Vann earned his degree in chemical engineering from KU in 1969, and started his career with Humble Oil and Refining Company, which became Exxon in 1973. He rose through technical and managerial ranks, until moving to Koch Industries in 1979.
Vann spent a quarter of a century in various leadership roles at Koch Industries, serving as a driving force behind one of the largest and most profitable private companies in the United States. He led several key initiatives for the company – including Charles Koch’s development of Market-Based Management®, an effort that helped the company significantly out-perform the S&P 500.
Vann maintained close ties to KU throughout his professional life. He has served on the School of Engineering Advisory Board since 2000. He was inducted to the university’s Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2008, he created the Vann Family Future Leaders Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to a handful of incoming freshmen with evidence of leadership activities and potential. He and his wife, Barbara, reside in The Woodlands, Texas. They have four children and nine grandchildren.