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Professional Profile: Tzveta Panayotova, LEED AP

Lab Manager speaks to Tzveta Panayotova of HOK

MaryBeth DiDonna

MaryBeth DiDonna is managing editor, events for Lab Manager. She organizes and moderates the webinars and virtual conferences for Lab Manager as well as other LMG brands, enabling industry...

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Tzveta Panayotova, LEED AP, is principal and senior lab planner with HOK. Lab Manager recently spoke with Tzveta 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: My path was rather accidental. After graduating with a master’s degree in architecture, I held a couple different jobs in the architectural design and construction profession. The introduction to laboratory design and planning happened by chance. I initially was asked to help our Science + Technology studio with small projects. This eventually turned into much larger assignments. The world of science and laboratory planning proved to be fascinating, complicated, and challenging. I was lucky enough to be a part of some of our largest international S+T developments and traveled the world completing them.

Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?

A: I compare this to a new puzzle that has to be assembled every day. From facilitating user group meetings to finding building or product solutions, every day at HOK brings something new and exciting. 

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

A: It is often assumed that laboratory planning is not an architecturally related field and is male-dominated. While the latter is still mostly true, the field is changing.

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

A: COVID testing facilities in the U.S. and internationally; Mt. Sinai, environmental testing laboratory renovations, New York City; and a life science laboratory and office fit-out for Sanofi in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in this new position?

A: As a laboratory designer, I hope to facilitate the important work of researchers by creating environments that best serve their needs and foster discovery. I am also interested in mentoring others and helping them discover the inspiring world of science and technology. Advances in life sciences and technological innovation will lead to a brighter future for all of us.