Guy F. Tozzoli
Guy F. Tozzoli, visionary founder and President Emeritus of the World Trade Centers Association, passed away in his sleep February 2, 2013 in Myrtle Beach, just 10 days short of his 91st birthday. In a lifetime filled with major accomplishments, he developed a large portion of the 1964-65 New York's World Fair, directed the planning, construction, rental and operation of the New York World Trade Center, launched the World Trade Centers Association, received numerous nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize and created an innovative system for expediting trade transactions called TradeCard.
Born in North Bergen, New Jersey, he resided for many years in Westwood, New Jersey, before moving to Myrtle Beach after his retirement. He received a BS degree in analytic mechanics, an MS degree in physics from Fordham University and did graduate work at Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stevens Institute of Technology. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was recalled to duty during the Korean War.
In 1946, he began a four-decade career with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Starting as a junior engineer in the Engineering Department, he advanced steadily to positions of increased responsibility, including construction supervisor, assistant coordinator of engineering, and manager of marine terminal planning and construction, where he was responsible for marine terminal facilities in Brooklyn, Port Newark and Elizabeth, including the new container handling facilities at Elizabeth.
In 1961, the Port Authority accepted a request by the 1964-65 New York World's Fair Corporation to develop the Transportation Section of the Fair, an 80-acre site that comprised one-quarter of the total Fair grounds. Mr. Tozzoli was responsible for carrying out his work, reporting directly to Fair President Robert Moses.
Later, he originated and directed the development of the PA's Teleport, a satellite communications center and office park, including a regional fiber optic cable network. He helped found the World Teleport Association, now numbering over 100 members in 20 nations -- and served as its first president. He also conceived and launched the PA's Legal and Communications Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In 1962, he was appointed Director of the PA's newly-formed World Trade Department, consisting of the World's Fair project, the PA's trade development activities and the World Trade Center, which had just received bi-state enabling legislation. Described by Reader's Digest as "the largest building project since the pyramids," the World Trade Center encompassed 16 acres in Lower Manhattan, 15 million square feet of floor area, and seven buildings, including two 110-story towers - the tallest in the world at the time.
Over the years, the pioneering initiatives of Mr. Tozzoli with the New York World Trade Center attracted the attention of other regions worldwide. This led to the creation of the World Trade Centers Association in 1970. Mr. Tozzoli was the principal founder and the first and only WTCA president until his retirement last year. Under his stewardship, the WTCA expanded to include nearly 100 countries around the globe, with some members representing the most powerful trading organizations in their respective countries. During this span, he directed many innovative programs to help make World Trade Centers strong economic development engines in all types of economic and political settings. He was convinced that the best path to peace among nations was to build better global trade networks, and for his accomplishments, he was nominated in successive years to receive the coveted Nobel Peace Prize.
Following the horrific destruction of the New York World Trade Center on 9/11, there was some sentiment for canceling an upcoming WTCA general assembly and even changing the World Trade Center designation. Guy Tozzoli responded promptly and strongly that the assembly would go on as planned, along with the World Trade Center designation everywhere. In the end, there was an outpouring of support for his approach and a redoubling of the commitment of all World Trade Centers to promote not only world trade but international understanding.
Mr. Tozzoli is survived by his wife Cynthia (nee Holmes) Tozzoli, a sister, Rita Albert; children Susan Tozzoli, Richard Tozzoli, William Tozzoli, Michael Tozzoli, Kathleen Bernaldo and Tom Tozzoli; as well as two grandchildren.
Visitation, Sunday, February 11, 2-5 p.m., at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, NJ. Funeral mass, Monday, February 11, 10:15 a.m., at St. Matthew's Church, 555 Prospect Ave., Ridgefield, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, the Tozzoli family requests donations be sent to the World Trade Centers Association Foundation for the establishment of the Guy F. Tozzoli Scholarship Fund. For information on donating to the Scholarship Fund, please contact Niurka Coteron at the WTCA ( firstname.lastname@example.org / tel. +1-212-432-2626).
Published in The Sun News from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, 2013