BRANUMW. Howell "Hal" Branum, president of Professional Service Industries Inc., an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based engineering and environmental consulting firm, died of a heart attack on July 1 while visiting Denver. He was 69.President since 2000 and, before that, chief operating officer, Branum oversaw the integration of numerous acquisitions as the company grew. Now boasting 125 offices and 2,500 employees, the firm specializes in geotechnical engineering, construction-materials testing and engineering, and industrial hygiene. A 32-year veteran of the firm, he led many of its high-profile projects, including Denver International Airport and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington,
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.