Steve M. Hays, 66, founding partner and chairman emeritus of the Nashville based Gobbell Hays Partners (GHP) Environmental + Architecture firm, died Thursday after an extended illness. For more than 30 years, Hays, a chemical engineer, was known nationally for identifying and safely mitigating hazards related to asbestos, mold and lead-based paints in buildings. Hays and architect Ron Gobbell joined forces in 1978 and soon began specializing in environmental management and abatement engineering. By the 1980s, their firm had made a national name for itself for asbestos removal and indoor air quality consulting work. “Steve was a true pioneer in merging indoor environmental issues with architecture,” said Gobbell. “He could take complex scientific issues and deal with them in terms of buildings, like schools, hospitals and hotels.” With this unique expertise, the firm’s client base quickly became international, with projects everywhere from Anchorage, Alaska, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Hays was widely honored for his work, including the 2012 Mortimer M. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Institute of Building Sciences. Hays earned his Bachelor of Engineering and Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and was inducted into the school’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2013. He is survived by a daughter Diana Hays, and sister, Connie Richardson, who is CFO of GHP.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.  A memorial service will be held at Scarritt Bennett’s Wightman Chapel, Oct. 15 with visitation at 2 p.m. and service at 3.

Article Originally Published by USA Today-Tennessee