Shovels, hearts and ebooks among finalists for Governor's Innovation award

Every year, the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation awards recognize people and organizations that drive technology forward in Arizona. This year, the collection of winners and finalists includes everything from shovels and mining, to cloud software and biotechnology.
“Every year, the buzz and the crowd grows and I have to say the food couldn’t get much better. This is the largest gathering of technology professionals in the state and we go all out to make it a memorable evening,” said Steve Zylstra, Chairman, President and CEO of AZ Technology Council.
The Arizona Technology Council, along with the Arizona Commerce Authority, announced the 2014 finalists and Student, Teacher and Individual award winners.
The Individual/Company Award winners:

  • 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

This year, more biotech and software companies are emerging from Arizona. Zylstra describes the software industry as a quiet force that is on the verge of explosion. “Software/IT is a quiet, sleepy giant ready to break through. With firms like GoDaddy, Infusionsoft, Aspect, JDA, Axosoft, Axway, Contatta and all the data centers in Arizona, we’ve got a great running start.”
Company Award Finalists:

  • 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.

A new award called the Judges Award was given to the Phoenix Section of the Society of Women Engineers to acknowledge strides women have made in the tech sector.

“The tech industry faces a dangerous problem — a lack of gender and ethnic diversity that, I think, will lead to increased economic inequality and fewer innovative ideas originating from the U.S. technology sector,” Zylstra said. “Gender-diversity programs aren’t enough. Awards such as these help provide affirmation to women for excelling in their chosen field and boosts self-confidence. It’s in the best interest of the companies growing their businesses in Arizona and it’s in the interest of all of us who care about a 21st century economy built by technology companies that women be given equal opportunity and recognition.”

In addition, the awards also recognize students and educators who are working to bring innovative ideas to the state. Find out who won the educational awards here.
Pat Sullivan, co-founder and CEO at Contatta, will also be receiving a lifetime achievement award at the event.
The Governor’s Celebration of Innovation awards have been given out for the past 11 years. Last year’s winners included Insight Enterprises’ Eric and Tim Crown and Lumension Security, a Scottsdale based IT security firm.
The winner of each company category will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Phoenix Convention Center on November 13. If you’d like to attend the ceremony, you can purchase tickets on the AZ Tech Council website for $125 for council members and $175 for non-members.
Where would you cast your vote? Let us know who you think should win below or on Facebook or Twitter