Dan Dozer is Senior Laboratory Planner with CRB in Carlsbad, CA. Lab Manager recently spoke with Dan about his career, experience, and personal interests.
Q:How did you get started in your career? Did you major in your field in college, get an internship, switch careers mid-stream, etc.?
A: Back in junior high school, I knew that I wanted to be an architect. Drawing and architecture classes were always especially easy and interesting throughout high school and college. I have always been interested in the challenge of planning and designing buildings and places to live and work. My family has a background in creative and analytical professions, specifically in engineering, design, and the arts. The combination of all those things has carried on to me as well.
Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?
A: I work with our design teams and lab users every day. An important aspect of my work is coordinating design needs between the functional aspects of what the laboratories require and the technical aspects of the building design. This means that I work very closely with the scientists in the labs and the project architects and engineers. There is a lot of teaching and mentoring in what I do every day. The scientists are keenly intelligent, creative people, but they usually aren’t experienced in designing and building a new lab building. They also don’t know the requirements in the building codes regarding the health and safety aspects of good laboratory design. Part of my job is helping them understand all that information and working with them to integrate their wish list of lab needs into a safe and efficient building design.
Q: What’s a common misconception about your job?
A: As a licensed architect, I find that many laboratory users and scientists often don't realize that I know a lot about the sciences they work in and the processes and equipment they use. In the 40 years, I've been a lab designer, I've learned how to speak their language and gain their trust. It doesn’t take them long to realize that they need me just as much as I need them to design their lab spaces.
Q: What is the biggest work-related challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?
A: A lab university user on a project many years ago came to me with an already planned layout for his new lab. He was adamant that this plan was the “only plan that would work for him.” His design had multiple code violations and would not have been passed by the local building officials. He expected that we could change the building code to match his layout. I worked with him to fully understand his research lab needs and then offered options planned.
Q: What lab projects are you working on at the moment?
A: As a laboratory planner, I work on many types of projects. At CRB, we provide design services for many projects in the biopharmaceutical industry. As such, many of my projects include R&D and quality control labs for these clients. In addition, I am involved in college and university projects, including some recent facilities involved in studying infectious diseases among insects. A critical design criterion was protecting lab users while working with these diseases. I also get involved in agriculture-related projects and recently completed a new agricultural testing and analysis lab that works with plant and animal diseases for the State of Idaho.