Here are 15 Arizona tech leaders to watch in 2022
In my last technology column, I had the opportunity to highlight the technology industries and organizations making a major impact on Arizona’s economic growth and our establishment as a worldwide innovation leader. The past 1½ years have been tough on everyone, but the resilience of our technology ecosystem has played a significant role in helping Arizona recover. I credit this level of strength to the outstanding Arizona tech leaders in this community. In particular, there are individuals who not only have helped to produce innovation here at home but have created successful and thriving companies that represent some of Arizona’s premier employers.
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Before I recognize this group of Arizona tech leaders, you should know this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. We’d need an entire magazine and then some to cover every important leader and technologist who represent the diverse group of executives across some of our fastest-growing industries, as well as those in the startup and investment communities. Listed in alphabetical order, by first name:
Carol Stewart, associate vice president, Tech Parks Arizona, The University of Arizona
Carol Stewart, a long-standing authority on research parks, is the associate vice president of Tech Parks Arizona at The University of Arizona. Stewart leads the UA Tech Park at Rita Road and is developing the UA Tech Park at The Bridges. She is also president of University of Arizona Center for Innovation, a technology business incubator network serving the university, Tucson and the international community.
Christine Boles, vice president in the Internet of Things Group (IoTG) and general manager of Industrial Solutions Division, Intel
Christine Boles’s organization is responsible for Intel’s Industrial IoT business within the manufacturing, energy, logistics and commercial building segments, including the product and ecosystem strategies for this rapidly evolving space. For over 25 years, Boles has led development, delivery and enabling Intel-based solutions, across a broad range of customers, applications and industries. These solutions span a broad range of embedded and IoT applications, including communications, storage, retail, imaging and commercial buildings.
Clate Mask, CEO, Keap
Clate Mask is not only a successful entrepreneur but also one of the most influential mentors to Arizona’s fast-growing startup community. Mask has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for more than a decade as CEO of Chandler-based Keap (formerly known as Infusionsoft). His passion for small business success stems from his personal experience taking Infusionsoft from a struggling startup to an eight-time Inc. 500/5000 winner. Mask’s role in developing Keap is truly one of Arizona’s most important startup stories.
Gregory J. Hayes, chairman and CEO, Raytheon Technologies
Gregory J. Hayes joined Raytheon when the company was acquired by United Technologies Corporation and became Raytheon Technologies. He now leads one of Arizona’s largest employers with a global head count of 180,000 employees and $64 billion in annual sales. Hayes is also one of the most selfless leaders in technology. During the pandemic, he requested a 20% pay cut as well as a reduction in his annual incentive awards. His leadership in recovering from the pandemic led Forbes to report that Raytheon Technologies could emerge as the nation’s leading aerospace firm.
Gregg Scoresby, founder and CEO, CampusLogic
Gregg Scoresby founded CampusLogic in 2011 with a focus of making the student financial aid experience easy, mobile and highly personalized. The company’s student self-service platform sees itself as the TurboTax of Financial Aid. The numerous accolades received by CampusLogic include placement on the 2021 Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies list for the fifth straight year, winner of the 2015 Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness startup competition and finalist in the 2014 Arizona Innovation Challenge. In addition, Scoresby earned a spot on CIO Review’s 2014 list of the Top 20 Most Promising Technologies in Education. He has proven himself to be one of the key figures in Arizona’s ascension to becoming the top state in the nation for EdTech development and growth.
Heidi Jannenga, co-founder and chief clinical officer, WebPT
Heidi Jannenga is another one of Arizona’s great entrepreneurial successes. She co-founded WebPT after recognizing the need for a more sophisticated industry-specific electronic medical record platform and has since guided the company through exponential growth while garnering national recognition. In August 2021, the company was recognized on the Inc. 5000 for the ninth consecutive year and has grown to more than 600 employees across the nation.
Jamie Baxter, CEO, Qwick
Qwick entered the scene in 2017 as one of the most promising startups in Arizona’s history, reporting incredible growth metrics. When the pandemic struck in 2020, Qwick CEO Jamie Baxter made many tough decisions to keep the company afloat, including cutting more than 60% of the staff and asking remaining staff members to take a temporary pay cut. Fortunately, the cutbacks paid off with Qwick still posting 5% revenue growth in 2020 because of Baxter’s unwavering leadership. Today, Qwick has recovered much of its lost staff and is seeing revenue three times greater than pre-pandemic levels. Baxter is also hoping to hit a head count of 100 employees by year’s end.
