There’s no denying we’ve made it through one of the most challenging years in modern history.
On behalf of the Arizona Technology Council, I thank you for stoking the fires that collectively have become the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I’m proud to say many efforts originated among our own members. Arizona’s technology community demonstrated the leadership and innovation that came at the right time.
In some cases, competition was put aside to achieve results only a team can achieve.
Arizona Tech Companies Making a Difference in 2020
The Arizona Genomic Union comprised of faculty from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and The University of Arizona, as well as the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), have been on the trail of SARS-CoV-2 to see how it has evolved and spread.
ASU’s Biodesign Institute was the source of a new saliva-based test while UArizona detected active cases on campus by testing wastewater from student housing. Also, UArizona graduated its Tucson and Phoenix medical students early to help staff hospitals sorely needing additional support.
Speaking of health care’s role in the fight, Sonora Quest Laboratories began providing access to an antibody test using blood specimens, as well as molecular diagnostic testing. To transport infected/suspected patients to and from life-sustaining medical appointments, a new service featuring a specialized fleet of Phoenix-based drivers was launched by Veyo, the nation’s only full-service, tech-enabled non-emergency medical transportation broker.
Even companies not typically associated with health care did their part. In Tucson, Universal Avionics provided space for the production of face masks and shields while World View Enterprises switched from making stratospheric balloons to creating medical gowns. And Scottsdale-based Digital Air Strike turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to help small businesses stay in communication with staff and clients through Power Text.
Celebrating Innovation and Technology in 2020
While the companies and organizations acted with no thought to recognition, the Council still figured out a way to honor noteworthy efforts that went beyond the pandemic. Our annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation was virtual—a first for us—as we handed out awards and showcased the new and different during our expo. While no easy feat, our celebration came at the right time to fete not only our winners but our entire audience who joined us online.
The Council’s Outreach + Connecting Members
Going virtual admittedly was not in our plans for 2020. But as the year progressed, it became a more natural way of continuing the Council’s mission. Our Virtual Breakfast Speaker Series and Tech Sector Speaker Series geared brought together innovators, advocates and champions of existing and emerging sectors who are reshaping Arizona’s tech ecosystem.
Even some of our long-standing events continued—at a distance, of course. They included our after5 Tech Networking, as well as the CEO Network for business executives and professionals in Tucson.
Helping People, Businesses and Students in Need
The Council also responded to the crisis in other ways. To help support the new way of doing business, we launched our microsite to share information on assistance and funding, tools and resources, job opportunities, and other relevant updates to help execute the various stimulus programs and navigate through the murky waters.
Understanding that many students were ill-equipped to learn remotely, the SciTech Institute, AZ StRUT, ElevateEdAZ and many leading technology organizations throughout Arizona joined us to collectively donate more than 1,000 laptops to students in underprivileged areas.
Additional Highlights + Accomplishments
There were other highlights for the Council. We launched our monthly live podcast on Phoenix Business RadioX to showcase leaders having real conversations about what’s happening in the technology sector across the state. Hosts and guests on AZ TechCast share success stories, news, trends and analysis about leading startups, companies and emerging technologies.
Also, the Council, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, debuted AZTechBase, an online platform that provides a comprehensive listing of companies, people and investors in the state’s technology industry.
We revamped our quarterly Arizona Technology Industry Impact Report by adding video interviews with technology leaders across our major technology sectors. Of course, the report continued to focus on the industry’s growth.
The Council also partnered with The Western Way to release a report detailing how policymakers can incorporate energy innovation into Arizona’s plan for recovering from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. “Innovation and Clean Energy Industry Recommendations for Economic Recovery: Policy Options from Arizona’s Business Community” outlines specific benefits to policymakers for their recovery plan roadmap.
Heartfelt Appreciation from the CEO
As you likely can tell, the Arizona Technology Council wants you to know 2020 should be remembered for more than a pandemic. It should be considered a year in which our tech ecosystem grew stronger. I offer my sincere appreciation for helping make it all happen. Thank you for your continued membership.
In closing, I’m looking forward to leading Arizona Technology Council’s valued members into 2021 with optimism, pride and hope. I take great pride in further growing Arizona’s tech ecosystem and building a world-class tech hub.
We appreciate working with you and hope that the holidays and the coming year will bring you happiness and success.
Steven G. Zylstra
President + CEO
Arizona Technology Council
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.