Meet The team

OpX Solutions, LLC is a performance improvement company. We specialize in helping organizations achieve operational excellence through process improvement and leadership development.

Leadership Team


Peter Mierke

Peter Mierke

CEO

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Peter Mierke

Peter Mierke

CEO

When Peter Mierke graduated from the University of South Carolina, he began serving his country in the US Navy. Onboard 2 different ships, his love of leadership was developed and he started to truly understand the actions needed to support his team and help them achieve their goals.

Upon separating from the Navy, Peter joined GE Energy and supported manufacturing, sourcing and logistics of Gas, Steam and Wind turbines through multiple business cycles. He enjoyed learning from a global supply base and experiencing the factors that influenced the power generation industry. While working full-time, he completed his MBA.

Peter moved to Savannah, GA and joined the Mitsubishi Power team while they developed their Western hemisphere presence. He led multiple teams in manufacturing and service/repair of gas and steam turbines in processes such as welding, machining, fabrication, coating and assembly. As Plant Manager, Peter worked directly with Japanese and North American leadership to build, install and commission multiple power plants.

Most recently, Peter has supported the growth of a privately held company supporting wind, solar and other power generation customers in their project management and material deliveries. He established financial and organizational processes aimed at growth and supporting customers in their projects.

Family is the most important thing to Peter, and he enjoys spending time with them on the water boating/fishing, hiking, exercising and even doing yard work! He has visited 6 continents (still needs to get to Antarctica) and looks forward to time with family and friends.

MIKE LEIGH

Founder

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MIKE LEIGH

Founder

Mike Leigh is the President of OpX Solutions, LLC and a Managing Partner with Leadership Management Institute. Mike has 25 years of leadership and management experience, within both government and corporate environments. He began his career as an officer in the US Navy in the late ‘80s, specializing in nuclear propulsion and surface warfare. During a 20-year career spanning both active duty and the reserves, he received several awards and earned numerous qualifications, including certifications as a Navy Nuclear Engineer and a Navy Instructor. Mike retired from the Navy as a Commander in 2008. Following active duty, Mike spent 13 years with General Electric and held various leadership and senior management positions at several different manufacturing sites. During his last five years with GE, Mike was an internal lean consultant and helped over 25 GE factories/suppliers and hundreds of work teams become more productive, reduce costs, and improve their bottom line. Mike learned his skills from Shingijutsu Consultants, considered by many to be the best in the world.

Mike left the corporate world and started OpX Solutions because of his desire to more closely help others achieve success, both in their personal and professional lives, and to be more involved in the Roanoke area. Mike stays active volunteering with several charitable and civic organizations including the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, Military Officers Association of America, and St John’s Episcopal Church. He also enjoys running and triathlons and is an avid Green Bay Packers fan. Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT EXPERTISE

  • 25 years of operational leadership experience as a US Navy Officer (retired Commander) and manufacturing manager.
  • National account certified facilitator with Leadership Management International (LMI).
  • LMI World Growth Leader in 2018 awarded to top LMI business in the world for year over year growth.
  • LMI Americas Facilitator of the Year in 2016.
  • Virginia Small Business Veteran of the Year in 2014 from Virginia Small Business Development Centers.

LEAN PROCESS EXPERTISE

  • Lean practitioner since 2007.
  • Internal Lean consultant with GE for 5 years.  Provided Lean strategy, training and support for 15 different GE factories.
  • 45 weeks of training by mentors from Shingijutsu, considered by many as the best Lean consultants in the world.
  • Facilitated over 300 kaizen improvement teams.
  • Instructor with Virginia Tech Lean Academy.
  • Co-authored book – Practicing Lean.
Lois James

LOIS JAMES

Director of Leadership Development

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Lois James

LOIS JAMES

Director of Leadership Development

Lois has 33+ years’ business and management experience in the financial, customer service, senior healthcare, and leadership development industries. She started her career in the secondary mortgage market with Freddie Mac in McLean, VA where she held leadership positions with Freddie Mac to develop, train, and coach new employees to follow mandated guidelines.

