Worked as a senior analyst at the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant for three years prior to coming to the National Bureau of Standards in 1971. Led research activities in analytical chemistry for more than 20 years with his personal research being focused in the area of trace organic analytical chemistry, with special emphasis on retention mechanisms in liquid chromatography, the development of liquid chromatographic methods for the determination of individual organic species in complex mixtures (i.e., extracts of environmental, food, and clinical samples) and the determination of physico-chemical properties such as aqueous solubilities, octanol/water partition coefficients, and vapor pressures of organic compounds. This work is described in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. More than 250 invited lectures have been presented at U.S. industrial sites, Colleges/Universities and Technical Meetings throughout the world.
University of Maryland
On January 3, 2017, Dr. Willie E. May stepped down as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.
Dr. May had been confirmed by Congress as Director and Under Secretary on May 4, 2015. Prior to becoming the 15th NIST Director, he had served as Acting NIST Director and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology since June 2014. Prior to that assignment, he was Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, where he was responsible for oversight and direction of NIST's seven laboratory programs and served as the principal deputy to the NIST Director.
As NIST Director, Dr. May provided high-level oversight and direction for NIST. The agency promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. NIST's FY 2016 Appropriation is $964M. In addition, NIST receives an estimated $50 million in service fees and approximately $120 million for services rendered to other federal and state agencies on a cost reimbursable basis. NIST employs about 3,400 federal scientists, engineers, technicians, support staff, and administrative personnel at two main locations in Gaithersburg, MD, and Boulder, CO. NIST also hosts approximately 3,500 Associates from academia, U.S. industry, and other government agencies, who collaborate with NIST staff and access user facilities. NIST also partners with more than 1,300 manufacturing specialists and staff at more than 400 Manufacturing Extension Partnership locations around the country.
Dr. May led NIST's research and measurement service programs in chemistry-related areas for more than 20 years. Prior to that, his personal research activities were focused in the areas of trace organic analytical chemistry and physico-chemical properties of organic compounds, where his work was described in more than 85 archival publications.
Other National and International Responsibilities:
Dr. May has several leadership responsibilities in addition to those at NIST. He is Vice President of the 18-person International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM); President of the CIPM's Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry and Biology; and an Executive Board Member for the Joint Committee on Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM). He also serves on the External Advisory Boards for the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (NAIST).
Honors and Awards:
Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award, 1981; National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award, 1982; Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award, 1985; Arthur Flemming Award for Outstanding Federal Service, 1986; NOBCChE Percy Julian Award for Outstanding Research in Organic Analytical Chemistry and Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Federal Executive, 1992; Department of Commerce Gold Medal, 1992; American Chemical Society Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Analytical Chemistry Award, 2001; Keynote Speaker-Winter Commencement Ceremonies, University of Maryland, College of Life Sciences, 2002; Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award; NOBCChE Henry Hill Award for exemplary work and leadership in the field of chemistry; Science Spectrum Magazine Emerald Award, 2005; Alumnus of the Year Award from the College of Chemical and Life Sciences at the University of Maryland, 2007; Member of the first class of inductees into the Knoxville College Alumni Hall of Fame, 2010; Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2011; Honorary Doctor of Science and Speaker at Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Commencement Exercises, Wake Forest University, 2012; Keynote Speaker-Winter Commencement Ceremonies, University of Maryland, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, 2015.