March 2015 President’s Message

by Steven G. Zylstra

Steven G. Zylstra, President and CEO, Arizona Technology Council

Steven G. Zylstra, President and CEO, Arizona Technology Council

As president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, I often am asked to help shape public policy affecting the state’s tech industry. (If you want to know more about two measures that are part of our focus in this legislative session, see Page 3 in this section.) But it’s my work as chairman of Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) that takes me to Capitol Hill to partner with Congress on matters that shape the nation’s entire tech community.

It’s been an honor to chair TECNA, which represents more than 50 IT and technology trade organizations that, in turn, represent more than 22,000 technology-related companies in North America. As my two-year term ends this summer, it feels good to know our group is even more committed to making technology a driving force in the nation’s economy.

One of the highlights is the annual TechAmerica DC Fly-In. I recently returned from Washington, D.C., with members of the Arizona delegation who were among business leaders from small and medium-sized tech companies nationwide that gathered to advocate for public policies that are tech-friendly and will create jobs. To deliver their messages directly were some of the best and brightest from Arizona’s technology community. They included:

  • Greg Garcia, a member of the board of management of Invoy Technologies
  • Doug Guilbeau, president and CEO of Levementum
  • Bill Hewitt, vice president of strategic partnerships R&D at Tri-Merit
  • Sheila Kloefkorn, CEO and president of KEO Marketing Inc.
  • Russ Yelton, CEO of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, a regenerative medical company that operates a human tissue bank

While there, we met with members of and staff for Arizona’s congressional delegation. They included Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema. Our meetings also featured Stephanie Hall, Sen. John McCain’s telecomm assistant, and Amy Emerick, Rep. Raul Grijalva’s chief of staff.

Our discussions focused on policies to develop skills for the 21st century workforce, advance tax and regulatory policies that spur innovation, lead in secure Internet-based platform technologies, support new and emerging technology platforms through policies, address availability and delivery of broadband communications, expand markets and advocate for sensible rules of global trade, and advance common sense reforms in government procurement and acquisition.

While my role with TECNA may be winding down, my commitment to continue working with Arizona’s congressional delegation is not. I invite you to join us for next year’s Fly-In — my eighth time leading Council members from our state. If you want a change for the better, sometimes it needs to start with you.

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