After living in Washington D.C. and Chicago, IL after college, Lois moved back to the Roanoke area in 2004 and spent 14 years in the senior healthcare industry holding various leadership and management positions. Working her most recent position as Regional Director with Generation Solutions, the company won several local and statewide awards and had a zero-deficiency rating with the required state inspection.

Because of her strong passion and desire to help others achieve both professional and personal success, Lois joined OpX Solutions in 2018 and is a Certified LMI Facilitator. Giving back to her community is important to Lois. She has been an active member of the Roanoke Senior Networking Group since 2004 and has served as Vice President since 2006. She is also active with the Roanoke Kiwanis Club where she serves as Membership Chair as well as participating in several other committees. Lois sits on the board with The Market Building Foundation in downtown Roanoke and on the board with the Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce. She is active with the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce where she currently serves as an ambassador. Lois has been a Deacon and a volunteer with various programs at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Originally from the Alleghany highlands in Clifton Forge, VA, Lois graduated from Virginia Tech, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management with a minor in Sociology.

Dianne Ward image

DIANNE WARD

Director of Organizational Development

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Dianne Ward image

DIANNE WARD

Director of Organizational Development

Dianne Ward will support you as a lean practitioner, performance coach, and accountability partner.  Known for her servant leadership approach and her inclusive communication style, Dianne will help inspire motivation that will ignite a positive transformation for your business.

With a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the University of Kentucky, Dianne has devoted her career to the pursuit of continuous improvement.  Dianne is a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation, and she has spent the last 5 years coaching all levels of leaders, including executives in a Fortune 100 company.  Dianne has over 20 years of experience leading teams in the manufacturing, distribution, information technology and insurance sectors.

Dianne is a founding member of the non-profit organization, WE CHARM (Women Everyday Changing Hearts as Role Models) which is dedicated to supporting the empowerment of both women and men.  In her spare time, Dianne enjoys building a homestead lifestyle with her husband.  She also has an interest in music and is currently learning to play several instruments.

Dianne will incorporate her wide scope of experiences and business practices into a practical, relatable, enjoyable learning experience for you and your team.  She looks forward to applying her skills to serve your organization’s core mission and strategic goals.

JENNIFER LEIGH

Director of Administration

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JENNIFER LEIGH

Director of Administration

Jennifer Leigh will be your contact person for all things administrative at OpX Solutions, including corporate and employee assessments, accounts payable/receivable, contracts, and bids, and setting up as a client, employee, or contractor.

Her experience includes education, technical writing, website maintenance, digital and print marketing, and bookkeeping. She currently does all of the above for OpX Solutions as well as fulfills all our HR needs and maintains our corporate certifications such as SVAM and VETBIZ.

Jen has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tampa and a Master of Science Degree in Education from Old Dominion University. She is a founding member of Women at the Well, a ministry devoted to helping women in the Roanoke community develop closer bonds, while also giving back to women and children in need.

Katie Broce

Leadership Associate

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Katie Broce

Leadership Associate

Katie comes to us with over 20 years of experience in customer service from retail, banking, and manufacturing and a degree in Business Management with a focus in Human Resources Management. Starting at a very young age, building relationships with customers and clients has been a driving factor in her success. A top producer with Wells Fargo Bank in not only sales but in client retention was just the beginning of her career achievements.

After leaving Wells Fargo Bank to join the team at Mitsubishi Power Systems, Katie held multiple positions allowing her to gain knowledge of the Manufacturing world before finding her home in Human Resources. There, Katie was able to share her desire to give back to her community and served as the Campaign Chairperson for the company’s United Way fundraiser for 4 years, surpassing its goal each year. Katie also is a graduate of LMI’s EPP and EPL programs facilitated by OpX Solutions.

