He spent most of his professional life at Bata’s University Zlin as a teacher but also conducting research. Apart from scientific work on footwear for people with diabetes, he was interested in shoe history. Together with his team he was able to create replicas of the 5000-year-old Alpine Mummy (Ötzi) and was nominated for the Top 100 discoveries of the year 2003. He also conducted the Terracotta Warriors’ Footwear research (2006–2009) as part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage.

In 2005, Hlavacek received a prestigious award of the International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians (UITIC) for his work for technological development of the shoe industry.

As the UNIDO Leather Panel Member he coorganised UNIDO Leather Panel in Zlin (2000) and actively participated several UNIDO Leather Panels.

“His positive, constructive approach, and his commitment, integrity and competence, set standards hard to maintain,” commented Ivan Král, Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO. “Petr Hlavacek leaves behind an amazing legacy and for that he will be always fondly remembered.”