History

The WTCA was established in 1970 to facilitate international trade by bringing together exporters, importers and service providers. The first seeds of the international movement were sown in 1970 when the pioneer World Trade Centers – Houston, New Orleans, New York and Tokyo and a number of World Trade Center enthusiasts first organized a World Trade Centers Association.


2014: Louise Tieman is hired as the new President and CEO of the World Trade Center Tacoma.


2010:  Having weathered the economic environment to date better than most similar organizations – growing, in fact, rather than shrinking – the WTC Tacoma continues to look for ways to engage the community and help members increase their international trade


2009:  Anthony Hemstad, private international consultant and lobbyist, is hired as Executive Director.  Despite the significant challenges in the economic environment, WTC Tacoma is able to grow in membership


2008:  James McMahan, of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs, is appointed as Executive Director on a contract basis and departs at year-end. Board decides to hire a full-time staff Director and begins a search


2007:  Udbye leaves his post as Executive Director.  WTC Tacoma begins a search for a new Director and reevaluates its strategic plan


2003:  WTC Tacoma relocates to its current location in an effort to co-locate with other organizations devoted to economic development for the region


2002:  WTC Tacoma is recognized with World Trade Centers Association’s (WTCA) Quality Certification in recognition of their commitment to providing world class services to the region’s international business community. The areas certified are: Trade Information Services, Business Services, Trade Technology, Trade Education Services


2001:  Andreas Udbye is named as Executive Director


2000:  Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma Commissioner, is named interim Director of the WTC Tacoma after Kennedy’s resignation, while a search for a permanent director is underway. Board conducts reevaluates  the center’s mission and strategies, and reaffirms their commitment to the existing model


1997:  John A Kennedy, former executive from Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, is hired as Executive Director after Bacon’s resignation.  1st Annual Marco Polo Award is handed out at 5th Annual Globe Awards


1996: Under the auspices of Russell Investments, Operation New Market is born.  This program raised $640,000 for the WTC Tacoma in its effort to strengthen its ties to the community and establish itself as a center of excellence for trade resources and to help the city, county, port and business community come together and help Tacoma underscore its importance in trade for the region.


1993:  Globe Awards concept is developed and first ceremony is held


1992:  Constance Bacon, former special assistant to Governor Gardner, is selected as new Executive Director almost a year after Peregrine’s resignation and after significant organizational reevaluation of goals and direction


1989:  Nancy Peregrine, Tacoma businesswoman, is hired to replace Christiansen after his resignation.


1987:  In response to community and business leader demands, the Port of Tacoma decides to fully activate the services offered by many centers around the world.  Roger Christiansen, former SeaFirst senior vice president is selected as first Executive Director


1985:  The Port is finally able to come to an agreement with a developer to build Class A office space. In April, the World Trade Center complex is dedicated


Early 1980’s: The Port operates the WTC Tacoma on a limited basis through the offices of the Deputy Executive Director. Services offered include use of Port’s facilities for meetings and research, lists of import/export firms and trade mission logistics


1979:  Port of Tacoma purchases license from the World Trade Centers Association for $1,100 in annual fees


Early 1970’s:  World Trade Centers Association begins in earnest garnering attention from real estate developers world-wide.  Portland developer Stanley Harris buys up significant portions of Tacoma and obtains a WTC franchise.  A WTC Tacoma logo is displayed on a luggage shop on 9th and Commerce. The Port envisions a “North Pacific World Trade Center” with the goal of creating an office/hotel/conference center complex.  IRS troubles and a stint on McNeil island caused Harris to sell his WTC franchise to PG&E in Portland. The Port continues conversations with the WTC regarding licensing


1960’s:  Port of Tacoma Commissioners recognize the need for Class A office space in the tide-flats, an RFP for a private builder on port property is unsuccessful due to Port’s inability to be anchor tenant

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