Katie enjoys spending time with her three sons and husband. Whether it be boating on the river or sitting in the stands of a sporting event, she is always outdoors. She supports her children’s schools through multiple volunteer opportunities and is an active member of her church.

advisors and coaches

John Dawson

Manufacturing Advisor

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John Dawson

Manufacturing Advisor

John Dawson worked at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, KY for 16 years, where the principles and philosophies of TPS were deeply inculcated. This Lean/Continuous Improvement experience has enabled him to be a successful results-driven change agent with a highly competitive, innovative, entrepreneurial global mindset.

With over 15 years of combined leadership expertise in consulting, training, project management and TPS continuous improvement designs, John facilitates his understanding of the organizational structure on all levels to guide and lead others while driving organization culture change from conceptualization to implementation by coaching and mentoring key stakeholders throughout the initiative.

John has driven lean transformation in a spectrum of industries from automotive to healthcare to Oil and Gas. During his tenure at previous businesses, he was successful in creating engaged team environments, which enabled his teams to successfully achieve department and company goals.

John has an Associate of Science in Data Processing from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Capella University and is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

John’s areas of expertise include: Change Management, TPS Philosophies, Group Facilitation, Coaching and Mentorship, Cross Team Collaboration, Lean Processes & Best Practices, Strategy Development and Continuous Improvement.

Keith Deibert

Manufacturing Advisor

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Keith Deibert

Manufacturing Advisor

Keith learned the fundamentals of life and hard work from a local farmer/rancher as a teenager working as a farm hand. A city boy that grew up quickly under the guidance of a “life mentor” that set the stage for learning and responsibility.

Keith enlisted in the US Army after graduation from high school and spent 3 years as an electronic technician repairing a complex ground-to-air missile system. After enlistment Keith enrolled in South Dakota State University and received a degree in Electrical Engineering.

After graduation he took a job as an Electronic Design Engineer working on a variety of technologies including: two-way radio, cell phones, and air-to-ground communications systems. After 10 years in design engineering he was recruited to join the manufacturing department as an engineering manager. A life-altering vocation was awakened: manufacturing. He was quickly promoted to Production Manager with the responsibilities to manage a large number of diverse personnel to support all aspects of the manufacturing operation. A strong mentor helped Keith transition to a leadership role and learn how to drive continuous improvement.

Keith held multiple roles in his career; Plant Manager, Director of Operations, Vice President of Operations, and Director of Corporate Continuous Improvement within the manufacturing industry. During this time he learned the value of the Toyota Production System and Danaher Business System in driving change and improvement across all aspects of the company. Keith soon saw not just the value of the tools but also the ideals of systems thinking.

Keith has spent 12+ years doing consulting work within many industries including manufacturing, healthcare, financial, and government. This diverse background has helped him understand how the same strategies that help manufacturing companies apply to any industry.

Keith’s focus is on driving effectiveness within the entire organization. Getting more output with the same amount of resources increasing capacity using existing resources to create more revenue.

Keith currently resides in Texas, enjoying family and warmer weather (allowing him to ride his bicycle 10 months a year).

Jeff Fuchs

Jeff Fuchs

Manufacturing Advisor

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Jeff Fuchs

Jeff Fuchs

Manufacturing Advisor

Since 2000, Jeff Fuchs has trained, coached, and led the lean transformation of private sector firms, nonprofits, government, and educational organizations. He specializes in operational excellence, Lean Thinking, leadership, team development, change management, and organizational culture.

Jeff has worked across a range of industries including automotive, machining, aerospace and defense, and the solar power and petroleum industries, in roles including plant manager, quality manager, engineering director, and lean champion.

For eleven years, Jeff served as the Executive Director of lean consortium that helps public and private sector organizations build cultures of continuous improvement.  He trained lean tools and methods, facilitated improvement activities, coached leaders, and provided assessment and advice on transformation strategy.

For over ten years, Jeff has taught lean methods to government and community leaders as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Baltimore’s Certified Public Manager Program.  He has designed and delivered lean training programs that have together graduated over 1,500 lean leaders in government agencies and private sector companies.

Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from West Point.  He is a lifelong student of team leadership, a combat veteran of the first Gulf War, and was awarded multiple Bronze Star Medals.  Jeff holds Lean Bronze, Silver, and Gold Certifications.  He has served multiple terms on the AME/Shingo Institute/SME Lean Certification Oversight Committee and is the committee’s Past Chair. For over ten years, he has served as an examiner for both the Shingo Institute’s Shingo Prize and AME’s Excellence Award.  He is the past Chairman of the Maryland Advisory Commission for Manufacturing Competitiveness. He serves on multiple boards, including the Board of Directors of Open Works, a Baltimore community development resource, maker space, and small business incubator.

 

Jim Gambill

JIM GAMBILL

Manufacturing Advisor

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Jim Gambill

JIM GAMBILL

Manufacturing Advisor

Jim worked for GE Energy for over 30 years, progressing through roles of increasing responsibility in Production and Supply Chain. Areas of responsibility included – Stockrooms, Production Control, Inventory Management, Sourcing, Scheduling, Shop Operations, Spare Parts Fulfillment, Materials, and Lean Implementation.

He is an experienced Lean Sensei, driving dramatic results across a diverse mix of businesses. He thrives on implementing TPS concepts to improve business metrics and simplification efforts. He has coached and mentored hundreds of managers and thousands of direct labor on the shop floor using Lean methodology to eliminate waste in physical as well transactional processes. He is an excellent communicator, focusing on team building, and hands-on learning.

Jim has been a consultant for seven years leading companies through their specific challenges. He is experienced and skilled in Lean, DMAIC, Supply Chain, Strategic Sourcing, Root Cause Analysis, and Continuous Improvement. Current projects indicate that many companies are particularly interested in facility Layout and process improvements.

Skills & Expertise:

+ Lean Implementation + Materials Management + Purchasing Manager
+ Lean Training + Master Planning + Inventory Control
+ Lean Projects + Scheduling + Shipping and Logistics
+ Lean Facilities + Project Management + Warehouse / Stockrooms
+ Excellent Communicator + Mentor / Sensei + Effective Team Leader

Dan Hughes

Manufacturing Advisor

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Dan Hughes

Manufacturing Advisor

Dan’s career in manufacturing began at the age of 16 when he went to work for his dad at the plant that he managed. Learning to machine, grind and weld created his passion for manufacturing.

After graduation from Virginia Tech with an Industrial Engineering Degree, he has worked over 40 years in manufacturing environments. Ranging from being a manufacturing engineer to Senior Director of Operations, high production environment to a large job shop environment, to working in a Corporate environment to family owned companies.

His experiences range from being part of teams as a manufacturing engineer, to managing production folks, to being responsible for managing teams in all aspects of operations.

Dan enjoys spending time with his family, home improvement projects, playing and working at the lake, swimming, and hacking the golf ball around the course.

Lisa Hayes

Executive Coach and Leadership Development Facilitator

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Lisa Hayes

Executive Coach and Leadership Development Facilitator

Lisa is an intuitive executive coach, facilitator, and speaker with a talent for guiding leaders through chaos toward clarity and success. Over the past 27 years, Lisa’s career has spanned strategic initiatives in the retail industry with Target Corporation and Best Buy and leadership consulting across various sectors, including finance, healthcare, non-profits, and professional sports.

Lisa leverages a comprehensive toolkit of assessments and methodologies, including certifications in executive and team coaching and proficiency in DISC and EQi assessments, to help clients achieve self-awareness and build habits for long-term success. Recently, she relocated to Savannah, GA, from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, and joined the Savannah Chamber of Commerce to connect and collaborate with local professionals.

Outside of her professional life, she is deeply committed to her family and community service. Known for her love of animals, she has dedicated years to helping rescue animals find new homes. She even started a candle business in MN that donated all profits to local animal rescues. She has continued this passion in Georgia by volunteering with Chatham County Animal Services and a local animal rescue organization.

