Hays recognized by national institute with lifetime achievement award

Steve M. Hays (BE’73), chairman of Nashville-based architectural, environmental, health and safety consulting firm Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc., received the 2012 Mortimer M. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award Jan. 9 from the National Institute of Building Sciences at a banquet during the organization’s annual conference Jan. 7-11 in Washington, D.C.

Hays, a certified industrial hygienist, is the second recipient of the merit-based award, which was announced by the institute in September 2011 and named in honor of NIBS founding member Mortimer Marshall. The inaugural award was presented to Marshall. The award recognizes members who demonstrate exceptional service to the institute, the board of directors or the organization.

L-R, Institute President Henry L. Green, Steve M. Hays, recipient of the Mortimer M. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award; and Chairman RK Stewart. (Jocelyn Augustino/Courtesy of the National Institute of Building Sciences)

Hays accepted the institute’s highest honor from NIBS Chairman RK Stewart. “Steve’s passion for the work of the Institute is evident in all that he does for the Institute and the building community, as well as in his practice. His preparation for board meetings, his insightful comments and calming guidance over the years has provided focus for the organization to achieve the goals of the Institute,” said Stewart.

Congress established the non-profit institute in 1974 to serve as an interface between government and the private sector, and to support advances in building science and technology. NIBS is directed by a 21-member board of directors; 15 are elected and six are appointed by the President of the United States subject to the approval of the Senate.

Hays has been active with the organization since 1980. In 1995 he was appointed by President Clinton and approved by the Senate to a position on the institute’s board. He served as a director for 17 years, and he was vice chair and chairman of the board for one year each.

Hays is the longest serving NIBS board member. He also served a number of years on the institute’s Consultative Council, and on numerous project committees. Hays currently serves on the strategic planning committee. Notably, he has chaired or served on every Strategic Planning Session since his appointment to the Board.

“The work with NIBS has been some of the most important and interesting of my career,” Hays said. “It has been my distinct privilege and honor to serve with the Institute.”

Hays’ background is in building systems, the chemical industry and he is experienced in dealing with hazards of the built environment. “NIBS has produced state-of-the-art guidance documents to help prevent peoples’ exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos, lead and radon.  The institute also has provided guidance on a host of other issues, such as building design in high-risk seismic areas, green building design, sustainable building design, and many more important building science issues,” said Hays, who is a licensed professional engineer in nine states, as well as in Ireland.

Before joining the Gobbell Hays in 1978, he served as senior engineer at E.I. DuPont Company. His experience includes mold assessment and remediation in healthcare, commercial and educational facilities, as well as private residences. Hays has co-authored two books, “Settled Asbestos Dust Sampling and Analysis” and “Indoor Air Quality Solutions and Strategies,” 50 articles and papers and given more than 130 presentations at conferences and seminars.

Hays graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1973 with a degree in chemical engineering. He currently serves on the School of Engineering’s Committee of Visitors. He was an Engineering Alumni Council member for 12 years, serving as president from 1995-1997.

In addition to his many roles with NIBS, Hays has served as vice chairman of the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board, president of the Environmental Information Association, and president of the Consulting Engineers of Tennessee. He is a fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and of the American Council of Engineering Companies.