Robert L. "Bob" Nichols, an early proponent of environmental engineering in a 67-year career at Fort Worth, Texas-based water-wastewater design firm Freese and Nichols Inc., including serving as president and vice chairman, died on May 8 in Arlington, says the firm. He was 88.


Nichols joined, in 1948, the company founded by his father but was exposed to its work earlier. "We have pictures of us boys [Bob and brother Jim] climbing up on the riprap" at dams his father engineered, says an online obituary quoting Nichols. "That was the beginning of my interest in engineering. I didn't know there was any other way to make a living." The firm ranks at No. 139 on ENR's Top 500 Design Firms list, with $93 million in 2014 revenue.

Nichols was a past president of the National Society of Professional Engineers and remained an active proponent of engineering ethics until he died.