PHOENIX - The Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Department of Commerce has announced the winners of the 2009 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) awards. Companies, individuals and academic organizations that demonstrated excellence were given Arizona’s highest honor for technology innovation on November 19, 2009, at an awards ceremony held at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.

“Throughout the turbulent economy of 2009, innovation became more important than ever,” says Steven G. Zylstra, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Technology Council. “It is essential that we celebrate the creative spirit of Arizona by recognizing and honoring the state’s most innovative thinkers. We congratulate all the winners and extend our thanks for their part in advancing Arizona as a top-tier technology state.”

The winners and finalists were selected by a committee of experts independent of the Council. The winners in their respective categories are:

Company Award Winners:
  • Pioneering Innovation: Universal Avionics Systems Corp. - a Tucson-based manufacturer of avionics systems used worldwide on a full range of aircraft types from helicopters to corporate aircraft and large commercial airliners. UASC is now offering the business jet industry’s first product line of Wide Area Augmentation System enabled Flight Management Systems. This new generation of flight management systems will be used on Business/Regional Jets around the world to safely guide an aircraft down to point 1/2 mile to the runway and only 200 feet above the ground.

  • Green Innovator of the Year: Yulex Corp. - a clean-tech biomaterials company commercially producing a diverse, renewable product from the desert plant, indigenous to Arizona, known as guayule (why-YOU-lee). The company has developed proprietary processes and patents to produce the only U.S. source of sustainable latex and rubber for use in medical and specialty consumer products.

  • Innovator of the Year - Start-Up Company: Ubidyne Inc. - a manufacturer of digital antenna embedded radio systems for wireless communications. Ubidyne’s first product, the uB900 micro-radio, is the world’s first digital radio system enabling operators worldwide to deploy UMTS services on the 900 MHz band.

  • Innovator of the Year - Small Company: General Plasma Inc. - a multi-million-dollar international supplier of thin film deposition equipment and technology serving numerous market segments including solar, architectural glass and industrial manufacturing. GPI has developed a deposition technology that revolutionizes the solar industry by allowing companies to produce highly efficient solar panels at a lower cost.

  • Innovator of the Year - Large Company: Universal Avionics Systems Corp. (see Pioneering Innovation.)

  • Innovator of the Year – Academia: Arizona State University Polytechnic - Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld, co-directors of the Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology (LARB) and Professors of Applied Science and Mathematics at ASU, have developed a sustainable algal feedstock technology for production of a renewable petroleum substitute that can be converted to aviation fuel. For more information on GCOI and the other award categories, visit