Innovators and Leaders in the Science and Technology Community Celebrated at the Arizona Technology Council’s 2018 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation

Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority, Wins
Prestigious Chairman’s Award

Technology Council
, in conjunction with the Arizona
Commerce Authority
, today announced the winners of the 2018
Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) Awards
. Leaders and
innovators in Arizona’s booming technology community were celebrated at
a prestigious gala attended by the top companies and influencers in the

“As our economy continues to boom, innovation becomes more important
than ever,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona
Technology Council. “It is essential that we celebrate the creative
spirit of Arizona by recognizing and honoring the state’s technology
leaders and up-and-comers. We congratulate all the winners and extend
our thanks for their part in advancing Arizona as a top-tier technology

The winners in their respective categories are:

Company Award Winners

  • Innovator of the Year – Start-Up Company: BlackBar
    , Tucson, AZ
  • Innovator of the Year – Small Company: CampusLogic,
    Chandler, AZ
  • Innovator of the Year – Large Company: Benchmark,
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Innovator of the Year – Academia: Dr.
    Laurence Hurley
    , The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Chairman’s Award

Selected at the discretion of the Arizona Technology Council’s
leadership, the Chairman’s Award was presented to Sandra
, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. Watson brings
more than 20 years of economic development leadership experience to
Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted to Arizona more
than 750 companies that have committed to invest nearly $10 billion in
capital and create more than 125,000 jobs. Watson is a collaborative
leader who excels in strategic thinking and relationship building. She
worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the Arizona Commerce
Authority, providing invaluable leadership and stability during its
transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s
first public-private partnerships focused on economic development.

Previously announced winners that were also honored at the event include:

Individual/Company Award Winners

  • AccountabilIT Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Armstrong, managing
    partner, Canal
  • Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year: Heidi Jannenga, WebPT,
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Judges Award: Al Maag, MaagCommPlus

Previously announced “Future Innovators” and “Teacher of the Year” award
winners can be found here.

Previously announced Tech Champions Legislators can be found here.

“The companies and individuals honored tonight represent some of the
best and brightest minds in Arizona, and we are fortunate to have them
in our state,” said Sandra Watson. “Their accomplishments demonstrate
why Arizona is consistently recognized as a top market for quality of
talent and leadership in innovation. Congratulations to each of the 2018

Winners and finalists were evaluated and chosen by a selection committee
of experts independent of the Council that included:

  • Islamshah Amlani, Honeywell Aerospace
  • James Goulka, Arizona Tech Investors
  • Dave Higgins, Benchmark Electronics
  • Doug Hockstad, Tech Launch Arizona
  • Eric Miller, PADT
  • Mary O’Reilly, Ph.D., Flinn Foundation
  • Chuck Vermillion, AccountabilIT

About the Arizona Technology Council

The Arizona Technology Council is Arizona’s premier trade association
for science and technology companies. Recognized as having a diverse
professional business community, Council members work towards furthering
the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education,
legislation and social action. The Arizona Technology Council offers
numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring
together leaders, managers, employees and visionaries to make an impact
on the technology industry. These interactions contribute to the
Council’s culture of growing member businesses and transforming
technology in Arizona. To become a member or to learn more about the
Arizona Technology Council, please visit http://www.aztechcouncil.org.

About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic
development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and
strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to
advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract
out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with
existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and
help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries.
For more information, please visit azcommerce.com
and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.


Media contact:
Alec Robertson
Organization contact:
Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra


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