February 2023 episode | How Public-Private Partnerships Foster Innovation

The January 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council's AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Dara Gibson, AZ president of WiCyS Phoenix and senior manager at Optiv; Susan Morris, co-owner of ABL Cyber Academy and Cogent Cyber Range; and Andrew Roberts, chief cybersecurity strategist...

February 2023 episode | How Public-Private Partnerships Foster Innovation

Episode Overview

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Public-private partnerships play a pivotal role in Arizona’s economic development and positioning the state as an attractive place for technology companies to do business. So, what are some of the partnerships contributing to Arizona’s continued growth?

The February 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Ryan Hendrix, general manager of the ASU Cloud Innovation Center; Shelbe Hunsaker, southwest region public policy manager at Amazon Web Services; and Vic Narusis, executive vice president of business development at the Arizona Commerce Authority. These leaders joined Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, and Karen Nowicki, president and owner of Phoenix Business RadioX, in discussing the collaborations between industry, government and education shaping Arizona’s future.

In this hour-long episode, the panel of three experts started by discussing the momentous month that February 2023 has been for Arizona’s economic development between the Super Bowl, Waste Management Open and Barrett Jackson, among other signature events that attracted tourists to the state from far and wide. On top of that, TSMC recently announced that they are deepening their investment in the state to the tune of $40 billion and thousands of new jobs being created. With this exorbitant growth in mind, the panel set their sights on the public-private partnerships that are working behind the scenes to continue making Arizona an even more attractive place to do business.

Ryan Hendrix has worked in higher education for nearly two decades and has a wealth of experience in business development, smart cities and cloud technologies. Prior to his current role, Ryan managed the ASU Technology Office Cloud Migration Program. He now serves as the partnership portfolio manager for the Enterprise Technology Office (ETO) and the general manager of the ASU Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC). The CIC is a partnership between the ASU ETO and Amazon Web Services that focuses on working with local community leaders to solve pressing urban challenges with technology. When it comes to public-private partnerships, Ryan’s education perspective weighed in heavily on workforce development. As Arizona continues to evolve and thrive, it is critical that we focus on workforce development and building out the pipeline of innovative and problem-solving next-generation professionals that can support this growth and all of industries that are putting Arizona on the map nationally and internationally.

Since 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. Millions of customers, including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises and leading government agencies, trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile and lower costs. As the southwest regional public policy manager, Shelbe covers six states in the southwest and brings eight years of experience working with the state and local political scene to the table. Her passion for public policy has positioned her as AWS advocate for policies that foster innovation and improve the over citizen experience through the utilization of technology. Throughout the conversation, Shelbe stressed the importance of looking to other nearby states for inspiration in supporting Arizona’s growth, particularly in regards to the public-private partnerships that can ensure the longevity and sustainability of Arizona’s water future. There are a number of technologies being produced by the private sector that can make a substantial difference in how the public sector shapes policies and sets regulatory framework.

Finally, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. They use a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries. In his role, Vic is responsible for bringing businesses to Arizona and assisting companies in Arizona to grow and thrive. His daily activities include site selection, coordination of local community partners and management of several departments at the ACA. As the quasi-governmental voice in the conversation, Vic helped to provide a holistic, statewide view on the various public-private partnerships that are resulting in meaningful outcomes, and spoke to Arizona’s growing importance on a global stage.

In conclusion, collaboration is the name of the game, particularly when industry, government and educational entities are involved. Each perspective brings a wealth of resources, leaders and insight to the table that is crucial to continuing Arizona’s ascent into the “Silicon Valley of the Sun”. Watch the replay below to get a full look into the conversation with these three inspiring experts.


General Manager, ASU Cloud Innovation Center

Southwest Region Public Policy Manager, Amazon Web Services

Executive VP, Business Development, Arizona Commerce Authority


About AZTechCast
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/techcast to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.

About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.


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February 2023 episode | How Public-Private Partnerships Foster Innovation