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Steve Zylstra

President & CEO

Arizona Technology Council

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Steven G. Zylstra, Sc.D. (Hon.) serves as president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, a role he assumed in December of 2007. He is responsible for strategy, development, operations and accomplishment of policy development, business goals and objectives and all financial matters related to the Council.

Zylstra is a leading advocate for improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Also a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards in Arizona, he was named in 2016 as “Leader of the Year, Technology,” by the Arizona Capitol Times and a “Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal.

From 2000 to 2007, Zylstra served as president and CEO of both the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Catalyst Connection. He concurrently served as president and CEO of the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center and the Doyle Center for Manufacturing Technology, both Technology-based Economic Development (TBED)-focused organizations. Additionally, Zylstra was president of the Pittsburgh Biomedical Development Corporation, an affiliated organization of the Pittsburgh Technology Council that invested in start-up biomedical and biotechnology companies.

Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh, Zylstra was the director of business development for Simula Technologies, Inc., of Phoenix, Arizona, since 1995. Simula specialized in the research, development, testing and manufacturing of high-technology transportation seating and safety systems, advanced polymers, composite technologies and ballistic armor systems.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering Technology from Western Michigan University, Zylstra was employed as a design engineer for the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, as a design engineer for Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation in Newport Beach, California and as a senior design engineer and technical manager for Bendix Guidance Systems in Teterboro, New Jersey.

From 1984 to 1995, Zylstra served as general manager of General Pneumatics Corporation, Western Research Center (WRC), in Scottsdale, Arizona. During his tenure at WRC, the company was granted 19 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program awards.

While in Arizona in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he was a co-founder and member of the Governor’s Arizona Science and Technology Council, as well as a co-founder and past chairman of the Arizona Innovation Network. Zylstra also was a member of the Governor's Arizona Partnership for the New Economy, and he served as director and Executive Committee member of the Arizona Technology Incubator. He also served as chairman of the Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development, High Technology Industry Cluster. He was a past director of the Arizona Technology Development Authority, and he was a member of the Governor’s Council for Workforce Development Policy. Zylstra also served as past chairman of the industry advisory council of Arizona State University’s Corporate Leaders Program, as well as a director of the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe and Arizona-based Scientific Monitoring, Inc.

Zylstra currently is a member of the Arizona District Export Council and (U.S.) Council on Competitiveness and serves as chairman emeritus of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA). He is a fellow of The Aspen Institute’s Communities That Work Partnership.

He serves on numerous committees and boards including the Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee; Arizona Career and Technical Education Quality Skills Commission; Arizona Department of Education - CTE Quality Skills Commission; Arizona District Export Council Board; Arizona Science Center Board of Trustees; Arizona Pathways to Prosperity Initiative; Center for the Future of Arizona’s (CFA) Pathways to Prosperity State Working Group; CEMOSoft Advisory Team; Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) Global Trade and Market Access Committee; EWI Manufacturing Innovation Center Advisory Board; Industry Partner Board of the University of Arizona, College of Engineering; Information Systems Executive Advisory Board in the Department of Information Systems, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University; Life365 Advisory Board; Maricopa Community College Workforce Development Leadership and Innovation Council; Metro Phoenix Export Alliance; Paradise Valley School District Center for Research, Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) Advisory Board; Phoenix Coding Academy Advisory Council; Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM Network Advisory Council; Sonoran Schools Advisory Board; Sun Corridor Inc. Board of Directors; Teach for America – Phoenix Corporate Working Group; and Wilkes University – Mesa Advisory Board.

Zylstra is also an Ex-offcio member of the Board of Trustees of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and also chairs its Board of Stewards.

Zylstra holds a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering technology from Western Michigan University. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science in Technology from the University of Advancing Technology.


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