Acting Director of the National Institute for Science and Technology Willie May was officially named to the director position after being confirmed by the Senate on May 4.
In being confirmed, May was also named the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, the second person to hold the title.
May has been with NIST since 1971 — when it was called the National Bureau of Standards — and has served as acting director for the last year.
"This honor is something I could never have imagined when I began working as a bench chemist at the National Bureau of Standards more than 40 years ago," May said after the confirmation. "I look forward to work with [Commerce] Secretary [Penny] Pritzker to address the department's new responsibilities called out in the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act."
Pritzker, in turn, lauded NIST's support of the agency's manufacturing initiatives, as well as the institute's work on cybersecurity.
"Willie has been a partner and champion in our efforts to strengthen America's manufacturing sector and promote innovation, key drivers to spurring economic growth and core pillars of the department's 'Open for Business Agenda,'" Pritzker said. "In addition to serving as a world-class research institute, NIST has taken the lead on several major Department of Commerce and Obama Administration priorities, including implementing a national network of manufacturing institutes and working with industry and other stakeholders to develop the NIST Cybersecurity Framework."
May holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from Knoxville College and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Maryland.
Along with his work at NIST, May serves as vice president of the International Committee on Weights and Measures and president of the CIPM Consultative Committee on Metrology in Chemistry and Biology.