Jeff Benck, president and CEO, Benchmark
Jeff Benck assumed the role of president and CEO in February 2019 and is responsible for driving Benchmark’s strategic direction and growth plans to redefine the company’s position in the industry. Since joining, he has helped refocus the company on its core strengths and guided it through several strategic investments. These moves helped Benchmark navigate its customers’ most complex technology challenges with a socially responsible approach, and helped the company serve customers through the entire product development life cycle as a trusted partner. With Benck’s leadership, Benchmark became a critical partner to the MedTech industry during the pandemic, helping customers bring life-saving technology to market as quickly as possible.
Khalid Al-Maskari, president and CEO, Health Information Management Systems
Khalid Al-Maskari has more than 20 years of experience in health care and is considered a thought leader by peers in the integrated health care field. As CEO, Khalid rapidly grew the company from a single, Tucson-based customer to achieve a multi-state presence. HiMS designs electronic health records (EHR) software that transforms the integrated health care experience and creates innovative solutions that lead to better outcomes, lower costs and higher-quality care. The company sets itself apart from its competitors by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to improve data discovery and extraction while personalizing treatment recommendations.
Dr. Kishlay Anand, co-founder, president, Apricus Health
In October 2020, board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist Dr. Kishlay Anand co-founded Apricus Health, an innovative technology-enabled health care company. Apricus Health provides 24-hour-a-day proactive health care solutions that enable patients to choose when and how they receive care. Earlier this year, the Apricus Health Network expanded into Texas, providing community-based independent physicians with a unique opportunity to improve patient outcomes for seniors, increase overall patient satisfaction and provide 24/7 access to care. Apricus Health was also recently selected as one of only 53 entities in the U.S. to participate as a direct contracting entity by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Mark Russell, CEO, Nikola
Nikola is one of the key leaders in Arizona’s fast-growing autonomous and electric vehicle industry. Mark Russell took the reins of Nikola in February 2019. Since that time, Russell’s experience has proven to be invaluable in helping him navigate the challenges of being CEO of a company whose stock is considered one of the hottest in the Nasdaq market. Under his leadership, Nikola has become a major contributor to Arizona’s economic growth. The company recently broke ground on its multiproduct manufacturing facility in Coolidge, which represents a capital investment of approximately $600 million. Nikola has the potential to completely change the electric-vehicle industry with revolutionary battery advancements and is expected to bring thousands of jobs to Arizona’s technology sector.
Matthew Likens, president and CEO, GT Medical Technologies
Matthew Likens is an accomplished leader in the medical device industry who currently serves as the president and CEO of GT Medical Technologies. The company was created by a group of brain tumor specialists to address the limitation of current brain tumor treatments and raise the standard of care. Likens joined GT Medical Technologies because he was inspired by the company’s powerful purpose of “improving the lives of patients with brain tumors.”
Mike McCormack, president and CEO, CP Technologies
CP Technologies, a designer and manufacturer of standard and custom rugged computer hardware, is one of the newest members of Arizona’s technology community. In 2021, the company and CEO Mike McCormack announced the grand opening of its new headquarters in Prescott. The company has also committed to hiring more than 200 employees in the area over the next three years. McCormack served in the U.S. Air Force as an airborne command post communications system engineer and has deep management experience with major defense and industrial firms that have designed and manufactured products for defense and aerospace.
Ron Robertson, CEO and co-founder, Picmonic
One of our state’s most creative and innovative EdTech startups is Picmonic, led by CEO and co-founder, Ron Robertson. The company uses picture mnemonics science to create a research-proven learning system for health care professionals filled with memorable characters, unforgettable stories and built-in quizzing. Since 2013, the company has helped over 710,000 students in medical, nursing, physician assistant, nurse practitioner and pharmacy programs save time studying, ace their exams and become successful professionals. Robertson is another entrepreneur helping to take Arizona to the next level in EdTech.
Arizona’s technology community is built on the strength of its people. These leaders and the thousands of experienced employees at their companies have put Arizona on the map as one of the strongest innovation ecosystems in the world. Their work in not only developing critical innovation but also providing high-quality jobs and advocating for technology-friendly legislation has pushed our community beyond what we could have ever imagined 15 to 20 years ago.
Additionally, as the leading technology association for the state of Arizona, I am proud to call many of these individuals our friends and partners. I look forward to their contributions in the years ahead.
AUTHOR: Steven G. Zylstra is the president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.