2020 Women in Biometrics Awards winners announced

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Biometrics and digital ID

The Security Industry Association (SIA) and SecureIDNews have chosen the winners of the 2020 Women in Biometrics Awards, a program sponsored by IdemiaBiometric Update and the SIA Women in Security Forum.

The winners will be introduced during the 2020 SIA GovSummit, an annual government security conference hosted online between June 1 and 4. They will be honored in a keynote panel session a day before titled The Women in Biometrics Awards Presents the Future of Biometrics in Government Security Applications.

The 2020 winners recognized for their work in the biometric identity and security industry are Jeni Best, Branch Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Anne May, Biometric Support Center Lead, Identity Operations Division, Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Mei Ngan, Computer Scientist, Image Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Lauren Reed, Senior Program Director for Biometric Forensics, IDEMIA National Security Solutions (NSS), and; Annet Steenbergen, Co-Founder, Aruba Happy Flow Project.

Jeni Best’s expertise is reflected in her contribution to CBP’s Biometric Exit Program, to Automated Passport Control and Mobile Passport Control, and to CBP’s exit roll-out strategy. Best has led implementation of biometric exit systems at 27 U.S. airports and two international locations. With more than 20 years of experience, throughout 2019 she was acting director of biometric air exit operations at CBP. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University.

For 25 years, Anne May has worked in program management in the public sector, and specifically with biometric technology for 17 of them. She was the biometrics portfolio manager with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and has been part of US-VISIT since 2003, where she supervised the deployment of specialized biometric hardware to over 550 border patrol and immigration enforcement field sites. May is lead manager for the DHS 24/7 Biometric Support Center, and has also contributed to the development of the DHS biometric system, Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology.

A computer scientist in the NIST Image Group, Mei Ngan’s work is in face morphing detection, tattoo recognition and face recognition evaluation. She is the project lead for the NIST Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) MORPH program and launched the Tattoo Recognition Technology Program in 2014. Ngan has led NIST’s Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity Janus program.

Lauren Reed is responsible for Idemia’s deployment of multimodal biometric systems to U.S. government foreign partners to improve crime and terrorism detection capabilities. Reed has more than 20 years of experience working in biometrics and forensics and was the first woman director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory at the Defense Forensic Science Center. She was also the first chief of the Biometric Examination Services Branch for the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency in Clarksburg, West Virginia. In 2012, Reed was awarded the FBI Director’s Award for Exceptional Public Service for leading a biometric initiative that identified 500 individuals linked to terrorist and national security cases.

A Dutch national, Annet Steenbergen has implemented in Aruba a single-token initiative that reuses biometrics to ensure a seamless passenger flow at the airport. She assisted a partnership between the Netherlands and Aruba governments, KLM Airlines, the Aruba Airport Authority and the biometric vendor to deliver biometric security. With over 20 years of experience in border control, management and public-private cooperation, Steenbergen has worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service at Schiphol Airport and at headquarters in the policy department for border management. She provides consultancy on biometric-enabled seamless travel and GDPR compliance.

“Each year, the Women in Biometrics Awards recognize the best and brightest talent helping to advance biometrics technologies, which are essential to securing identities today, and the achievements of these female industry leaders are improving processes like air travel, enhancing cutting-edge fields like facial recognition and working to keep people safe,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson in a prepared statement. “SIA applauds the 2020 honorees for their impressive dedication, innovation and leadership in this critical technology market and looks forward to honoring this outstanding group during SIA GovSummit.”

“Once again, the 2020 class of Women in Biometrics Award winners astound me with their contributions to the security industry and society in general,” said Chris Corum, editor and publisher of SecureIDNews, in a prepared statement. “Their collective work keeps international borders secure, fights terrorism, aids law enforcement and makes our daily lives safer and more convenient.”

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