After a remarkable 15-year career at HERA laboratory planners, Principal Barbara Spitz, AIA, is beginning the transition to the next phase of her life. Starting in 2020 she will slowly wind down her career, moving to part time starting on January 1 and officially retiring on March 31.
Barbara has been a force at HERA throughout her 15 years at the firm. She taught us to think bigger and helped propel HERA to our current stature – an internationally-recognized lab planning firm known for our design as well as our technical abilities. Her vision for HERA, shared by everyone at the firm, is to be the go-to lab planning firm: provide services that will enrich our clients’ experiences, enter markets with a true need for our expertise and embrace the special skills and knowledge we bring to our projects.
In physical terms, Barbara helped cement our presence in Philadelphia and throughout the Northeast. In psychological terms, she helped push us to be our best selves.
Look at science labs around the country and you’ll see Barbara’s fingerprints everywhere. Signature projects during her tenure at HERA include the Lehigh University Science/Environmental Building, Germantown Friends School Sustainable Urban Science Center and most recently the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Agricultural Sciences Center that will open in October 2020. She also developed and grew our clinical and public health markets, filling a unique niche in healthcare architecture by focusing specifically on the planning of clinical labs to ensure they operate at optimal efficiency.
“Back in 2004 we were introduced to Barbara through a colleague. She was considering starting her own firm at the time. We met and just clicked. We didn’t set out to add a Philadelphia office, but there was no way we could pass up the opportunity to hire her,” said HERA President Laurie Sperling, M.Arch, LEED AP, CPSM. “You know the rest. She joined the firm and helped take HERA to new heights.”
Beginning in January, Principal Amy Tongay, AIA, will become the principal overseeing the Philadelphia office, creating a seamless transition for our clients and partners. The key staff – Eva Baker, AIA, Associate, Leila Rzyska-Filipek, Jennifer Kim and Rachel Updegrove – will remain and we continue to look for stellar lab planners to grow our Philadelphia staff.
Barbara’s lasting HERA legacy will be the mentorship and leadership she provided to her colleagues. We are all more attentive architects, strategic marketers and wise planners thanks to her support. We wish Barbara the best as she begins this exciting new stage of her life. To help commemorate Barbara’s extraordinary career, HERA has set up a Women in Architecture Scholarship in her name. Even in retirement, Barbara will continue to guide the careers of aspiring architects and planners.
What’s next for Barbara? Her retirement will give her more time to devote to some of her passions – rowing, volunteering for her favorite nonprofits and traveling.