Tucson optics guru Bob Breault and a local educator won top individual awards and four Tucson-area companies are finalists in the 2010 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Awards, called the state's highest honors for technology innovation.

Individual honorees, who were named recently, and the eventual company winners will be feted at an awards dinner on Nov. 18 in Phoenix.

Breault, president and founder of Breault Research Organization Inc., will receive the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year award.

Jack D. Johnson, president of the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation and a retired University of Arizona professor, will receive the William F. McWhortor Community Service Leader of the Year award.

These local companies are up for Innovator of the Year awards in their size categories:

• Startup company: Verdant Earth Technologies Inc., a developer of controlled agricultural production systems.

• Small company: Breault Research.

• Large company: IBM Corp. (both the Long Term File System and Solid-State Disk divisions); Universal Avionics Systems Corp.

In addition, the National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence research consortium led by the University of Arizona, is a finalist for the Innovator of the Year in the academia category.