Billion Dollar Dream to be Focus of Annual Cheatham Lecture

PULLMAN, Wash. — Vani Kola, former chairman and chief executive officer of RightWorks Corp., a leader in e-procurement software, will discuss “The Billion Dollar Dream: How to Start a Company from Scratch” at Washington State University’s 2001 Robert A. Cheatham Engineering Management Lecture.

The event is set for 4 p.m. April 27 in Todd Hall, Room 216.

Kola founded RightWorks in 1996 to provide a way for businesses to buy from each other over the Internet. She is recognized as a visionary in reforming procurement processes. When she sold her majority share in the company in 2000, it had 250 employees and was valued at more than $1.25 billion.

She is now managing partner at nthOrbit. The company provides support for early stage companies, assisting them with technology development, management expertise and seed funding. She also mentors other entrepreneurs in young companies.

Before founding RightWorks, Kola held senior engineering and technical management positions at Consilium Inc. and Empros, a division of Control Data Corp. She earned a master’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India.

The Robert A. Cheatham Engineering Management Lecture series was established to honor the late WSU alumnus and a key player in the WSU Foundation’s establishment. Cheatham was an engineer and corporate manager with Bechtel Corp.