Finalists and Select Winners Announced for the Arizona Technology Council’s 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation

Tickets on sale now for Arizona’s premier technology industry event being held at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, November 13, 2014


PHOENIX, AZ (August 27, 2014)  Honoring the state’s technology industry visionaries whose passion and dedication are propelling Arizona to a position of economic strength, the Arizona Technology Council in conjunction with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced Student and Teacher Awards as well as Individual Award winners and Company Award finalists for the 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) awards presented by Avnet, Inc.


“Every year the Arizona technology community gathers for an unforgettable evening to recognize the significant contributions our innovators make to strengthen Arizona’s positon as a leader in the technology sector,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “We’re proud to announce this year’s finalists and winners and we congratulate them on their achievements.”


“Innovation is critical to driving growth in the technology industry and to Arizona’s economy as a whole,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority.  “We congratulate those recognized for seeding new ideas and for the role they have played in strengthening our state’s global competitiveness.”


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, ATIF
  • Dr. Mani Janakiram, Intel Corporation
  • William Loux, Arizona Technology Enterprises
  • Eric Miller, Phoenix Analysis and Design (PADT)
  • Mary O'Reilly, PhD, CEM, Science Foundation Arizona
  • Bob Rasmussen, Honeywell Aerospace

The Individual/Company Award winners are:

  • William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year: Harry George, Tucson
  • Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year: Tomas Gorny, Scottsdale
  • Pioneering: Infusionsoft, Chandler

One company within each of the following award categories will be announced as the winner at the GCOI event:

The Company Award Finalists are:

  • Innovator of the Year - Start-Up Company: Bosse Tools, Phoenix, Arizona; Clairvoyant, LLC, Chandler, Arizona; Ebook Glue, Peoria, Arizona
  • Innovator of the Year - Small Company: SynCardia Systems, Inc., Tucson, Arizona; Inilex Inc., Phoenix, Arizona; Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, LLC, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Innovator of the Year - Large Company: IO, Phoenix, Arizona; Modular Mining Systems Inc., Tucson, Arizona; Securaplane Technologies, Oro Valley, Arizona
  • Innovator of the Year – Academia: Arizona State University Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Scottsdale, Arizona; Arizona State University Image Processing, Tempe, Arizona; The Hruby Peptide Group from the College of Science at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

New this year – Judge’s Award: Society of Women Engineers - Phoenix Section

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 Pubelo 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”

In its eleventh year, GCOI will be held on November 13, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, in the West Building, third floor from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Each year, GCOI brings over 1,000 of Arizona’s finest business leaders under one roof to celebrate the state’s technology innovation and leadership. The evening will include a plated dinner, specialty desserts and live music. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at


Media Contacts

Linda Capcara, TechTHiNQ on behalf of the 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 towards 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.