Innovative Founder to be Honored for His Numerous Contributions to the Technology Community on November 10 at the Phoenix Convention Center
PHOENIX – September 20, 2016 — The Arizona Technology Council in conjunction with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced that Rick Smith, CEO and co-founder of TASER, will be presented with the OneNeck IT Solutions Lifetime Achievement Award during the thirteenth annual 2016 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI) presented by Avnet.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at aztechcouncil.org.
This year, the GCOI awards banquet will be held on November 10, 2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, in the West Building, third floor from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Every year the GCOI brings together more than 1,000 Arizona business leaders to celebrate the state’s technology innovation and leadership. The event will consist of a theatre-style awards program followed by desserts and live music. Before and after the awards will be a Technology Showcase including finalists, sponsors and partners.
“Under Rick Smith’s leadership, TASER created a line of products that has saved more than 170,000 lives from death or serious injury,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “TASER’s innovations are essential to the growth of the company and we applaud their ability to deploy technology to better the lives of citizens and law enforcement across the world.”
Lifetime Achievement Award winners are chosen by public vote. Smith joins an impressive list of honorees including, Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, 2015 recipient; Pat Sullivan, co-founder and CEO of Ryver, 2014 recipient; Eric and Tim Crown of Insight Enterprises, 2013 recipient; Gary Tooker, former CEO and chairman of Motorola, 2012 recipient; Roy Vallee, former chairman and CEO of Avnet, 2011 recipient; Steve Sanghi, president, CEO and chairman, Microchip Technology 2010 recipient; Craig Barrett former Intel CEO and chairman, 2009 recipient; and renowned architect Paolo Soleri, 2008 recipient.
“Ever since founding our company in a garage here in Arizona back in 1993, it’s been a fantastic journey,” said Smith. “At TASER, we are passionate about using technology to make the world a safer place. We are grateful to be part of a vibrant and supportive business community as we focus on technologies to help solve some of our most pressing social challenges. I’m honored to receive this prestigious award.”
Smith’s idea for his company began shortly after losing two Chaparral High School friends to an incident involving a firearm. Smith wanted to make an impactful change, so he began researching American gun violence extensively and speaking with European students, while attending graduate school in Belgium, for an outside perspective on the issue. He concluded with the idea for a company which provides non-lethal weapons and technology solutions focused on the law enforcement market, TASER.
Smith has turned TASER into a publicly traded company with a billion-dollar market cap, serving more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies in more than 107 countries. Today, the name TASER® is synonymous with the Kleenex® brand in that when you think about an electric, non-lethal weapon or stun gun, the name TASER comes to mind. The company is also the leader in Axon body worn cameras and safety/security software which is now outpacing sales booking versus its core TASER Business.
“Rick Smith turned his desire to make a difference into a global technology company – that’s a truly inspiring story,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona is fortunate to have such a dynamic leader and a company that continues to advance life-saving innovations right here in our community. Congratulations to Rick on this well-deserved Lifetime Achievement award!”
Individual and Corporate Innovator and Pioneer Award winners will also be honored at GCOI. This includes the Future Innovators awards given to Arizona students, the Arizona Teacher of the Year, the Tech Champion Awards given to Arizona legislators, and awards for the Arizona Senator of the Year and Arizona Representative of the Year.