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 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.
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.
Lean & Leadership Associate
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
Voice-Over Artist and Script Editor
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 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.