Outright refusal

Carol Latham’s path to success has been anything but conventional.

When her bosses at Standard Oil told her in 1989 they weren’t interested in supporting her research into high thermal conductive materials, she left the company and went off on her own.

Few people backed her fledgling firm, Thermagon, so Latham poured every dime she had into the idea and worked out of her home. With no customers, no money and no product ready for market, Latham could have given up and resumed her career as a research chemist. But she didn’t.

In 1992, when she finally had a prototype product and no one in North America was interested, she turned her sights overseas and, with a little help from Intel, broke into the Southeast Asian technology market with a bang.

Since then, Latham’s products, which disperse heat in electronic equipment, have become a staple in laptops, computer processors and telecommunications equipment worldwide. Her company has grown from a seed idea into a well-established business with more than $20 million a year in revenue.

Along the way, Thermagon has been named one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing, privately held companies in the nation; honored for its commitment to the inner city of Cleveland; and received national attention for its groundbreaking products.

Latham herself has been honored as Business Woman of the Year in Northeast Ohio, inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, honored by SBN with a Visionary Award at the Innovation in Business Conference and asked to speak about Thermagon and its unique innovations. Last year, Latham was part of an exclusive group that gathered at Harvard University to discuss the importance of e-business and its future implications upon the economy.

While Thermagon is not in the business of e-business, its products are at the very core of many e-business solutions. And, as processor speeds continue to increase, Thermagon’s products will become even more important to dispersing heat than ever before.