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WEPZA recognizes the achievements of the following individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the success of special economic zones.

Richard Bolin

Dick Bolin was a central figure in the development of export processing zones.  While working with A.D. Little, he led "Operation Bootstrap," which established the world's first export processing zone in Puerto Rico (1957–61).  Subsequently, he created the "maquiladora" export factories in Mexico and throughout Central America from 1961 to 1974.  His work on these projects is credited with generating over 1,400,000 new export jobs in 3,700 companies.

After his formal "retirement," Dick's tireless work and advocacy for free zones continued.  Through his company, International Parks, Inc., he helped establish industrial parks all over the world.  He created the first research institute dedicated to studying free zones, the Flagstaff Institute.  He also established the world's first trade association of free zones, WEPZA, under the auspices of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.  Read more about WEPZA's founding here.

Dick passed away in 2013, though the organization he founded lives on and continues to promote the development of zones globally.  Read Dick's obituary.

Peter Drucker

Perhaps no individual has had such a pervasive impact on modern business practices as Peter Drucker. Peter defined several management concepts deeply ingrained in our society, even coining commonplace terms like "management by objectives," "privatization," and (in reference to outsourcing) "production sharing."

However, as explained by former WEPZA Secretary-General Robert Haywood, Peter had an even more profound, albeit less recognized, impact on society generally. In Peter's view, good management principles led to well-performing, autonomous institutions, which he viewed as a cornerstone of individual liberty. To quote Haywood:

"Peter Drucker's passing was hardly noticed by the common man. However, if free markets and democracy survive another 200 years, Peter’s works will be seen to define the basics of the highly productive economy which emerged in the late 20th century in the same way that Adam Smith defined the new rules emerging in late 18th century Europe. Adam Smith's work marks the beginning of the Age of Industrialization. Peter Drucker's works should be seen as marking the beginning of the Age of Freedom: the ending of tyranny."

Peter was committed to the use of economic zones to introduce the benefits of the modern economy to the developing world, and recognized WEPZA's important role in that process. He once stated that "WEPZA was the only proven way to create jobs in the developing countries."

Peter Francis Ryan

While working with the newly formed United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Peter Ryan helped establish WEPZA in 1976 and was instrumental in bringing forty countries on as members.  Peter also helped negotiate UN and World Bank contracts for the development of free zones and himself managed the construction of zones in approximately 15 countries.

Aside from these accomplishments, Peter has also had a productive career orchestrating numerous investment-promotion development programs in the Middle East, Russia Latin America, and the Carribean.  He served in the UK's Royal Air Service, formed businesses as a mechanical engineer, and held diplomatic posts.  

Peter and his family currently live in Kent, England, where he has been writing books about his varied experiences.

Robert Haywood

Bob Haywood has played an important role in the furtherance of zones programs around the world. From 1985 – 2008, he followed in the footsteps of Dick Bolen, serving as WEPZA’s Secretary-General. While leading WEPZA, he organized annual conferences, conducted research on zones, advised on zones activities, and edited the newsletter and conference memoirs. He is widely considered one of the leading experts on economic zones.

Bob is currently Vice President and Chief Vision Officer of Community Matters, Inc., where helps communities diagnose local economic conditions and discover innovative ways of utilizing local strengths and overcoming local deficiencies. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the One Earth Future Foundation and as President of International Parks, Inc. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1977 and a BS in Physics from Worchester Polytechnic Institute in 1973.

Kürşad Tüzmen

Kürşad was the Minister of State of Turkey from 2002 to 2009, during which time he also served as Director of WEPZA.  Throughout his career, he has championed free trade zones as vehicles for promoting economic development.  After starting in the Turkish State Planning Organization in 1981, he was promoted to General Director of Free Zones in the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade in 1991.  Over the next decade, he climbed to the position of Undersecretary of Foreign Trade by 1999.   After being elected to the Turkish Parliament in 2002, he was named State Minister and continued developing Turkey's Free Zone program in that capacity.  In 2003, he was selected "Minister of the Year."  Kürşad's membership on the WEPZA board began in 1995 and served instrumental roles until 2011.