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Dr. Willie E. May

Dr. Willie E. May  is the NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs. He is responsible for oversight and direction of NIST's seven laboratory programs and is the principal deputy to the NIST Director.

The position of Associate Director for Laboratory Programs was created in October 2010 as part of the first major realignment of NIST programs in more than 20 years.

NIST's seven laboratories include the Physical Measurement Laboratory, Material Measurement Laboratory, Engineering Laboratory, Information Technology Laboratory, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the Communications Technology Laboratory, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research. The NIST Laboratories collaborate with U.S. industry and universities to conduct measurement, standards, and technology research that advances the nation's R&D infrastructure. The overarching goal of the NIST laboratory programs is to accelerate U.S. innovation, which is a major driver of economic growth and job creation. Prior to his current position, Dr. May served as Director of the Material Measurement Laboratory, which serves as the Nation's reference laboratory for measurements in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences through activities ranging from fundamental research in the composition, structure, and properties of industrial, biological and environmental materials and processes, to the development and dissemination of certified reference materials, critically evaluated data, and other measurement quality assurance programs. Previously Dr. May led NIST's research and measurement service programs in chemistry-related areas for more than 20 years. His personal research activities were focused in the areas of trace organic analytical chemistry and physico-chemical properties of organic compounds.

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; Executive Board Member for the Joint Committee on Traceability in Laboratory Medicine; Board of Visitors for the University of Maryland College Park's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

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 for the 2002 Winter Commencement Ceremonies, University of Maryland, College of Life Sciences; Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award, the NOBCChE Henry Hill Award for exemplary work and leadership in the field of chemistry, Science Spectrum Magazine Emerald Award in 2005, the 2007 Alumnus of the Year Award from the College of Chemical and Life Sciences at the University of Maryland, member of first class of inductees into the Knoxville College Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010 and Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2011; Honorary Doctor of Science and Speaker at Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Commencement Exercises, Wake Forest University in 2012.



Principal Deputy & Associate Director for Laboratory Programs
Office of the Director

Employment History:

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.


Knoxville College

University of Maryland


Phone: 301-975-2300