PHOENIX, Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Arizona Technology Council, together with the Arizona Commerce Authority, today announced the winners of Outstanding Tech Senator of the Year, Outstanding Tech Representative of the Year and the Tech Ten legislators, to be awarded at the 2012 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI), presented by Avnet, Inc.
These awards, along with business and individual awards, will be presented Thursday, November 8, 2012, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Tickets for the prestigious gala, themed "100 Years of Innovation: 1912-2012," include a pre-award ceremony cocktail reception, formal awards presentation and dinner. Tickets may be purchased online at http://tinyurl.com/9hqezan.
"It is our pleasure to honor these distinguished state leaders and Arizona technology champions," said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. "They have all been vigorous advocates for effective policies that support research and development, create jobs, drive Arizona's economy and educate our technology workforce."
"Arizona's progressive leadership and pro-business policies are aimed at attracting the world's most innovative minds and advancing the most cutting-edge companies," said Sandra Watson, President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. "We applaud those who continue to lead the charge in accelerating Arizona's business technologies and ensuring our state's global competitiveness."
Outstanding Tech Senator and Representative of the Year
Outstanding Tech Senator of the Year is Arizona Senator Adam Driggs, whose award comes on the heels of being named Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and 2011 Republican Senator of the Year by the Arizona Capitol Times. As a small business owner, Driggs has faced the same business issues as every Arizona Technology Council member company. He especially distinguished himself during the most recent Legislative session by stewarding one of the most important technology-based bills, Senate Bill 1402, which will ensure broadband technology reaches all four corners of the state, benefitting schools, healthcare providers and emergency personnel.
Representative Ted Vogt is Outstanding Tech Representative of the Year. Vogt has arguably one of the most sterling resumes in the state. He served as an intelligence officer in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a graduate of Yale University, the College of Law at The University of Arizona and currently is in private practice in Tucson. The Arizona Technology Council is especially grateful for his legislative achievements in the area of tort reform. Vogt's work in this area will undoubtedly lower the costs borne by businesses to defend against frivolous and expensive lawsuits.
Tech Ten Legislators
The winners of the 2012 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Tech Ten Legislator awards are:
Senator Al Melvin
Melvin brought his successful background as an educator, businessman and 30 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve to his post at the Legislature. Melvin is unique in his committee assignments; senators usually don't get the opportunity to be chairman of Commerce and Energy, and vice chair of Economic Development and Jobs Creation, at the same time. These committees are important to the technology industry and Melvin has used his assignments to be as supportive of our causes as any Senator.
Senator John McComish
McComish is "Mr. Chamber of Commerce," having served as president of Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce and endorsed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. The Tech Ten award is being added to McComish's resume because of his unfailing support for and protection of technology businesses. This year, he was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer to the Sales Tax Task Force, which is charged with making Arizona more competitive by simplifying its sales tax code.
Senator Michele Reagan
Reagan is a perennial Tech Ten winner as she proves to be one of the most important and passionate voices at the Capitol on behalf of the technology industry. The National Coalition for Capital, AZBio and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry join the Arizona Technology Council in honoring Reagan for her business efforts. Her top priorities have been economic development and job creation. She was directly involved with legislative efforts to extend the net operating loss carry forward to 20 years, increase the exemption for business personal property taxes and reduce the state capital gains tax rate.
Senator Don Shooter
Shooter stormed onto the legislative scene in 2010 as an unknown from Yuma. Two years later we recognize his contributions to Arizona Technology Council members for his work as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. You have to be someone special to advance to one of the most important legislative posts in less than two years. Shooter was a standard bearer for our legislation to expand the refundable research and development tax credit.
Representative Heather Carter
"Explosive" is the term best to describe the impact Representative Carter has had in the Legislature. Carter's broad education and business background has given her the unique ability to ensure that policies of the state become value added propositions, embraced by business and all levels of education. She is a clinical associate professor at ASU, spent time in the K-12 classroom as a teacher of English and social studies, worked as a real estate agent, a pharmaceutical representative and even an account executive for "Your Phoenix Suns." Carter's top two priorities for the Legislature are to build a strong, lasting education system and economic development machine that leads to Arizona being considered in the top tiers of the world's economy.
Representative Kate Brophy McGee
Representative Brophy McGee has effectively utilized her background and upbringing while in the Legislature, leading her colleagues to consider her as one of the wisest and influential of Arizona's leaders. A native of Arizona and born into a ranching family, Brophy McGee became immersed in K-12 school issues, including time as a governing board member of the Washington Elementary School District, and was subsequently appointed by Governor Jane Hull to the Arizona School Facilities Board to oversee a $1.6 billion school capital budget program. Mixing education and technology has been a passion for Brophy McGee, leading to her tenure with the Flinn Foundation's Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. Since election to the Legislature in 2010, she has been one of the most dependable advocates for technology issues.
Representative Javan "J.D." Mesnard
Representative Mesnard has achieved in a few short years what it would take a lifetime for most. He graduated Summa Cum Laude for his undergraduate years and followed that impressive achievement by getting two masters degrees ─ one in business and one in public administration ─ from ASU. As a small business owner, Mesnard has been sensitive to the needs of startup companies, where the vast majority of new jobs are created. He quickly rose through the ranks and is chairing the essential House Commerce Committee, which protects and fosters Arizona's business climate. In the recent legislative session, Mesnard sponsored one of the most important pieces of legislation seen in decades, House Bill 2815. Signed into law by Governor Brewer, House Bill 2815 reduces long-term capital gains, extends the net operating loss carry forward to 20 years, extends the renewable energy tax credit and strengthens the new employment tax credit.
Representative Amanda Reeve
Representative Amanda Reeve, widely respected by Arizona's business community, has made use of her time in office to reduce burdensome government regulations and reform our educational system, all while being a fiscally responsible steward of our tax dollars. Her time as Chairwoman of the Environment Committee and the Legislature's Energy and Natural Resources Committee has allowed Reeve to develop a keen eye for opportunities to improve Arizona's business climate. She has received numerous awards including recently being named Representative of the Year by the Arizona Manufacturing Council and is currently finishing her master's degree at ASU in Environmental Technology Management.
Representative David Stevens
No one understands technology issues better than Stevens because no one has more experience in the technology field. He has been the Arizona Technology Council's "go to guy" in the House since 2009. His background includes many years as a defense contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as time as a research and development manager. His commitment to technology in Arizona is best summed up by his published philosophy: "Technology by itself will not solve our problems, but they will not be solved at all without technology."
Representative Andy Tobin
Speaker of the House Tobin was awarded our 2011 Representative of the Year and he's back as a Tech Ten recipient for good reason. Tobin has been unwavering and deserves as much credit as anyone for leading Arizona through its darkest economic days. He has been the architect of efforts to balance the state's budget at a time when revenue to the state was plummeting. Through Tobin's efforts, Arizona is now positioned as one of the most pro-business states in the nation.
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 www.aztechcouncil.org.
About the Arizona Commerce Authority
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's aggressive, premier economic development agency tasked with improving Arizona's overall economy through the creation of quality jobs. The ACA focuses on the attraction of valuable business to Arizona, the expansion of existing business and the creation of new business. Target industries include aerospace and defense, semiconductors, bioscience, optics and renewable energy. Visit azcommerce.com for more information.
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SOURCE Arizona Technology Council