The Arizona Technology Council, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced their selections for Outstanding Technology Senator of the Year, Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year and the top Tech 10 Legislators, in recognition of their roles in advancing technology in Arizona. The winning legislators will be honored at the 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI), on Wednesday, October 13, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., West Building, Third Floor.
“Every year we honor our future-focused, technology-conscious legislators because of the vital role they play in recognizing a technology-based economy is what helps Arizona stay competitive,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “These recipients are champions for our community and a major reason why we have experienced such rapid and consistent growth over the last 10 years. It’s a privilege to work with each of them.”
“It’s an honor to recognize these legislators who are advocating for Arizona’s technology future,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Their efforts are critical to our state’s competitiveness in the technology industry and further our national reputation as an epicenter for emerging innovations. We are grateful for their commitment to expanding Arizona’s technology landscape.”
More than 850 of Arizona’s finest business leaders will celebrate the state’s technology innovation and leadership during GCOI, which will include an awards ceremony, networking, food and entertainment. The event will consist of a strolling dinner and Tech Showcase followed by a theatre-style awards program. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at https://www.aztechcouncil.org/event/gcoi2021/.
The winners of the 2021 GCOI legislator awards are:
Outstanding Technology Senator of the Year:
Senator David Gowan, District 14
David Gowan has always been an advocate for a balanced budget complete with the needed incentives to attract and retain both businesses and their needed workforce. This year was no different. Senator Gowan was instrumental in securing the extension of the Small Business Capital Investment Incentive, commonly referred to the Angel Investor tax credit, for an additional ten years. He has taken a thoughtful approach to his position as Appropriations Chair and was helpful in securing other key economic development tools essential to the growth of the technology industry this legislative session.
Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year:
Rep. Daniel Hernandez, District 2
Daniel Hernandez has time and time again helped to ensure the passage of the Council’s key legislative priorities and this year he once again stepped up to help during a contentious session to ensure the passage of the Angel Investment tax credit. He understands the impact of proven incentives to not only his district but also to the entire Arizona economy. During his time at the legislature, he has been instrumental in helping advocate behind the scenes for policies that attract and grow technology companies that bring high-paying, high-quality jobs to the state that result in more dollars to help better fund education and other state priorities. He is also a leader in the fight for non-discrimination and equality to make Arizona an inclusive environment for people to live, work and play.
Tech 10 Legislators:
Senate President Karen Fann, District 1
Karen Fann has been a champion of the technology industry during her entire tenure as a legislator. She once again was key in getting the Small Business Capital Investment Incentive—also known as the Angel Investment Tax Credit—extended for an additional ten years, ensuring that Arizona startups will not lose the access to funding that has proven to pay the state back in many multiples. She has always supported creating an environment in Arizona where the technology industry can grow and thrive.
Senator Sean Bowie, District 18
Sean Bowie has been a champion for the technology industry since he was first elected. He has helped advance initiatives crucial for Arizona’s becoming a technology hub. His support of innovative and proven economic development programs, and his commitment to workforce development, community colleges, and higher education has helped the technology and business community thrive in Arizona. He works across party lines to ensure he can best serve his district and the state.
Sen. Paul Boyer, District 20
Paul Boyer has proven that he is willing to fight for a cause and showed that once again this session. He was the key vote that helped to stop legislation that could have upended the advancements in clean energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, and policies such as line siting for large projects, that could have been detrimental to the technology and manufacturing industry. He is a strong voice for Arizona’s children, public education and economic development, and strives to move Arizona forward. He supports creating an environment attractive to business, including strengthening the public education system and preparing Arizona’s students to enter the workforce.
Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, District 27
Rebecca Rios has focused much of her attention on education during her many years in the Legislature. However, she also understands the importance of proven economic development programs that pay large dividends to Arizona, which increases the funding the state is then able to appropriate to priorities such as education. This year she was helpful in advancing some of the Council’s key initiatives in her caucus while maintaining a priority on education.
Rep. Regina Cobb, District 5
Regina Cobb has proven herself to be a champion for the technology industry and business community during her entire time at the legislature. As the Appropriations Chairwoman, she worked to ensure the extension of the Angel Investment tax credit and the infrastructure for keeping Arizona a technology hub had continued investment. She has helped to create a business environment that helped to keep Arizona’s economy thriving, even during the pandemic.
Rep. Justin Wilmeth, District 15
Justin Wilmeth proved himself to be one of the rising stars in the freshmen class at the Legislature. He showed that he would examine each issue on its merits and support those measures that would help advance Arizona’s economy and technology industry. He was also helpful in stopping legislation that would have had negative unintended consequences that would have resulted in halting some of the innovation and advancement happening in Arizona.
House Majority Leader Ben Toma, District 22
Ben Toma has once again proven himself as a leader in tax policy. He led the way on trying to ensure that small businesses were able to continue to thrive by working with other legislators to mitigate the harm of a recent tax increase. He also worked to utilize some of the largest surplus in Arizona’s history to provide for tax relief to all Arizonans. He also championed expanding the Qualified Facilities program to help ensure Arizona could continue to attract large investments from companies, resulting in great returns on investments for the taxpayer.
Rep. Michelle Udall, District 25
Michelle Udall has been a strong supporter of the Council and sponsored our priority STEM legislation to help create a STEM ecosystem. As chair of the education committee, she is a great voice for public education and strives to make sure students from all walks of life have access to a quality education and are ready for the jobs of tomorrow, whether through traditional learning or career and technical training. She worked to provide for fourth year funding for CTEDs, as well as allow for that training to happen outside of normal school hours too.
House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, District 27
Reginald Bolding has shown to be a reasonable leader of his caucus this legislative session. As a strong supporter of public education, he understands the importance of certain key proven economic development programs, such as Angel, that results in more funding to be utilized in Arizona’s education system. Protecting Arizona’s vulnerable populations is always a priority of his and his pragmatic leadership has helped to advance good policies for the technology industry.
Rep. Aaron Lieberman, District 28
Aaron Lieberman helped to lead the cause of defeating harmful legislation around clean energy that would have completely undone the advancement of clean energy at the Corporation Commission and resulted in halting innovation around energy, electric vehicles and a wide variety of other parts of the technology industry. He has proven to be a thoughtful legislator able to work across the aisle to advance the state as a whole. He has been a strong advocate for public education, especially in early childhood education, where a large investment was made in this area in the final budget package.
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 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 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.
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.