W. 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, D.C. Branum was often the principal executive to interact with clients, colleagues say.

Branum also is a former assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla and is a veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, retiring with the rank of captain.

Branum valued pragmatism during down periods in construction and personally advised younger managers on success in a tough economy, says Thomas D. Boogher, PSI executive vice president. PSI ranks at No. 65 on ENR's list of the Top 500 Design Firms, claiming $188.4 million in revenue for 2010.