One million square feet spread over eight buildings, multiple floors and housing everything from laboratories to lounges. Christine Panelli is getting to know all of BioSci’s nooks and crannies as the School’s new director of facilities. Her role is to ensure the physical plant helps BioSci achieve its mission while providing “a great environment on a daily basis.”
Panelli, who joined BioSci in late August, is the intermediary between BioSci and campuswide UCI Facilities Management. Her mandate is multifold: making sure space is used to its best purpose; planning and overseeing physical improvements and new building projects; and keeping maintenance and repairs on track. BioSci’s scope as well as its size add to the complexity. “Every building is unique,” Panelli said. “Wet labs, dry labs, classrooms, meeting rooms, offices and more. They each have their own character.”
She comes to BioSci from JLL, a third-party facility management company that serves Google’s operations across the Americas. Panelli was facilities manager for Google’s Irvine and San Diego campuses. Her job included tasks unlikely to be part of her duties at BioSci, including overseeing amenity spaces such as a nap room and budgeting for a golf simulator. But she also worked with Google laboratories, where engineers test sound and other functions for devices including the Pixel phone.
Her position at Google sparked her interest in coming to UCI. “I could see the campus from my office window and I was intrigued,” she said. “I knew UCI is Orange County’s largest employer and through my research, found much longevity among the facilities staff. There is a real feeling of community here and that matters to me.”
In her free time, Panelli likes to go to the beach and ride e-bikes with her husband Mike. She is also learning to play golf. Her work at BioSci is sure to keep her active too, as she assures every square foot is at its best. “My goal is for people to feel great about the buildings they enter every day,” she said.