Case Studies

Pavel Zagula – GRAIL 

Helping find the ‘GRAIL’ for cancer detection 

The important work done by GRAIL employees daily requires ingenuity, dedication, hard work and passion. It also requires state-of-the-art facilities and a comfortable work environment—that is where Pavel Zagula shines.  

Pavel Zagula | Senior Director of Global Facilities | GRAIL 

Pavel Zagula | Senior Director of Global Facilities | GRAIL

As GRAIL’s senior director of global facilities, Zagula orchestrates the smooth functioning of GRAIL’s facilities across the United States and the United Kingdom. Zagula is crucial in ensuring operational excellence. His responsibilities encompass a broad range of critical functions, such as maintaining and enhancing GRAIL’s physical environments to ensure they          are conducive to the company’s innovative cancer detection and care work. 

“My team is responsible for various essential tasks, from daily maintenance and security operations to large-scale infrastructure projects. These projects aim to ensure that GRAIL’s facilities are state-of-the-art and compliant with the highest reliability and safety standards,” Zagula explains.  

Zagula’s strategic oversight ensures that every project aligns with GRAIL’s mission and operational needs. His leadership in facilities management directly supports the company’s ability to innovate and excel in the highly competitive field of early cancer detection.  

In addition to managing existing facilities, Zagula’s role involves forward-thinking planning and executing future infrastructure needs. This includes assessing and implementing the latest technologies and best practices in facility management, ensuring that GRAIL remains at the forefront of innovation in its research and operational capabilities.  

“Our comprehensive approach to facilities management is a testament to our company’s commitment to excellence and our deep understanding of the crucial role a well-maintained and advanced physical environment plays in supporting scientific and technological innovation,” Zagula adds.  

Improving facilities with innovation 

Zagula’s expertise in facility management is evident in his transformative projects at GRAIL. He contributed to the addition of state-of-the-art office space at the Research Triangle Park facility in Raleigh/Durham. This infrastructure expansion has enabled GRAIL to build its commercial processing capacity to meet the growing demand for the Galleri® test, a multi-cancer early detection test that screens for a “fingerprint” of many of the deadliest cancers before they become symptomatic. This 200,000-square-foot space provides scientists with a modern, functional and appealing workspace.  

Pavel Zagula | Senior Director of Global Facilities | GRAIL 

This expansion involves upgrading fully automated labs, modifying utility infrastructure, and installing new systems, such as an in-house RODI water system. These upgrades are vital for maintaining continuous lab operations. 

The commitment to leveraging innovative solutions and maintaining a reliable and compliant infrastructure is crucial in fostering GRAIL’s productive and positive workplace culture,” he says.  

Focusing on people 

Zagula is dedicated to creating a supportive and innovative environment including, overseeing the company’s building infrastructure, real estate portfolio, maintenance, security and environmental health and safety, ensuring that all facilities meet the highest standards. 

Pavel Zagula | Senior Director of Global Facilities | GRAIL 

GRAIL prioritizes its employees, recognizing them as the most vital asset for success. This commitment is reflected in the state-of-the-art office spaces that Zagula helps maintain. These spaces feature open-concept designs, top-tier IT infrastructure, and amenities such as complimentary snacks, company-paid lunches, and flexible time off, all contributing to a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated. 

Zagula leads a team of professionals who manage various aspects of GRAIL’s facilities. Hiring and retaining the best talent is a collaborative process for Zagula. He involves his team in the interviewing and decision-making, ensuring new hires become integral parts of the team from day one. This approach fosters a cohesive and supportive work environment. Zagula believes in training employees well enough to leave but treating them well enough so they don’t want to, echoing Sir Richard Branson’s philosophy. This commitment to development and satisfaction keeps his team motivated and engaged. 

In his role, he frequently encounters unexpected challenges that require constructive problem-solving and adaptability. Despite these challenges, Zagula finds satisfaction in achieving results. He values accountability and trust, which are crucial for earning respect from his team and fostering mutual collaboration. 

“Balancing self-development with a demanding workload has been a recurring challenge throughout my career,” he says.  

Lifelong learning and growth 

Zagula has a distinguished career marked by significant accomplishments in the life sciences industry. His educational background is robust, with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Applied Science Oslo, Norway     and a master’s in biomedical engineering from the University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland. 

Pavel Zagula | Senior Director of Global Facilities | GRAIL 

Zagula’s interest in facilities and facility management stems from his 25-year career. His roles in corporate real estate, engineering, capital project management, manufacturing, and operational excellence have spanned Europe, Asia, and America.  

“This diverse experience gives me a unique perspective on the importance of reliable and compliant facilities infrastructure, essential for fostering innovation and a positive workplace culture,” Zagula explains.  

Joining GRAIL in May 2022, Zagula quickly made an impact, ensuring the company’s facilities meet the highest standards of reliability and compliance and supporting GRAIL’s mission of detecting cancer early when it can be cured. 

On a personal note, Zagula grew up in a family that valued hard work, education, and perseverance—values he and his wife instilled in their three children. Now, the empty nesters focus on hobbies and plans they had set aside, with a favorite travel destination being the Amalfi Coast in Italy. 

Recently certified as a boat captain, Zagula and his family enjoy boating and fishing along the Carolina coast with their dogs. He is also passionate about DIY projects and prides himself on his ability to fix anything around the house, a skill aligning with his professional expertise in facility management. 


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