Council Staff Recognized With Awards, Promotion

by Don Rodriguez


Steven G. Zylstra

Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, was named the Leader of the Year in Public Policy in the technology category by the Arizona Capitol Times in recognition of his efforts to influence Arizona’s technology industry.

Under Zylstra’s leadership, the Council’s Public Policy Committee is directly involved with the process of evaluating Arizona’s legislative candidates. The Council also publishes an annual Public Policy Guide and biennial Vote TechSmart guide to help members and the technology industry navigate elections and the annual legislative session. In addition, the Council hosts an annual Legislative Day designed to provide members and the community an opportunity to have their voices heard as it relates to public policy in the technology sector. Zylstra also leads Council members on an annual trip to Washington, D.C., to meet Arizona’s congressional delegation to discuss key initiatives and opportunities within the state. 

Zylstra also was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders list that recognizes top executives for demonstrating leadership, values and vision. In a special supplement published by the newspaper, he shared a number of thoughts, including the biggest challenge to moving the Valley forward:

“Arizona needs to continue to improve its support of K-12 education. The recent education funding plan passed by voters in May won’t solve our long-term issues. This is just a first step in boosting funding for schools that desperately need more. Arizona still ranks 48th nationally in per-pupil spending.”


Leigh Goldstein

Leigh Goldstein has been promoted to chief operations officer and vice president of programs and events. His previous role for the Council was vice president of operations and events.

In his new role, Goldstein will oversee the organization’s internal operations, certain aspects of human resources, sales and programming/events. This requires coordinating more than 160 events throughout the year, including the annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, attended by Arizona’s leading members of the business and technology community.


Jeremy Babendure

Jeremy Babendure, executive director of Arizona SciTech and the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, which celebrates the best of the rising stars. He also serves as assistant research professor at Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences.

In a special supplement published by the newspaper, Babendure cited his career highlights — including creating the nation’s first chief science officers group comprised of students who advocate for STEM and innovation in their schools and community, and raising more than $18 million in federal, corporate and foundational grants.


Members in the Spotlight

Member company NeoLight, creator of smart devices that provide newborns with care rather than hospital treatment, recently was named the recent winner of the Phoenix Rise of the Rest Pitch Competition. The company received a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Also getting the chance to make their pitches were member companies Crowd Mics, which gives audience a voice by turning their phones into wireless microphones for live events, and MSDx, a precision medicine company developing blood testing products for monitoring neurodegeneration in brain diseases.

The following individuals from Arizona Technology Council member companies and partners also were recognized in recent Phoenix Business Journal lists:

Most Admired Leaders

  • Lisa Daniels, KPMG
  • Kevin Hickey, Beyond Trust
  • Eric Miller, PADT
  • David Racich, Brokers Alliance
  • R.F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., Arizona State University Enterprise Partners and ASU Foundation
  • Russ Yelton, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies

40 under 40

  • Sam Alpert, Junior Achievement
  • Gina Apresa, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Melissa A. Bengtson, DLA Piper
  • Ben Cilek, University of Phoenix
  • Koran Hardimon, Intel
  • Kate Maynard Hickman, Alliance Bank of Arizona
  • Nicole Maroulakos Goodwin, Greenberg Traurig
  • Nicole Johnson, Lovitt & Touché
  • Vivek Kopparthi, NeoLight
  • Travis Leach, Ballard Spahr
  • Neel Mehta, EpiFinder
  • Danny Moran Jr., SRP
  • Kristin Priscella, Arizona Science Center
  • Beth Stiner, Banner Health
  • Christopher Walton, Cresa
  • Robert Yao, EpiFinder

Hickman and Leach also serve on the Council’s Board of Directors.

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