Winners and Finalists for the 2017 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Announced by Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority

Tickets Available for Arizona’s Premier Technology Industry Event, Held at the Rawhide Event Center on Thursday, November 2, 2017

PHOENIX--()--The Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority have announced individual award winners, company award finalists, Future Innovators of the Year and Teacher of the Year winners for the 2017 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI). The awards honor the visionaries of Arizona’s technology ecosystem whose passion and dedication energize Arizona’s rapidly growing technology community.

“We are proud to celebrate the accomplishments of our 2017 award winners,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona is a leading hub for technology and innovation, and we’re fortunate to have such incredible talent in our state.”

“Determining the winners and finalists for this year’s GCOI was no simple task,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Our technology community is expanding every year, and the innovators that apply are truly the best and brightest. We congratulate those that were selected and look forward to honoring them.”

The individual/company award winners are:

  • Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year: Jeffrey Pruitt, founder, CEO and chairman, Tallwave and Tallwave Capital, Scottsdale
  • Large Company Award: PacSci EMC, Chandler
  • Judges Award: Digital Citizen Academy, Scottsdale

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

  • Start-Up Company Award: Akos MD, LLC, Phoenix; Codelucida, Inc., Tucson; Cyber Reconnaissance, Inc., Phoenix
  • Small Company Award: AudioEye, Inc., Tucson; Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tucson; Incyphae, Inc., Scottsdale; Paragon Space Development Corporation, Tucson
  • Innovator of the Year Award – Academia: ASU Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, Phoenix; Professors Jeffrey Pyun, Robert (Bob) Norwood, Novel Polymeric Materials, University of Arizona, Tucson; Professor Nasser Peyghambarian, Holographic 3D Display and Telepresence, University of Arizona, Tucson

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

  • Islamshah Amlani, Honeywell Aerospace
  • James Goulka, Arizona Tech Investors
  • Dave Higgins, BenchMark
  • Doug Hockstad, Tech Launch Arizona
  • William Loux, Arizona Technology Enterprises
  • Eric Miller, PADT
  • Mary O'Reilly, PhD, CEM, Science Foundation Arizona
  • Chuck Vermillion, AccountabilIT

The Future Innovators of the Year award winners represent the "Best of the Best" of the Arizona Engineering and Science Fairs (grades 9-12) for the year 2016. The winning teacher will receive a $1,000 cash award, and each of the winning students will receive a $1,000 scholarship to further enhance their education.

Future Innovators of the Year Award Winners:

  • Somil Jain and Sachin Jaishankar, Hamilton High School, Chandler
  • Joseph Galasso, Galasso Homeschool, Tucson
  • Seoyoon Kim, BASIS Peoria High School, Peoria
  • Vilina Mehta, Basis Scottsdale High School, Scottsdale

Future Innovators of the Year Honorable Mentions:

  • Ava Christensen, Empire High school, Tucson
  • Heaven May Murphy, Tombstone High School, Tombstone

Teacher of the Year Award Winner:

  • Marni Landry, Paradise Valley CREST (Center for Research Engineering Science and Technology), Phoenix

Teacher Honorable Mentions:

  • Pradip C Misra, Bagdad High School, Bagdad

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.

In its 14th year, GCOI is being held on Thursday, November 2, 2017, at the Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler, AZ 85226 from 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. The event attracts more than 850 attendees each year for a night of networking, food and entertainment.

This year, the event will consist of a theatre style awards program with a sit-down dinner followed by a Tech Jam company showcase with live music. The Tech Jam companies consist of award finalists, sponsors and AZTC partners. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at

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, visionaries, and community members 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: recruit, grow, create – recruit out-of-state companies to expand their operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to grow their business in Arizona and beyond; and partner with entrepreneurs and companies large and small to create new jobs and businesses in targeted industries. Visit for more.


Media contact:
Linda Capcara, 480-229-7090
Organization contact:
Arizona Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra, 602-422-9447

Release Summary

The Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority announce winners and finalists for the 2017 Governor's Celebration of Innovation


Media contact:
Linda Capcara, 480-229-7090
Organization contact:
Arizona Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra, 602-422-9447