Tackling real-world problems, alumna partners with Auburn Engineering’s 100+ Women Strong and Corporate Relations

By Lauren Winton

Published: May 3, 2020 9:58:00 AM

Rekha Menon-Varma Rekha Menon-Varma

At a time when the future seems uncertain, Rekha Menon-Varma, a chemical engineering graduate, offers solutions. Vertaeon – the business she co-founded – provides assessment tools and mitigation solutions for risk management. More specifically, Varma’s business focuses on enterprise and supply chain risks and sustainable operations.

Her team has an extensive background in operations, data modeling and corporate strategy. Their software tools offer intuitive, web-based platforms for risk assessment and growth opportunity identification, which they subsequently leverage to turn into strategic recommendations.  Understandably, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the globe, Vertaeon was called upon by corporate customers to help.

“In the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, we were assessing how this would impact the supply chain in China. Now, we’re working with our European and US partners to also assess impacts on operations, business continuity and consumer confidence. I’m working on a blog to discuss what the world will look like after this,” Varma said. This follows her recent detailed blogs on trade volatility, published in January 2020.

The risk assessments and recommendations Vertaeon provides are much needed for company operations and supply chains around the world. Varma’s hope is to provide companies with the tools they need to minimize business uncertainty and improve competitive advantage.  

She is also working to provide Auburn Engineering students with the tools they need to successfully prepare for entry and find a footing in the workforce.

“We are in the process of talking with the College of Engineering’s Career Development and Corporate Relations Office. I think this is the right time because, our business model tackles real-world problems that impact today’s global corporations. We have the unique opportunity to engage students and train them as they analyze data and work with us to create solutions,” Varma said.

As a graduate of the chemical engineering program at Auburn, Varma credits much of her problem-solving knowledge to the hard work she put into her degree while in school.

“I found my chemical engineering degree to be very versatile,” said Varma. “I originally went into operations. Applying my background in modeling, an initial focus was on improving product yield without additional capital expenses.  I think my analytical background and engineering degree then helped me grow into a marketing role. This foundation also positioned me for the MBA at The Wharton School of Business and subsequently for corporate development and enterprise risk leadership roles.”

Wanting to make a difference, Varma has started discussions with Career Development and Corporate Relations to create internship opportunities at Vertaeon. As an alumna, Varma will also help future Auburn Engineering graduates find their paths in the workforce by mentoring them through 100+ Women Strong, a program to recruit, reward and retain women in engineering.

 “I have a passion for the mission of 100+ Women Strong,” Varma said. “I identify with the retention part of the mission and want to help these students identify the path they want to take in engineering. I also strongly believe in rewarding engineers who are doing great work.”

Media Contact: Lauren Winton, lmw0090@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

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