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Professional Profile: Michelle Gangel

Lab Manager speaks to Michelle Gangel, R&D Market Team Leader with CRB

MaryBeth DiDonna

MaryBeth DiDonna is lab design editor and digital events editor for Lab Manager. Her work for the lab design section of the publication examines the challenges that project teams...

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Michelle Gangel, AIA, is R&D Market Team Leader with CRB in Kansas City, MO. Lab Manager recently spoke with Michelle about her 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: I went to Kansas State University and graduated with a degree in architecture. I found my way to laboratory and the life science focus a bit by accident. I worked for more than 20 years in an architecture firm and gained experience in laboratory design with a higher education focus. I also worked on a couple of very satisfying criminalistics projects. There, I discovered a love for the project type—it is incredible to design spaces that allow a scientist to find the truth in a criminal investigation, discover the next breakthrough to cure or treat a disease, or launch a new business. I joined CRB about five years ago and now lead the Midwest R&D team and the national R&D market sector.

Q: What’s a common misconception about your job?

A: When I tell people I’m an architect, it seems that many think the main talent needed is drawing a straight line! In reality, this is an extremely high-tech field with continuous innovation in how we help clients visualize space and use advancements in materials to construct buildings—particularly in laboratory design. It takes a large team of specialized expertise, including lab planners, engineers, and designers—nothing is done alone. I hate to hear “I designed that” instead of “I was on the team that designed that building.”

Q: What lab projects are you working on at the moment?

A: The life science market is robust right now—so, many! These projects include speculative laboratory opportunities with developer partners across the country, incubator/start-up labs, R&D labs for corporate clients, and higher education projects focused on research spaces.

Q: What kinds of hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?

A: I love to travel and discover new places. I enjoy watching college football and the Kansas City Chiefs, spending time with family and friends, and watching movies.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in your role at CRB? 

A: This is the perfect timing for this question. I recently started the national role of R&D Market Sector lead at CRB and will be guiding our strategic direction around laboratory and workplace design.