2020 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards Honor Fletcher McCusker, Other Tucson Visionaries

The Arizona Technology Council, in conjunction with the Arizona Commerce Authority, have announced the winners of the 2020 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards. 

This marks the 17th year of this prestigious event honoring and attended by the top leaders in Arizona’s business, technology, education and government sectors. Due to COVID-19, the council honored winners and finalists in a virtual awards ceremony held Nov. 4, 2020.

“Congratulations to all the individuals and companies who contribute so much to growing our technology ecosystem,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Arizona’s forward-thinking Legislature, along with our leading educators, STEM talent and technology community make our state a national force for innovation. We’re thrilled to continue our annual tradition of honoring the GCOI winners during this outstanding virtual event.”

“Technology and innovation are now more critical than ever for solving global challenges, strengthening communities and improving lives,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “This outstanding group of awardees demonstrates why Arizona continues to advance our globally-competitive position and increase our economic momentum. We’re proud to partner with the Arizona Technology Council to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of these innovators!”

The winners in their respective categories are:

Company Award Winners

Individual/Company Award Winners

Legislative Award Winners
• Senator of the Year: David Gowan, District 14
Representative of the Year: Michelle Udall, District 25

Tech 10 Award Winners
• Karen Fann, District 1
• Sine Kerr, District 13
• Heather Carter, District 15
• Sean Bowie, District 18
• Lupe Contreras, District 19
• Daniel Hernandez, District 2
• Regina Cobb, District 5
• Jennifer Pawlik, District 17
• Jeff Weninger, District 17
• Ben Toma, District 22

Future Innovator Awards
• Saffeyya-Grace Ibrahim, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
• Viraj Mehta, BASIS Scottsdale, Scottsdale
• Dakota Finley, Wilcox High School, Willcox
• Abby Liu, Hamilton High School, Chandler

Future Innovator Honorable Mentions
• Sadie Smith, Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson
• Viveka Chinnasamy, Amy Wang and Shreya Tripathi, Hamilton High School, Chandler

Teacher of the Year Award
• Rachna Nath, Arizona College Prep-Erie, Chandler

Teacher Honorable Mention
• Alfred S. Santos, Harvest Preparatory Academy, Yuma

Winners and finalists were evaluated and chosen by a selection committee of experts independent of the Council who included:

  • Chuck Vermillion, CEO, AccountabilIT
  • Mark Dallmeier, chief sales/revenue officer, 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, D., vice president, Bioscience Research Programs, Flinn Foundation

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 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 http://www.aztechcouncil.org.

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 azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.

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