Science and Technology Innovation Winners Announced at Arizona Technology Council’s 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation

Contatta co-founder and CEO Pat Sullivan receives OneNeck IT Solutions’ Lifetime Achievement Award alongside individual, company, education and legislative award winners


PHOENIX, AZ (November 13, 2014)  Honoring science and technology innovators that create leading-edge solutions developed in Arizona that generate jobs and enrich lives around the globe, the Arizona Technology Council in conjunction with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced the winners of the 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) Awards  presented by Avnet, Inc.


This prestigious annual gala and awards ceremony was held at the Phoenix Convention Center and featured remarks by Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer. Governor Brewer was also presented with a special award recognizing her pro-growth, business-focused, technology agenda.


“Congratulations to this year’s winners, who demonstrate that commitment to excellence can yield world-first triumphs once thought impossible," said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “These visionaries embody the creative spirit that drives Arizona’s economy and we thank them for making Arizona synonymous with technology success. On behalf of Arizona’s entire technology industry, I’d also like to extend tremendous gratitude to Governor Brewer for being a relentless supporter of principles and positions that have created a healthy climate for technology-related job creation.”


The winners and finalists were evaluated and chosen by a selection committee of experts independent of the Council. Committee members included:

  • Susan Engle, Avnet, Inc.
  • James Goulka, Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF)
  • Dr. Mani Janakiram, Intel Corporation
  • William Loux, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE)
  • Eric Miller, Phoenix Analysis and Design (PADT)
  • Mary O'Reilly, PhD, CEM, Science Foundation Arizona
  • Bob Rasmussen, Honeywell Aerospace

The winners in their respective categories are:


Company Award Winners:

Clairvoyant offers data analytics tools that help businesses extract the value from their data that they would otherwise lack the expertise to access. Clairvoyant was recognized for their custom software development that reduces the friction, time and cost associated with analyzing data, allowing business to convert compiled data into empowering information.

SynCardia was recognized for The Freedom® portable driver wearable power supply for the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. The 13.5 pound power supply allows patients to be discharged from the hospital to wait for a matching donor heart at home. Before The Freedom® portable driver, transplant patients were confined to hospital beds, as the only FDA approved-power supply weighed 418 pounds.

Securaplane was recognized for the development of improved rechargeable lithium battery systems that are 42 percent lighter, have nearly double the cell replacement timeframe, offer 40 percent higher power availability and are less prone to failure due to puncture, overcharge, and temperature extremes than previous battery systems. Their improved systems also boast robust self-health prediction capabilities and more granular modularity than ever before.

  • Innovator of the Year – Academia: ASU Image Processing – Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona  

Conventional cardiovascular stent intervention requires a surgeon’s personal assessment of each patient on a case-by-case basis, often based on trial and error. Failure rates can be as high as 30 percent. The ASU Image Processing Applications Lab was recognized for their development of a cloud-based computer simulation platform that allows live modeling of individual patient data, facilitating for the first time a patient-specific pre-treatment plan for endovascular treatments. Vascular disease is a leading cause of death in America, and this innovation will improve stent insertion outcomes.


"Arizona is rising in prominence as a top-tier technology center due to the ingenuity and tireless efforts of our innovators and inventors," said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.  “The cutting-edge solutions developed by these individuals and companies highlight Arizona’s position as a global leader in technology.”


Previously announced winners that were also honored at the event include:

The Individual/Company Award winners:

  • OneNeck IT Solutions’ People’s Choice Lifetime Achievement Award: Contatta Co-Founder and CEO Pat Sullivan, Scottsdale
  • William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year: Harry George, Solstice Capital, Tucson
  • Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year: Tomas Gorny, Nextiva, Scottsdale
  • Pioneering Award: Infusionsoft, Chandler
  • Judge’s Award: Society of Women Engineers - Phoenix Section
  • Chairman’s Award: Dr. James Powers, Calibrus Call Center Solutions, Phoenix

The “Future Innovators” and “Teacher of the Year” award winners were evaluated and chosen by a selection committee independent of the Council including members of the Arizona Council of Engineering and Scientific Associations (ACESA). ACESA supports, promotes and coordinates programs and activities of the engineering and science associations within the state of Arizona through facilitated communication and leadership.


Teacher of the Year Award Winner:

  • Andrew Lettes, Ph.D., Pueblo Magnet High School, Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Lettes has taught Pueblo High School’s Bioscience Program for the last six years. During this time it has grown from 17 to 128 students for the current school year. Last year 12 students presented their science fair projects at the main STEM competition in the Southern Arizona Region Science and Engineering Fair, SARSEF. Dr. Lettes’ students also participate in the HOSA competitions for future health professionals.

Future Innovators of the Year Award Winners:

  • Diego Aubert-Vasquez, Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson, Arizona for project: “The effects of bacteria isolated from waste water on sodium lactate microbial fuel cells”
  • Rachel Done, University High School, Tucson, Arizona for project: “Expression and Purification of a Fusion Protein for Breast Cancer Drug Discovery”
  • Sarah Nicole Galvin, Corona del Sol High School, Tempe, Arizona for project: “An Innovative Approach to Improve Spin Polarization in CO2FeAl0.5Si0.5 Thin Films for Spin Transport Electronics”
  • Shrey Gupta, BASIS Scottsdale High School, Scottsdale, Arizona for  project: “Advancing Cancer Research with an Integrated Repository and Search Engine for Gene Regulatory Networks”

Future Innovators of the Year Award Honorable Mentions:

  • Kelsey Barter, University High School, Tucson, Arizona for project: “Targeting Survivin as a Potential Cancer Therapeutic”
  • Soumya Kambhampati and Thomas Liu, McClintock High School, Tempe, Arizona for team project: “Social Network Analysis of SAT Phase Transition”

Tech Ten Legislators:

The Tech Ten awards were given in recognition of Arizona state legislators who have demonstrated outstanding support for promoting and advancing Arizona as a top-tier technology state. Separate awards for “Senator of the Year” and “Representative of the Year” were also presented:


Outstanding Tech Senator of the Year Award Winner:

  • Senator Bob Worsley

Outstanding Tech Representative of the Year Award Winner:

  • Representative Karen Fann

The winning Tech Ten legislators are:

Arizona State Senate: Senate Majority Leader John McComish; Senator Don Shooter and Senator Robert Meza.

Arizona House of Representatives: Representative Kate Brophy-McGee; Representative Heather Carter; Representative Jeff Dial; Representative Tom Forese, Representative Ethan Orr; Representative Thomas “TJ” Shope, and Assistant Minority Leader Bruce Wheeler.


Media contacts

Linda Capcara, TechTHiNQ (on behalf of Arizona Technology Council), (480) 229-7090, [email protected] 

Joseph Valdez, Arizona Commerce Authority, (602) 845-1234, [email protected] 


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 toward furthering the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education, legislation and social action. The Arizona Technology 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


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 and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.