About Us - World Trade Center Institute

About Us

Overview & Mission

The World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) is the largest international business network of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic – a who’s who of the top global business executives in the region.

We strive to drive the growth of Maryland’s flourishing global business community. Today, more than 2,500 Maryland firms benefit from WTCI’s global connections, events, international visitors program and extensive global business services.  In addition, WTCI serves as the World Bank Group’s Private Sector Liaison Officer (PSLO) for the region, enabling local firms to access opportunities in developing countries.

WTCI was established in 1989. Financed jointly by area businesses and the State of Maryland, WTCI operates as a private, non-profit membership organization.

Founding Companies

Abell Foundation
Advance Business Systems
Arthur Anderson and Company
Baltimore Sun
BGE/Constellation Energy
Black & Decker
Crown Central Petroleum Corp
Ellicott Machine Corp (now Ellicott Dredge)
Ernst & Young
First Maryland Bancorp (now M&T)
Four Seas & Seven Winds Travel
Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman
Giant Food, Inc
Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells)
IBM Systems Integration Div
Legg Mason
McCormick & Co
McGuire, Woods
Miles & Stockbridge
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Perdue Farms
Phillips Foods
Piper Marbury (now DLA Piper)
Port of Baltimore
SCM Chemicals
Semmes, Bowen & Semmes
Signet Bank/First Union/Wachovia
Trahan, Burden & Charles
University of Maryland
Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman)
Founding Board Members


World Trade Center Institute (WTCI) was founded in 1989 by Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer, Chairman of RTKL Associates Harold Adams, and a founding Board of Directors comprised of leading business people in the region to act as an international business educational organization. In 1992 WTCI agreed to help the Maryland Port Administration fulfill some of its World Trade Center Association licensee responsibilities (i.e. hosting educational programs and international business services). The same year, a full annual international business seminar schedule was developed.

In 1994, the WTCI helped to establish the first US Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, formed its Latin and Asian regional business networks and launched a website. Since 1995, the WTCI has organized the annual Maryland International Business Leadership Awards which recognize excellence in all areas of the state’s economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, hi-tech, environmental and service. A special award, the Governor’s Leadership Award, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated sustained and exemplary efforts in support of Maryland’s international relations and/or trade.

In 1996, the World Trade Resource Center, a library with written and electronic directories and databases for international trade information, was opened. The same year, the Maryland International Center merged into the WTCI, bringing a federally funded program for international visitors, which has grown to become the Professional Exchanges Program. In 1997, the WTCI received the President’s E-award for Exporting and incorporated the Maryland Sister States program from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Current President and Executive Director Deb Kielty joined the organization in 2001. In 2006 along with longtime members Jhpiego and Procter and Gamble, WTCI launched the Women Spanning the Globe Leadership Conference, a day-long for women by women event that provided leadership training for female professionals. Four years later WTCI was certified as the Private Sector Liaison Officer by the World Bank.   In 2015 WTCI launched the Emerging and Developing Global Executive Program, a 10-month program in which 20 rising executives learn about international business directly from private industry professionals.

WTCI Today

The World Trade Center Institute serves as Maryland’s premier international business network. With a mission to drive international collaboration and business growth, WTCI helps educate and connect local and global leaders in the private, public and academic sectors. Its reach extends through partnerships with Maryland State Government (Commerce, MDOT, MDA, etc.), 300+ World Trade Centers across the world, the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank network,  and more. New programs like EDGE and AGILE underpin WTCI’s global business education foundation, alongside its proven-successful Inside Series and Taste of Business series for members. Its events continue to draw more than 1500 attendees from diverse companies across the region; the Professional Exchanges Program welcomes more than 700 visitors each year, and Maryland’s top companies are among the list of WTCI members.