Sara Kagarise

Sara Kagarise

Executive Coach and Leadership Development Facilitator

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Sara Kagarise

Sara Kagarise

Executive Coach and Leadership Development Facilitator

Sara Kagarise, MA, PMP, PCC, CRP is a seasoned Organizational Psychology Practitioner with over a decade of experience in the training and organizational development space. As a certified coach, she collaborates with leaders to grow and develop themselves and their talent to meet current and future workforce needs.

Sara holds certifications as an Professional Certified Coach, Project Management Professional, and ROI Professional. As an Industrial and Organizational Psychology Practitioner, Sara’s goal is to improve the work environment for an organization’s most valuable asset, its human capital. She loves helping leaders leverage their most authentic and effective self.

Sara holds an A.A.S. degree in Radiologic Sciences from Virginia Western Community College, a B.S in Health Science and Health Administration from Old Dominion University, and a M.A. degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Adler University.

Evagelos Kaldis

Manufacturing Engineering Specialist

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Evagelos Kaldis

Manufacturing Engineering Specialist

Evagelos has over 10+ years of combined manufacturing and mechanical industry experience. He has spent most of his career in engineering roles related to manufacturing across several industries spanning from Consumer Goods, Automotive and Aerospace. He utilizes broad experience and technical expertise across a wide range of approaches and tools to drive continuous improvement.

Evagelos earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He has spent the last few years consulting while enabling and empowering companies to facilitate positive change within their organizations.

He enjoys staying active through various outdoor activities and sports while also spending time with family and friends.

Skills and Expertise include: Manufacturing, Lean Implementation, Continuous Improvement, Project Management, Data Analysis, Sourcing, Supply Chain, Quality Systems, Line Design, Facility Layout

Allan Tsang

Negotiation Coach

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Allan Tsang

Negotiation Coach

Allan Tsang is an experienced negotiation Coach and the founder of 88Owls.com. With over a decade and a half of experience training professionals from around the world, he brings a diverse background to the table. His expertise in negotiations and knowledge of business dynamics enables him to identify and address areas of potential risk or opportunity, providing customized solutions to his clients’ needs.

With close to 1000 companies and thousands of professionals, he has been able to develop a comprehensive understanding of negotiations and deliver successful outcomes. Allan has been  trained and mentored by the world renowned negotiation expert, Jim Camp, author of Start with No and the founder of the CAMP System. He also holds a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution, has delivered workshops with one of his mentors, Gary Noesner, Chief of the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit (Ret.), and has adapted and implemented some of their negotiation tactics and approaches in order to build positive and collaborative relationships in the business world.

As a negotiation coach, Allan provide coaching to a range of clients – from start-ups to multi-billion-dollar companies, Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies, and Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For”. His coaching style is characterized by a no-nonsense approach that enables his clients to get the best possible results from their negotiations. Additionally, he has guided negotiations against companies such as Google, PepsiCo, Verizon, Northrop Grumman, and Microsoft, equipping them to perform well under pressure in real-world negotiations.

Allan is not only an invaluable asset to executives, but also to those responsible for negotiating high stake deals and team members who need someone in their corner. His expertise in strategic negotiation, conflict resolution, culture and talent development has enabled him to successfully guide organizations during negotiations at all levels. Whether you need help coaching your executives, developing a culture and talent strategy or negotiating complex deals, Allan is the go-to resource for achieving success in any negotiation. With his proven track record and excellent reputation, you can count on him to help you get the most out of your negotiations.

He has been quoted in organizational management textbooks on negotiation, co-authored Negotiation Mythbusters: rethinking everything you know about negotiation, and was featured in several regional business publications on negotiation. With Allan’s help, clients are able to better understand the complexities of negotiations, develop negotiation plans tailored to their specific objectives, and ultimately close deals that will benefit everyone involved.

