Tonight’s tenth annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (#GCOI) awards gala at the Phoenix Convention Center honors both an Outstanding Tech Senator and Representative of the Year and its annual Tech Ten Legislators, which are ten awards given to a mix of both state senators and state representatives that are committed to advancing Arizona’s technology industry through public policy.
Outstanding Tech Senator and Representative of the Year
Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, District 1 is Outstanding Tech Representative of the Year. Speaker Tobin, serving in the House of Representatives since 2007, in leadership positions since 2009 and as Speaker since 2011, has made it his personal crusade to advance economic development initiatives in order to ensure the long-term vitality of Arizona’s business community. During his tenure as Speaker, Tobin has consistently advocated for lessoning the tax burden paid by small businesses. This year he focused his attention on Arizona technology providers through sponsorship of two Arizona Technology Council bills: HB 2342, which expanded the highly popular and successful refundable R&D tax credit, and HB 2646, which created the state’s first ever venture capital fund for technology firms entering the early growth stage.
Senator Bob Worsley, District 25 is Outstanding Senator of the Year. Senator Worsley brings an important legacy to the Arizona Legislature – a very successful and entrepreneurial background that ensures critical representation for the business community to his legislative peers. Whether as a practicing CPA, venture capitalist, founder of the immeasurably successful Sky Mall or state senator, Senator Worsley has created jobs and wealth for Arizonans. During this year’s legislative session, Senator Worsley was a strong advocate for the Council’s legislative agenda.
Tech Ten Legislators
The winners of the 2013 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Tech Ten Legislator awards are:
John McComish, District 18/Senate Majority Leader
Senator McComish has a long and distinguished career supporting businesses through his elected and volunteer efforts. Over a fifty year timespan, Senator McComish was a successful corporate executive and small business owner. As a citizen ofArizona, he has been extremely generous with his time, serving in a number of capacities including President of the AhwatukeeChamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee, and since 2005, a member of both the Arizona House and Senate. Senator McComish has the respect of his legislative peers, having been elected House Majority Leader and currently holding the same title in the Senate. The Council has turned to Senator McComish on many occasions to spearhead its pro-technology agenda. This past legislative session, Senator McComish was a constant guardian of the Council’s efforts to create a venture capital fund for early stage technology companies.
Don Shooter, District 13
Senator Shooter has taken up the mantle of limited and pro-business government since his first days in the Senate. He has used his chairmanship of the all-important Appropriations Committee to usher some of the most important pieces of legislation on behalf of Arizona’s technology community. Two sessions ago, Senator Shooter was the key vote that propelled the refundable R&D tax credit through the Appropriations Committee. This past year, he authored a new law very important to technology firms that require Arizona to conduct an assessment of procurement practices of other states to ensure IT providers can cost effectively compete for state contracts.
Steve Farley, District 9
Senator Farley has spent years ensuring that the state is adequately prepared for growth through his work on a myriad of infrastructure initiatives and measures, including Tucsonans for Sensible Transportation, the Regional Transportation Authority, Pima Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan Task Force, Transit on the Move Liaison Group and the Tucson Downtown Alliance. As a small business owner, Senator Farley has the expertise required for his role as a key supporter of the Arizona Technology Council’s refundable R&D tax credit, which was created to assist small technology-based firms in achieving early success.
Chad Campbell, District 24/House Minority Leader
Representative Chad Campbell has been in leadership positions since 2009 and head of the Democrat caucus since 2011. He has played a major part in many of the difficult decisions the state has faced during its prolonged recession. Representative Campbell is well respected on both sides of the political isle as a leader looking to improve the condition of Arizona for all its citizens. He was instrumental in helping the Council move its two pieces of legislation successfully through the House chamber.
Ruben Gallego, District 27/House Assistant Minority Leader
Representative Gallego has one of the most impressive resumes at the legislature – Marine Corps infantry soldier, bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, small business owner and the honor of being selected by his peers to be their assistant minority leader. Representative Gallego sits on the House Ways & Means Committee where he has shown his strong understanding of the effects of tax policy on small business owners. He was instrumental last session in assuring passage of the Council’s bills.
Bruce Wheeler, District 10/House Minority Whip
Representative Wheeler has spent a lifetime preparing for public service. He has earned degrees in international relations and an MBA, has served on the Tucson City Council for eight years and two stints in the state legislature. As a member of the House Democrat leadership team, Representative Wheeler has successfully used his steady, non-confrontational approach to solving the state’s problems. He believes strongly in using tax incentives and infrastructure projects as job creation measures. This past session, the Council relied on the respect Representative Wheeler has earned to help shepherd through its legislative agenda.
Heather Carter, District 15
Representative Heather Carter is one of the most “credentialed” of legislators currently in office, with a degree in educational leadership and a master in educational technology. She is currently a clinical associate professor at Arizona State University. Representative Carter’s responsibilities at the legislature include chairmanship of the House Health Committee and membership on the Education Committee. She has successfully sponsored some of the most important pieces of legislation to improve the interaction between technology and classroom learning.
Jeff Dial, District 18
There are numerous reasons to honor Representative Dial, but none more important than his dogged support of one of the most important cogs in the wheel of technology – data centers. For two years, Representative Dial tenaciously pushed forward with efforts to establish targeted tax incentives to make Arizona one of the most attractive alternatives for decision makers looking to locate data centers. Economic studies have clearly shown that data centers are a macroeconomic coup to any state able to attract and expand their operations. Through his tenacity, Representative Dial was able to secure tax incentives in this year’s state budget that have been directly responsible for several data centers settling on locating facilities in Arizona.
Tom Forese, District 17
Representative Forese brings two critical elements to the Arizona legislature: a strong understanding of technology through his ownership of a technology-driven firm, Lik-Systems International; and a comprehensive view of the power of small businesses as the catalyst for future job growth. His expertise was on display this past legislative session as chairman of the House Commerce Committee. Representative Forese was a strong supporter of the Council’s efforts to create a venture capital fund for early stage technology firms.
Thomas “TJ” Shope, District 8
Representative Shope is one of Arizona’s youngest legislators, but he has been as successful as any of the most seasoned veterans in the House. As long time business owners, the entire Shope family has embraced community service at every level. Representative Shope’s father has been Mayor of Coolidge for eight terms and the family has been very involved with their local Chamber of Commerce. It was only natural that T.J. Slope would be serving Arizona at the legislature where he has been one of the strongest members of the House Commerce Committee. Representative Shope was a tremendous help in garnering the necessary support of Council’s legislative agenda.
Interested in attending and still need to purchase tickets? Registration is still open online and tickets will be available at the door starting at 4:00pm.