Our judging panel includes experts in the fields of forensic science, postal operations, drug interdiction, industrial engineering and artificial intelligence. Judges scored submissions according to the Stage 1 Selection Criteria.

Photo of José R. Almirall, Ph.D.

José R. Almirall, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science
Dr. José Almirall is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida International University and Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS). Prior to his academic appointment, he was a practicing forensic scientist in Miami. Dr. Almirall has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and mentored more than 50 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the fields of analytical and forensic chemistry. His research group has received three patents based on air sampling devices designed to detect drugs and explosives, and he leads a NIST-sponsored scientific committee that aims to improve the standardization of forensic chemistry methods.
Photo of Manuel A. Garza Jr.

Manuel A. Garza Jr.

Director, Manifest & Conveyance Security Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Mr. Manuel Garza is the Director for the Manifest & Conveyance Security Division at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He began his career with U.S. Customs & Border Protection (U.S. Customs Service) in 2002. His extensive experience with drug interdiction and border security includes managing the Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) with several countries and the EU, and negotiating the exchange of near-real-time rail VACIS data images with Mexico Customs. In his current role, Mr. Garza is responsible for cargo enforcement policies, activities and security efforts in all modes of transportation. He is responsible for compliance and policy oversight, and for ensuring that manifest and Trade Act requirements are met for all modes up to the point of arrival.

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Alexis Long

Chief Innovation Officer, Transportation Security Administration

Alexis Long is the first Chief Innovation Officer of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Mr. Long joins leads TSA’s effort to foster a culture of innovation throughout the agency, advising senior leadership on how to discover, prioritize, resource, and implement innovation solutions to improve the execution of TSA’s mission. Mr. Long brings a wealth of security experience with over 14 years supporting and leading international security policy and operations both in the government and private sector. His appointments include Founding Chair of the International Air Transport Association/Airports Council International (IATA/ACI) Smart Security Management Group, member of the UK National Aviation Security Executive Committee, and Chair of the UK National Counter Terrorism Independent Advisory Group.

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Stephen D. McConachie

Chief Operations Manager, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Mr. Stephen McConachie is a Chief Operations Manager at U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C. He manages programs involving counternarcotics and illicit trafficking, gangs and transnational organized crime, weapons of mass destruction, and medical countermeasures. He also serves as the senior liaison to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Previously, Mr. McConachie served as a Hazardous Materials Specialist and Special Mission Planner with the FBI. He is a FEMA certified Master Exercise Practitioner, and has a B.S. in Physics from West Liberty University.

Photo of Michael M. McCormick, Ph.D.

Michael M. McCormick, Ph.D.

Science Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Dr. Michael McCormick is a Science Officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate (LSSD) and a liaison to the National Heroin Coordination Group within the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Dr. McCormick manages LSSD’s designer drug program, pharmaceutical safeguard program and remote narcotics triage program, which he designed and developed. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan Tech University and received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia.

Photo of Stephanie L. Smith, M.S.

Stephanie L. Smith, M.S.

Scientific & Technical Advisor, U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Ms. Stephanie Smith is the Scientific & Technical Advisor for the United States Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the Postal Service. She advises leadership on the planning, development, implementation and support of policies directing the screening and analysis of suspicious materials, primarily in support of the Dangerous Mail Investigation Program. Her responsibilities include conducting research into innovative solutions and serving as a subject matter expert and liaison for the Inspection Service and parent Postal Service with industry and government. Ms. Smith holds a B.S. in Forensic Science & Chemistry from the University of Central Florida and an M.S. in Biodefense from George Mason University.

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Andrew Therriault

Former Chief Data Officer, City of Boston

Andrew Therriault served as the City of Boston’s first-ever Chief Data Officer from 2016 to 2018, overseeing the city’s Analytics Team and helping to lead the Department of Innovation and Technology. In that role, he spearheaded the development of new data warehouse and open data platforms for the city, crafted policies to safeguard the privacy and security of residents’ data, and collaborated with city leaders, community groups, and members of the public to promote Boston’s data and analytics initiatives. Therriault also previously served as Director of Data Science for the Democratic National Committee (2014-16) and as a data science consultant for a range of nonprofit, advocacy, business, and government clients. He is a frequent speaker and author on the topics of data science and civic technology, and he received his doctorate in political science from New York University in 2011. He currently resides in Boston and leads a data science team at Facebook working to optimize their technology infrastructure.