The Arizona Technology Council’s President and CEO Steven G. Zylstra was selected as a 2021 Leader of the Year in the Technology category by the Arizona Capitol Times. As the leader of the Council, Zylstra is committed to creating a statewide technology-friendly ecosystem as he works diligently at the state and national levels to advocate policies that support the industry. Zylstra’s recognition as a technology and public policy leader also comes on the heels of the Council winning the TECNA Innovation Award in the Public Policy Advocacy category.
Zylstra and the other 2021 Leaders of the Year will be honored at the Arizona Capitol Times’ awards night hosted at the on September 28, 2021. They will also be profiled in a special edition of the newspaper. Other award winners joining Zylstra in the technology category are:
- Kyle Squires, dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University
- Joe Gerald, associate professor & program director, Public Health Policy & Management, The University of Arizona
- Cassondra Taylor, vice president of operations, western region, Sentinel Technologies
“This award is truly a testament to our staff, members, Board and Dianne McCallister, our lobbyist with Public Policy Partners, who work incredibly hard to position Arizona’s innovation ecosystem as one of the most robust in the nation,” said Zylstra. “I’d also like to thank our state legislators who understand the value that technology brings to our economy and Arizona families.”
The past year has been highly successful for Zylstra and the Council in terms of public policy. In December, the Council and The Western Way brought Arizona business leaders together to participate in an initiative with the goal of recommending new ways for policymakers to incorporate energy innovation into the state’s economic recovery plan. The result of the collaboration was released in a report titled “Innovation and Clean Energy Industry Recommendations for Economic Recovery: Policy Options from Arizona’s Business Community.”
The Council was also successful in advocating for the passage of SB1124, which includes provisions extending the Small Business Capital Investment Incentive for an additional 10 years. The program is one of the few tax credits that garner bipartisan support since it has a proven track record and helps generate revenue to support other state priorities, such as education and public safety. The combined economic impact of the program has been an estimated $1.38 billion for Arizona’s economy over the past six years alone. Continued funding of this program — commonly referred to as the Angel Investor tax credit that incentivizes investment in early-stage companies and Arizona tech startups — was a top legislative priority for the Council in FY 2021. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law on July 9.
Additional public policy successes in 2021 include:
- Made some positive movement in creating a statewide STEM ecosystem.
- Participated in successfully advocating for a large investment in K-12 education, including fourth year funding for CTEDs.
- Supported efforts for large investments in universities and community colleges, including funding towards the New Economy and increased resources for lower income students pursuing a baccalaureate degree and scholarships for unemployed workers who return to the workforce.
- Supported efforts to secure $45 million in Pre-K funding.
- Supported providing businesses protections from civil liability during a public health pandemic if they act in good faith effort to protect a person or the public from injury from the pandemic.
- Helped successfully defeat legislation that would have stripped the Corporation Commission of their ability to set policy surrounding clean energy, electric vehicles and much more, as well as legislation that would have allowed legislators to use the attorney general any time they disagreed with a decision of the Corporation Commission.
- Supported the ACA in the efforts to expand the Qualified Facilities tax credit by increasing the cap and allowing suppliers to utilize the program.
- Protected the cancer research and innovation entities to drastically change how Arizona views genetic material.
- Codified Governor Ducey’s Autonomous Vehicles Executive Order to protect the industry from attempts to revoke the existing executive orders.
For more information about the Council and its contributions to the state’s technology industry, please visit www.aztechcouncil.org.
Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/tech-events to view all of the Council’s upcoming virtual tech networking opportunities, engaging virtual tech events and in-person tech events.