Here are the winners and finalists for Governor’s Innovation Awards

September 17, 2021


Celebrating the visionaries, innovators and future leaders making critical contributions to technology, bioscience and education across Arizona, the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority have announced winners of the Future Innovators of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards, as well as individual and company award finalists for the 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI).

The winners will be announced at the annual event on Wednesday, October 13, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., West Building, Third Floor.

“GCOI is about celebrating Arizona’s best and brightest in the technology industry,” said Steven G. Zylstra, the Councils president and CEO. “This year we have an impressive lineup of students, teachers, leaders and companies responsible for incredible achievements in technology and who help make a name for Arizona as one of the world’s premier innovation centers.”

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“The Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards represent Arizona’s bright technology future,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO. “These innovators continue to advance Arizona as a global hub for emerging technologies and contribute to the state’s economic vitality. Congratulations to the 2021 winners and finalists!”

More than 750 of Arizona’s finest business leaders are expected to celebrate the state’s technology innovation and leadership during GCOI. The event will include networking, entertainment, a strolling dinner and a Tech Showcase, followed by a theatre-style awards ceremony. Early-bird tickets are on sale until September 10 and can be purchased online at

In addition to the finalists and winners listed below, community voting has begun to select a recipient of the 2021 AccountabilIT Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors outstanding leaders whose work and contributions have consistently elevated Arizona’s science and technology landscape. This year’s finalists are Barbara Barrett, owner and CEO of Triple Creek Ranch and a former secretary of the U.S. Air Force; Bruce Wright, retired associate vice president of UA Tech Parks; Jack Schumann, co-chair of Optics Valley; and Phil Gallagher, president and CEO of Avnet. To cast your vote, please visit

The individual GCOI Award winners are:

Judges Award Winner: Qwick, Scottsdale

Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year Winner: Intel, Chandler

One company/individual in each of the following categories will be announced as winner at the GCOI event:

Innovator of the Year – Academia:

• BIO5 Institute, The University of Arizona, Tucson

• Hong Hua, Ph.D., James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson

• Jim Schwiegerling, Ph.D., James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson

Innovator of the Year – Large Company:

• Aligned, Phoenix

• IBM, Tucson

• Involta LLC, Tucson

• State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Tempe

Innovator of the Year – Small Company:

• CP Technologies, Prescott

• Digital Air Strike, Scottsdale

• GT Medical Technologies, Inc., Tempe

• QuakeWrap, Inc., Tucson

Innovator of the Year – Start-Up:

• Anuncia, Inc., Scottsdale

• EnPower, Inc., Phoenix

• SaiOx, Inc., Tucson

• YellowBird, Phoenix

Transformational Leadership Award:

• Howard Stewart, AGM Container Controls, Tucson

• Lev Gonick, Arizona State University, Tempe

vAmy Wolters, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Goodyear

The individual company award winners and finalists were evaluated and chosen by the following selection committee of experts independent of the Council:

• Chuck Vermillion, CEO, AccountabilIT

• Keith Latchaw, president and CEO, MSS Business Transformation Advisory

• Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president, Tech Launch Arizona, The University of Arizona

• James Goulka, chairman and managing director, Arizona Tech Investors

• Eric Miller, principal and co-founder, PADT, Inc.

• Mary O’Reilly, Ph.D., vice president, Bioscience Research Programs, Flinn Foundation

The Council’s 2021 Outstanding Tech Senator, Outstanding Tech Representative and Tech 10 Legislator Award Recipients were also announced in a separate press release on Monday, August 30. The release can be found on the Council’s website here.

The Future Innovators of the Year award winners represent the best of the best of the 2021Arizona Engineering and Science Fair (grades 9-12). Each of the winning students will receive a $1,000 scholarship to further enhance his or her education, and the winning teacher will receive a $1,000 cash award.

Future Innovators of the Year Award Winners:

• Marina Galasso, Galasso Homeschool, Tucson

• Bailey Tischer, San Tan Charter School, Gilbert

• Arjun Gupta, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix

• Lilli Seebold and Nathan Lam, Perry High School, Gilbert

• Katherine Wei, BASIS Chandler, Chandler

• Karah Mayer, Tanque Verde High School, Tucson

Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Jeremy Jonas, Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson

Teacher Honorable Mentions:

• Michelle Landreville, Paradise Valley High School, CREST program, Phoenix

• David Worth, Millennium High School, Goodyear

The Future Innovators and Teacher of the Year award winners were evaluated and chosen by a selection committee independent of the Council. The committee included members of the Arizona Council of Engineering and Scientific Associations, which supports, promotes and coordinates programs and activities of the engineering and science associations in Arizona through facilitated communication and leadership.