On Sunday, August 28, 2022, the Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) celebrated its 20th anniversary as Arizona’s premier technology industry association. The Council was founded when the Arizona High Tech Industry Cluster merged with the Arizona Software & Industry Association to create the Council. The Council now has over 700 members and offices in Phoenix and Tucson and is thriving alongside the state’s rapidly growing technology industry.
“It has been an honor to spend the last 15 years serving Arizona’s incredible technology community as the president and CEO of an organization that has provided lasting value for 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Council and SciTech Institute. “When we first started, our goal was simple: convene technology leaders to develop a community that supports each other in creating products that make a real difference in people’s lives. Today, we have developed into one of the largest technology associations in the nation, and it has coincided with the incredible growth of the state’s innovation economy. I’d like to give a big thanks and congratulations to our members, employees, board members and partners throughout Arizona.”
As Arizona’s premier trade association for science and technology companies, the Council has spent the past two decades providing the community with numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together local leaders to advance technology that can create jobs, stimulate the local and national economies and positively impact all Arizonans. It has welcomed a wide variety of technology leaders as members and board members, including Bob Smith, Honeywell Aerospace’s first board member on the Council and current CEO of Blue Origin, and Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), a critical organization for Arizona and a key partner of the Council’s.
In addition, the Council’s SciTech Institute (formerly the Arizona Technology Council Foundation) was founded shortly after the Council on May 17, 2004, with the goal of connecting the STEM community and inspiring individuals to pursue STEM-related career paths and get engaged in STEM events. For years, SciTech Institute has been successful in using its platform to encourage Arizonans of all ages to get involved with the STEM community and pursue STEM-related career paths. It does this by hosting a wide variety of events and educational forums, including the annual AZ SciTech Festival, which features hundreds of events across 80 Arizona cities alongside more than 900 partners in the science and technology ecosystem.
“I want to congratulate Steve and the Arizona Technology Council on 20 years of success,” said Watson. “ACA has been a long-time partner of the Council on programs like SciTech Institute, which increases STEM awareness and outreach. We look forward to seeing the continued impact of the Council’s work and growing our technology ecosystem while strengthening Arizona’s reputation as a premier technology destination.”
Over the years, the Council has demonstrated its commitment to Arizona’s technology community by working with other community partners to be an advocate for pro-technology legislation and lobbying at the state and federal levels on behalf of its members. The Council’s public policy successes have included:
- Helping restore the Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding
- Helping create and maintain the Arizona R&D Tax Credit through 2030
- Helping create and extend the Arizona Angel Investor Tax Credit until 2031
- Helping pave the way for Association Health Plans in Arizona
- Contributing to the creation of the Arizona FinTech Sandbox
- Supporting increases in its K-12 and post-secondary education investments
- And much more
Through its work, the Council has helped solidify Arizona’s position as a top landing spot for startups and major corporations alike. In recent years, several startups have been founded locally and a variety of cutting-edge technology companies have relocated to Arizona, including TSMC, Waymo, Nikola, Lucid Motors, Benchmark, CampusLogic, Carvana and many more. There are also several longtime technology giants that continue to invest and grow in Arizona, including Intel, Avnet, Raytheon and Honeywell Aerospace.
“The Council is a staple of our technology ecosystem and an excellent resource to organizations both new and established,” said Phil Gallagher, CEO of Avnet. “The organization’s work has been critical to developing this community and establishing Arizona as an innovation center. I congratulate Steve and his team on this milestone and for everything they have accomplished in our state over the last 20 years.”
The Council has also worked tirelessly to create a technology ecosystem that is laser-focused on leveling the playing field through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The Council’s dedication to DEI is exemplified through several internal and external partnerships and programs, including its partnerships with AZNext, ALRISE and InclusionAZ, as well as its own programs like the Council’s Tech Inclusion Forum and Women in the Workforce committees. The Council was recently recognized for its efforts by the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) by winning the 2022 Innovation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion award.
The Council will continue to mark its anniversary throughout the year, including at the 20th anniversary of signature event the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) on November 8 at the Phoenix Convention Center.