It Takes a Team

Annual Report reflects combined efforts to make things happen

by Don Rodriguez

While the year 2017 was one in which the Arizona Technology Council continued to best represent the interests of the state’s technology community, perhaps it was the partnerships that evolved during the year that demonstrate exceptional results can happen when people work together.

Examples of such results are among the details of Council achievements included in the 2017 Annual Report, a recap of the year’s activities and results. To access the complete report, go to bit.ly/aztech-annual-report.

Examples of how the Council coordinated with others for lasting impact occurred in public policy work at the Arizona Capitol. Heading the efforts was the Public Policy Committee, which often teamed with lobbying firm Public Policy Partners (P3) to work on the Council’s agenda. A prime example of the level of achievable results was their working with lawmakers to help get the Angel Investment Tax Credit recapitalized. House Bill 2191, as it was formally known, passed through the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey ultimately signed the measure into law.

Senate Bill 1114, originally designed to maintain Arizona’s “dark skies” so researchers can conduct their studies with minimal light pollution, faced modification attempts at the 11th hour. Again, P3 successfully kept the bill on track until it eventually passed in the Legislature before gaining the governor’s signature.

Sometimes the teamwork to get things done starts with lawmakers themselves. The state’s enhanced R&D tax credit was to sunset in 2018, so an extension was needed. Rep. Jeff Weninger initially sponsored House Bill 2492, but the push ultimately was driven by Sen. Frank Pratt’s Senate Bill 1416, which covered multiple different programs. The measure ultimately made it through the Legislature and was signed by the governor to extend the credit through the 2021 tax year.

Members of the Council’s Public Policy Committee claimed another type of victory, as explained in the annual report. Their 2017 Public Policy Guide designed to detail the Council’s agenda for lawmakers, members and other stakeholders was awarded the Excellence in Communications Award by the Arizona Society of Association Executives. 

The Council also works with other groups in the state. An example cited in the annual report is its working collaboratively with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Foundation (GPCF) to develop solutions with employers, educators and community partners that better address identified skill gaps by aligning needs with education and training. This skills gap is impacting the ability of companies to expand.

Availability of a skilled labor force has become the top priority for companies looking to expand or relocate. According to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, approximately 49 percent of employers indicated they were unable to fill open positions. In Arizona, more than 6,000 of those positions are in cybersecurity.

Members of the Council have partnered with GPCF’s Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative to lead and advance this critical work by developing a continuum of workplace experiences and sharing best practices that help develop the cybersecurity talent needed in Arizona. The group consists of industry professionals, educators and training partners working to address talent shortages of security analysts at the junior, mid and senior levels. 

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