WTD Backstory- Part 6: Seedling of Vision & Inspiration by the WTCA

My vision is to impact the world through innovation within the arena of International Trade by:

  • Leveling the playing field.
  • Providing free access to vital trade information and resources.
  • Developing new methods and venues to bridge the gap of understanding and application.
  • Creating a community: a forum of free exchange members.
  • Contributing my unique experience, talents and insights.

My vision, like a seed, begins with the development of this WTD community: the open source access to advanced technologies and vast data repositories. If it is to flourish, my vision must evolve by the intertwined visions of other kindred spirits. To expand, it needs to become a communal vision, a viral entity in and of itself. That is the nature and life cycle of a vision particularly a global one.

The abiding motto of the WTCA – World Trade Centers Association – pioneered by Guy Tozolli in the ‘70s is “Peace and Stability through Trade”. The premise is that people who do business with each other are less likely to go to war with each other.

I remember the first WTCA conference I attended in Bejing in 2006. I happened to sit at the same table as Mr. Tozolli. Also in attendance were representatives from China and Taiwan, Palestine and Israel, Iran and many of the Middle Eastern countries all gathered in a common forum to discuss ways to promote their common interests. It was a profoundly moving experience.

World Trade Centers Association founded by Guy Tozolli

We (CenTradeX) had started as a trade information vendor to several trade centers. Later, we were invited to become a preferred trade technology partner to the entire WTCA organization of 300 plus World Trade Centers. We eventually acquired a license to develop the Nashville World Trade Center. For our contribution and involvement in the formation of the WTCA foundation, designed to “give legs” to their famous motto, we became recipients of their inaugural Global Corporate Leadership Award.

As WTC representatives we were the first to conduct a trade mission to Palestine. We became very close to our host and new Arab friend. Our intent was to facilitate trade and educational exchanges between the U.S and Palestine. Notwithstanding, I had studied Hebrew in college. My first wife was Jewish. My daughter traveled to Israel the summer following our Palestine trade mission with her Jewish boyfriend, while my eldest son has become a dedicated Muslim and calls the prayers at the Mosque. My ex-wife was/is a fundamental Christian.  I’m a liberal. Life is complicated.

Then again, it’s easy. It’s about people, not politics. That’s why I love trade data. It has no prejudices. It loves those that love it. It benefits those who apply it without bias. It is can give insight and success to those who embrace its message and instruction.

The most treasured aspect of my relationship with the WTCA and its members was belonging to a global community. Getting to know Guy, the man who literally built the twin towers under the direction of the Rockefellers for the port authority. Guy often referred to us not as members but as his family; sometimes a dysfunctional family to be sure, but still a family.

My WTD virtual family. A growing, close knit community.

After all, what is a family but travelers who share a common journey, for a time… or those who share a strong common interest… or those who are thrown together by life circumstances… or people who become so obsessed by trade data and technology that they are force to read, write or even create a blog site about it all?

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