Governor Celebration of Innovation Award winners and finalists announced

The Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority recently announced the 2018 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) Awards individual award winners and the company award finalists. The 2018 GCOI will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 8.

“The awards honor the leaders and visionaries whose body of work contributes to the growth and prosperity of Arizona’s technology sector,” said the organization’s press release.

The Arizona Technology Council (ATC) provides businesses statewide with technology-based resources and networking connections.  

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is an economic development organization that focuses on strengthening the state’s economy.

The 2018 GCOI individual award winners include:

The Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year: Heidi Jannenga of WebPT, a Phoenix-based company. From their website, WebPT provides rehab therapy businesses the “tools necessary to maximize performance, revenue, and patient outcomes.”

The Judges Award goes to Al Maag of MaagComplus, a Tempe-based marketing agency that provides public relations, brand and messaging, marketing strategies, community relations and a variety of other services.

The finalists of the following Innovator of the Year categories have been chosen, and the winners will be announced at the GCOI event:

Start-Up Company:

  • BlackBar Engineering, Tucson
  • Paradox Inc., Scottsdale
  • Regulonix, Tucson

Small Company:

  • CampusLogic, Chandler
  • Dynamic Water Technologies, Scottsdale
  • Solera Health Inc., Phoenix

Large Company:

  • Benchmark, Phoenix
  • IBM, Tucson  
  • Opendoor, Scottsdale


  • Dr. Yasin Silva and Dr. Deborah Hall – Bully Blocker, ASU, West Campus, Glendale
  • Dr. Ferran Garcia-Pichel, School of Life Sciences and The Biodesign Institute, ASU, Tempe
  • Dr. Laurence Hurley, The University of Arizona, Tucson

The council that evaluated and chose the individual company award winners included:

  • Islamshah Amlani, Honeywell Aerospace
  • James Goulka, Arizona Tech Investors
  • Dave Higgins, Benchmark
  • Doug Hockstad, Tech Launch Arizona
  • Eric Miller, PADT
  • Mary O’Reilly, PhD, CEM, Flinn Foundation
  • Chuck Vermillion, AccountabilIT

ATC and ACA also announced the Future Innovators of the Year and the Teacher of the Year. The winning students, or future innovators, “receive a $1,000 scholarship to further enhance his or her education,” as stated in a press release. “The winning teacher will receive a $1,000 cash award.”

Future Innovators of the Year:

  • Damian Galasso, Galasso Homeschool, Tucson
  • Bryan Gopal, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
  • Trevor Hale, Liberty High School, Peoria
  • Rohit Nandakumar, Basha High School, Chandler
  • Nikita Bharati, Basha High School, Chandler (honorable mention)
  • Sukesh Ram, BASIS, Peoria (honorable mention)

Teacher of the Year:

  • Pradip Misra, Bagdad High School, Bagdad
  • Katy Gazda, Red Mountain High School, Mesa (honorable mention)
  • Hilary Stacey, Empire High School, Tucson (honorable mention)

Sierra Ciaramella

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