About the World Trade Center Institute – World Trade Center Institute

About the World Trade Center Institute

For nearly 30 years, we’ve helped organizations – startups, top corporations, universities, and government agencies build relationships personally and professionally and change their business profoundly.

Overview & Mission

Our mission is to empower globally-minded leaders with new ideas and valuable connections. We believe in the power of a connected community and being part of something bigger than ourselves. We believe that sharing knowledge and experiences makes a positive impact on Maryland and across the globe.

We strive to drive the growth of Maryland’s flourishing global business community, and today more than 2,500 Maryland firms benefit from WTCI’s global connections, events, programs and services. Our members range from local startups to many of the region’s top corporations, universities, and government agencies. They’re part of more than 300 WTCI Network organizations in 130 countries, a World Bank PSLO network in 100 countries, and 20 years of State Department programs. Our network is the largest of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic – a who’s who of the top global business executives in the region.

Founding Companies

World Trade Center Institute Founding Companies

WTCI History

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

Started Company

WTCI was founded 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

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.


WTCI helped to establish the fi rst US Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, formed its Latin and Asian regional business networks and launched a website. The following year WTCI launched the annual Maryland International Business Leadership Awards which recognize the leaders in Maryland’s international business community. A special award, the Governor’s Leadership Award, recognizes

Introducing the Professional Exchanges Program

The World Trade Resource Center, a library with written and electronic directories and databases for international trade information, was opened. Later that 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.


The WTCI received the U.S. Department of State President’s E-award for Exporting and incorporated the Maryland Sister States program from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

A New Era with Deb Kielty

Current President and Executive Director Deb Kielty joined the organization following a 20+ years in international business with Procter and Gamble.

For Women by Women

WTCI launched the Women Spanning the Globe Leadership Conference along with longtime members Jhpiego and Procter & Gamble. This day-long conference for women by women event provides leadership training for female professionals.

Mid-Atlantic Certification

WTCI was certified as the Private Sector Liaison Officer by the World Bank for the Mid-Atlantic, one of 98 across the world.

Emerging and Developing Executives

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.

Celebrating 20 Years of Exchange

The first Maryland Global Gala was held, an event that highlights 20 years of Professional Exchanges in Maryland.