Volume 93 Issue 24 | pp. 11-14
Issue Date: June 15, 2015

Cover Story

U.S. Government’s Top Chemist

Willie May rises from the segregated South through the ranks of the National Institute of Standards & Technology
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: NIST, Willie E. May, analytical chemist, mentoring

The first lessons Willie E. May learned about management came from growing up in a poor neighborhood of segregated Birmingham, Ala., in the 1950s and 1960s.

As an only son in an area where many boys had big brothers, “I learned to negotiate to keep from getting my behind beat,” he remembers. “I learned to reason with people because we can’t beat them all.”

That neighborhood, which was in the . . .

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