1984 -1986’sWarner Bros to EDTI & EXPO 86

In 1984 with EXPO 86 underway, I received a call from my friend and Ex Trizec boss Richard Weiser with instructions to proceed to New Jersey for a meeting with Warner Brothers and Disney executives and creative staff. I arrived at the conference room to find 100 or more people seated, listening to a speaker at a podium, under the lights. His name was Bob Petralia. He was describing Warner Bros intention of presenting the next level of entertainment to the world at EXPO 86 in Vancouver Canada. The audience consisted of the best creative minds of Warner and Disney. Petralia, whom I’d never met, looked up from his lectern and asked if Richard Alm was in the room. I replied with a wave at which point he announced that “Richard is the new Vice President Warner Leisure Canada and is responsible for coordinating your talents to achieve our entertainment objectives.

Fortunately, my friend, Mark McGuffee was Assistant General Manger of the New York UN Plaza Hotel, a Hyatt Property, and he booked me into the President’s Suite. It came with 2 bedrooms, a formal dinning room, living room with a white grand piano and a view overlooking The Chrysler Building and New York City. When I hosted a contingent of executives the following evening, they must have wondered who was this character from the wilds of Western Canada.

The following 6 months was a blur. I hosted several private and government Pavilion groups in and out of New York. We used Warner Limousines and the Warner Helicopter on the East River to ferry groups to various Warner Leisure factories in upstate New York.

One day, out of the blue, as I am preparing to leave for Australia, we were called to an important meeting at the Warner headquarters in NY where I was informed that Robert Petralia was charged with mail fraud and Warner Leisure was no more.

While flying to Australia I was determined to carry on. We had meetings arranged with the Australian, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysian governments. My partner in this venture Tony Simon corralled our creative contacts and joined forces with a local Vancouver contractor. I created EDTI Exhibit Management Inc., had stationary and business cards printed in Sydney which I went on to present to the various government officials in my journey. EDTI Projects Inc as the consortium was called, went on to be either general or exhibit contractor for 11 of the 54 EXPO 86 pavilions.