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.

MIKE LEIGH

President

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MIKE LEIGH

President

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.

JEFFREY GREGORY

Director of Continuous Improvement

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JEFFREY GREGORY

Director of Continuous Improvement

Jeffrey is a Mentor who partners with executives and entrepreneurs to improve their P&L. After more than 20 years working in manufacturing for multimillion-dollar brands, Jeffrey knows what truly drives material flow, productivity,and quality at the source—and it’s not chasing the project or problem of the week. It’s how well you connect with your customers and then communicate their needs to your employees. It’s about converting voice of the customer into actions/processes which deliver a predictable, acceptable result. Having been VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer in prominent manufacturing companies, Jeffrey certainly understands the value of developing your teams. With more than 25 years of experience Jeffrey has been involved in Lean and Leadership activities in operations, maintenance, quality, Information Technologies and has full P&L management experience.

Jeffrey has achieved results in the automotive industry leading to the Maintenance Excellence Award. He has obtained his Lean Manufacturing Certification as well as Total Productive Maintenance. Jeffrey is a Six Sigma Black Belt with certifying projects totaling more than $1M in annual cost reduction. Jeffrey has proven results reducing labor by more than $1.7M in one mainstream Cabinetry company, 36% productivity improvement in HVAC industry and more than $1.5M in inventory reduction using proven material flow processes.

Real change starts at the top and Jeffrey works with clients to create a culture of continuous improvement. Working with leaders and associates at all levels gains understanding of the current state to develop a strategy for the future.

Lois James headshot

LOIS JAMES

Director of Leadership Development

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Lois James headshot

LOIS JAMES

Director of Leadership Development

Lois has 28+ years’ business and management experience in the financial, customer service, and senior healthcare industries. She started her career in the secondary mortgage market with Freddie Mac in McLean, VA where she was responsible for reconciling accounts with government regulated reporting criteria. She held leadership positions with Freddie Mac to develop, train, and coach new employees to follow mandated guidelines.

Moving back to the Roanoke area in 2004, she has spent 14 years in the senior healthcare industry holding various leadership and management positions including her most recent position of Regional Director with Generation Solutions. The company won several local and statewide awards during her tenure and had a zero-deficiency rating with the required state inspection.

With a strong passion and desire to help others achieve both professional and personal success, giving back to her community is very 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 and has also served as 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. Needless to say, she is an avid VA Tech fan and supporter and she loves to spend time with her faithful dogs.

BEATRICE CASTELLANI

Lean & Leadership Associate

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BEATRICE CASTELLANI

Lean & Leadership Associate

Beatrice Castellani is a Lean and Leadership associate at OpX Solutions. With a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and five years of experience in management consulting, Beatrice helps manufacturers develop their Lean Transformation strategy, lead Kaizen events, and implement process improvement solutions.

Beatrice comes to OpX Solutions after working as a Lean consultant for JMAC Europe, a Japanese management consulting firm based in Milan, Italy. There, she supported multiple projects in manufacturing, services, and retail, and led the opening of a new training program in her hometown.

During Beatrice’s career, she began to realize how essential excellent leadership development is to the successful implementation of process improvement strategies. She believes in the human aspect of change and the activation of people as the engine for continuous improvement.

DAN DOWDY

Leadership Associate

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DAN DOWDY

Leadership Associate

Dan Dowdy brings his vast experience to your team when he facilitates our LMI leadership training.  Dan has facilitated programs with OpX Solutions since 2013. He is a nationally-certified LMI facilitator. 

Dan was previously an associate professor of business with Mary Baldwin College (now Mary Baldwin University) for 20 years. He taught courses in strategic management, organizational behavior, human resource management, and management and marketing principles. 

Prior to his collegiate profession, Dan owned and managed an executive recruiting company in Roanoke, and he held plant, division, international, and corporate positions with a Fortune 100 company.

Dan is a US Air Force veteran. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and German from Lynchburg College and an M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii. Giving back to his community is important to Dan.

He helped develop the Roanoke Valley Interfaith Hospitality Network (now Family Promise of Greater Roanoke) and served as the founding board president. He is a member of the Roanoke/Blacksburg Technology Council. He has served on Roanoke Chamber of Commerce committees and in leadership positions at Christ Episcopal Church.

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.

SARA KAGARISE

Leadership Associate

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SARA KAGARISE

Leadership Associate

Sara Kagarise will help your team realize their goals.  She facilitates leadership classes and briefs assessment results.  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.

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 furbabies.

JENNIFER LEIGH

Office Manager

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JENNIFER LEIGH

Office Manager

Jen Leigh will help you with setting up any assessments as well as be your contact for invoicing. She is the key person on our team who keeps the office running smoothly.

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 setting up our LMI organizational assessments and classes.

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 has served as a vestry member of St. John’s Episcopal Church and is a founding member of Women at the Well, a St. John’s ministry devoted to helping women in the Roanoke community develop closer bonds, while also giving back to women and children in need.

Samantha Leigh

Voice-Over Artist and Script Editor

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Samantha Leigh

Voice-Over Artist and Script Editor

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.”
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.”

TOM WALKER

Lean and Leadership Associate

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TOM WALKER

Lean and Leadership Associate

Tom Walker implements Lean manufacturing techniques, such as Kaizen and 5S projects. He will help you reduce your maintenance down time, equipment failure, lower the cost of manufacturing, and make higher quality products.

Tom spent 33 years with DuPont, holding various engineering and supervisory positions. In the DuPont Engineering group, Tom became a recognized Lean expert at helping DuPont’s businesses worldwide improve their revenues, resulting in over $100M in savings.

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 has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Memphis, is certified as a Maintenance and Reliability Professional, and as a Reliability-Centered Maintenance facilitator.  Tom also earned a Six Sigma Green Belt.

Tom is married and has 3 children. He volunteers with the Men’s group at his church in raising money for their youth group through chicken BBQ and Brunswick stew sales, as well as, supporting homeless families in the Richmond area.  For the past 6 years, Tom has also been a mentor and life coach to an at-risk youth who was removed from his home and public schools due to abuse and behavioral problems.

DICK WILLIS

Digitization Coach

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DICK WILLIS

Digitization Coach

Dick Willis can help you right-size your systems, by asking questions and listening to what is said as well as what is not said.  Because culture is as least as important as technology, he will help you clarify what the real problems are and works alongside you to make those technical and cultural changes happen.

Dick has a broad background in Engineering, Project Management and human-centered problem-solving.  His education is in Mechanical Engineering (he holds a master’s degree from MIT) but has always focused on the human element as a key part of any manufacturing “solution”.

He has worked for over 20 years in industrial systems integration, tool-building and problem-solving.  His customers range from mom-and-pop print-shops to Fortune 100 multi-national automotive manufacturers.

A servant leader and gifted teacher, Dick has served on many civic boards in Roanoke, VA, has served as Youth Director for the Episcopal Diocese, currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Roanoke City Public Schools, and was recently ordained in the Episcopal Church and serves as a Deacon in the Roanoke Convocation.  He has been married to the same, patient woman for over 30 years, and both of his adult children are gainfully employed and no longer live at home, for which he is blessed and grateful.

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