Opening World Trade

Currently there are about 330 world trade centers around the world. Savannah Economic Development Authority president and CEO, Steve Weathers, along with a large team of local supporters, is well on the way to bringing the next one to Savannah.

Steve Weathers has been in Savannah working as the president and CEO of Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) for only about eight months, a short amount of time to do business in a tight-knit community notorious for operating by long-standing family and friends connections. But you’d never guess it by watching him command a room full of the heaviest hitters in the city, a group that collectively governs over the sea, land and air in the Creative Coast. During the succession of meetings he’s been having with local leaders, he’s calm and direct. He stands at the head of the room sharply dressed, with well-managed hair and a trim figure, indicating his level of attention to detail. He’s a man with a grand plan for the city and everyone can sense it. “Should we get plugged into world trade?” he asks. It’s a question he’s been asking a lot lately—to community leaders, to himself, to business owners and world trade experts. And by that he means, Should Savannah’s next big economic move be to bring a world trade center to the city? It’s a sexy idea, he admits. “There’s a big world trade center in Dubai, UAE, and there’s also one in the small town of Missoula, Montana. And they do business. Can you imagine any other reason those two places would have to ever communicate? It’s amazing,” Weathers says.

And it’s true. An instant connection into world commerce is intriguing. Add on the fact that Savannah has a prime location, a range of industries already heavily involved in importing and exporting, and a tourism driven economy, and it seems like a perfect idea. Right? Some local leaders think so and are throwing themselves behind the campaign. However, others, including Weathers, aren’t sold just yet.