2020 Women in Biometrics award winner Anne May is the OBIM Biometric Support Center Lead for the Office of Biometric Identity Management with the Department of Homeland Security. She wound up in this career by chance. In 1998, she took on a new position at the Immigration and Naturalization Service as a systems portfolio manager. The system she happened to be assigned to was the immigration biometric system.
“I really had never heard of biometrics at the time,” May says. “It really gave me the opportunity to see firsthand the benefits of biometrics within the border management and immigration mission space — and how biometrics allowed our agency to tackle some really tough identity management challenges.”
OBIM’s Biometric Support Center makes a positive impact — whether it’s identifying an unknown deceased person to help bring some closure to a family, identifying a terrorist, or even helping solve a 40-year-old cold case
With a degree in Production Operations Management, May has used those skills as the lead manager for the DHS 24/7 Biometric Support Center (BSC). “I think those skills from college kind of helped make me be able to break down operational issues or concerns and figure out how to retool them or reprocess them better and make them more efficient.”
The 9/11 terrorist attacks bolstered May’s interest in how biometric technology could help keep America safe. Since then, she’s led various projects to further the implementation and use of biometrics in support of the Department of Homeland Security mission. She’s worked at US-VISIT since its inception in 2003, where she managed the implementation of a multi-agency project responsible for deploying specialized biometric hardware to more than 550 border patrol and immigration enforcement field sites.
May is an innovator in the development of Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART). She provides expertise and oversight to OBIM’s ongoing biometric accuracy and image quality analysis efforts. She’s also a mentor to newcomers in the biometrics field.
May’s proudest accomplishment:
I think what I’m most proud of is really transforming and growing OBIM’s Biometric Support Center into an effective 24/7 service. It’s able to make a positive day to day impact on our mission and on people’s lives — whether it’s identifying an unknown deceased person to help bring some closure to a family, or identifying a terrorist so they can’t obtain a visa to enter the US, or even helping solve a 40-year-old cold case. It’s just a great feeling when you can look back at the end of the day and know you’ve made a positive difference.
Anne May says she’s still excited and challenged by her work in biometrics.
The Women in Biometrics Awards, co-founded by the Security Industry Association (SIA) and SecureIDNews, will recognize five winners during the virtual 2020 SIA GovSummit June 1-4, 2020. Sponsors of the program include IDEMIA, Biometric Update, and the Women in Security Forum.