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.
President and Owner
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.
Vice President of Operations
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Performance Improvement Coach/Consultant
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.
Performance Improvement Coach/Consultant
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
Performance Improvement Coach/Consultant
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
Leadership Associate and Executive Coach
Sara Kagarise will help your team realize their goals. She facilitates leadership classes and briefs assessment results and provides executive coaching. Sara focuses on helping you improve organizational effectiveness through your most valuable asset, your employees.
Sara has 11+ years working in the medical field with experience in patient care, medical education and training, and project management. As a certified Project Manager, Sara has experience organizing and developing educational trainings for medical professionals to improve patient safety. She has traveled all over the U.S. working with a variety of medical providers to develop training opportunities for practitioners.
Sara holds 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. She is also a Certified Executive Coach through the Center for Executive Coaching.
Having a career in medical education has enabled her to have a different view that has fostered her attentiveness to the importance of teamwork, motivation, and organizational effectiveness. Sara has found great interest in the field of industrial and organizational psychology as she has been able to develop a deeper understanding behind the motivation of individuals in the workplace, the characteristics of a strong leader, and the implications of organizational culture and effectiveness.
Sara is originally from Covington, VA and has lived in Roanoke for the past 13 years. She enjoys anything outdoors and loves spending time with her husband and fur-babies.
Training Materials Specialist
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.