozzoli leaves behind the powerful legacy of having built the WTCA into a global presence in nearly 100 countries since he founded it in 1970. More importantly, his vision of prosperity through trade and investment lives on. We remain committed in our pursuit of this vision."

Tozzoli was responsible for overseeing the planning, construction, and operation of the former 110-story World Trade Center towers.

His impact ranges from pioneering the containerisation of cargo by helping build the world’s first container port in Newark, New Jersey, to managing the design and construction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, to founding and building the World Trade Centres Association that now comprises more than 300 members with ‘World Trade Center’ branded facilities spanning the globe.

For the past four decades, Tozzoli was affiliated with the WTCA, which he founded in 1970 and served as president until 2011. “In January 2011, we congratulated Tozzoli on his many grand accomplishments as he retired from being the WTCA’s first and only President,” said WTCA chairman Ghazi Abu Nahl. “Today, we bid him farewell, knowing that his work is continued on through countless people, hundreds of centers and a network of nations.”

“Decades ago, United Nations Secretary General U Thant recognised his vision as a ‘United Nations of Commerce,’ and so it remains today,” he added.

Tozzoli was born in North Bergen, New Jersey and joined the Port of New York Authority in 1946. He served in the Navy during the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, and then returned to the Port Authority where he was responsible for construction of the first container port, shifting maritime activities from New York to Newark.

In 1961, he created the transportation section of the New York World’s Fair and, in 1962, was named the Port Authority’s director of world trade and assigned responsibility for founding the World Trade Center and constructing its headquarters. Tozzoli’s vision led to the construction of the 110-story, 10 million sq ft Twin Towers in lower Manhattan.

Dedicated in April 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world and included – at his insistence – the world-famous Windows on the World restaurant. Readers’ Digest termed the project, “the largest building project since the Egyptian Pyramids.”

In 1962, international trade accounted for 2.7 per cent of the United States’ gross national product. Today, it accounts for more than 22 per cent, growth that is due in no small part to Tozzoli’s singular focus on fostering world trade.

In 1970, Tozzoli shifted his perspective from one to many, founding the WTCA with an initial contingent of 15 cities in seven countries. He was immediately named its first volunteer leader and then sought relentlessly to expand to other countries.

When the representatives of the People’s Republic of China asked for advice in the 1970s, he insisted they create world trade centers, overcoming their resistance because there was one in Taiwan.

In the 1990s, he worked to launch world trade centers in South and North Korea, an effort for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Upon retiring from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey in 1987, Tozzoli became the first WTCA staff president, a post he held until his retirement in January 2011, when he was named president emeritus.

Tozzoli is survived by his wife, Cynthia, children Susan Tozzoli, Richard Tozzoli, William Tozzoli, Michael Tozzoli, Kathleen Bernaldo and Tom Tozzoli, and two grandchildren. – TradeArabia News Service




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