Tom Walker

Tom Walker

Manufacturing Advisor

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Tom Walker

Tom Walker

Manufacturing Advisor

Tom started his career with E. I. DuPont in Victoria, Texas as a manufacturing engineer. He worked at several locations during his 33 years with DuPont, holding various engineering and supervisory positions.

In the DuPont Engineering group, Tom became a recognized expert at helping DuPont’s businesses improve their revenues by using Lean techniques to increase production capacity, reduce equipment failures, lower the cost of manufacturing, and make higher quality products. Tom’s efforts with many business units all over the world resulted in over $100M in increased revenues.

Tom developed a root cause methodology for uncovering the cause of industrial accidents and developing solutions that prevented countless injuries and prevented many equipment breakdowns. Tom was known throughout DuPont for his ability to successfully investigate industrial accidents, and to train employees in this root cause analysis technique.

Tom also became proficient in reducing the time required for plant maintenance outages. He was routinely able to reduce outages by 25% or more, while hitting cost and safety goals. He was also typically able to reduce product and retooling changeover times by 50% or more.

After retiring from DuPont, Tom started his own consulting business and applied his expertise in areas such as executive coaching, industrial training in asset management best practices, planning and executing maintenance work more efficiently, and finally, assessing the readiness of petrochemical refineries to start their plant turnarounds.

Tom joined OpX Solutions in early 2017 where he focused on facilitating leadership development classes and implementing Lean manufacturing techniques, such as Kaizen and 5S projects in the Richmond Area.

More recently, Tom worked in the aerospace industry implementing Total Productive Maintenance Best Practices.

Tom has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Memphis.

Tom is married and has 3 children. He recently founded a non-profit organization that helps people overcome challenges to getting jobs when they come out of incarceration or drug abuse programs.


Specialists

SHARON HARRILLA

Workforce Training Specialist

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SHARON HARRILLA

Workforce Training Specialist

Sharon Harrilla brings order to chaos on your manufacturing floor.  She will help your workers understand their challenges and help improve training and training materials. Making connections for the workers on the floor has been the most rewarding aspect of her work.  

Sharon has over 20 years of varied teaching experience and a passion to help others achieve their goals.  She truly embraces the concept of lifelong learning and strives to bring that message to workers, supervisors, and managers.  For every problem there is a solution and the key to all success is in the human relationship that we build with others.

Sharon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Edinboro University and a Master of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College.  Her hobbies include running and traveling.

Sam Leigh

SAM LEIGH

Training Materials Specialist

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Sam Leigh

SAM LEIGH

Training Materials Specialist

Samantha will help you improve your professional media by offering voice-over and editing services for instructional and commercial media. With two audiobooks and multiple training modules under her belt, she proofreads scripts for grammar and clarity as well as provides quality voice-overs to improve instructional or commercial media.
Her previous work includes voicing the audiobook for Practicing Lean and editing instructional video scripts for ChlorKing, OpX Solutions, and Mitsubishi Power Systems. She has also voice acted for the fictional podcasts, ProjectSTELLAR and Castles in the Air.”  More recently she has published the TTRPG book “Anamnesis” as well as other TTRPGs.
Sam is an alumna of Christopher Newport University, where she graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology, and a minor in Writing. Since graduating, she has worked in a variety of research settings. She brings this scientific and psychological knowledge to clients’ media development.

Shane Leigh

Systems & Support Specialist

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Shane Leigh

Systems & Support Specialist

Shane Leigh will assist in organizing and presenting your data in an easily digestible and modifiable format, allowing for a vast and detailed understanding of crucial information.  Using Microsoft Power BI, he can create dashboards displaying any kind of information you wish to help analyze trends and identify previously unknown issues in inventory, payroll, sales, job sites, scheduling, and more.  User-friendly dashboard controls allow you or your employees to filter, sort, and drill down into data to get the answers you need.

Shane graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in digital humanities.  His experience includes Power BI work for Piedmont Airlines and EZ Mobility Solutions, web testing for Advanced Logic Industries, and various cybersecurity and cryptographic programming work for the U.S. National Security Agency.

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