Our Story

Imperative Product Ops was founded in July of 2016 to provide targeted, lean, and impactful support to our clients, leveraging applicable skills and experience in Product, Process and Business Operations to help move them from where they are to where they need to be.

The company expanded in March 2017, merging with other like-minded professionals to become the partners we are today. This enabled us to offer more services, additional industry specific expertise, and greater bandwidth to service our clients.


Our Approach

You have challenges, and constraints. Lots to figure out and then make happen. Not a lot of time, or the right expertise. We get that. You don't need someone to do a study, make a "Here's what you need" slide deck, and walk out the door.

You need real solutions -  understandable and ready to implement. The solutions need to be robust, the details must be managed, and desired results require proper execution. This requires thoughtful expertise and the resources to get it done, and that's what we do.

We provide experienced know how, an eye for what could go wrong, and some extra hands to help turn the wrench. Our deliverables aren't slide decks, they're results.

Imperative Product Operations Leadership Team


Jim Lewis

Managing Partner, Founder

Jim is an experienced leader with 30 years of delivering positive results – in Product Management / Development, Process Engineering, Manufacturing Operations, Project Management, Quality, and Continuous Improvement. He has managed projects for device and application development, product launches and global production. His knowledge in developing, deploying and improving products and systems across many industries has resulted in increased revenue opportunities, cost avoidance and restored customer relationships. Jim is also a practitioner of World Class Manufacturing (Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma), and a certified Product Manager.

Originally from upstate NY, Jim studied Industrial Engineering at SUNY, and migrated to NC in 1996.

Ricardo Schleske


thumbnail_Ricardo pic

Ricardo has vast experience working for Fortune 100 companies (IBM / Hitachi) and SMB / start-up companies, where he has held several key managerial positions, leading Global Sales and Business Development organizations.

In his early stages he led cross-functional, inter-divisional teams, to support the launch of the IBM Personal Computer, and developed the infrastructure of a $1B IBM worldwide storage distribution channel. He also spent 20+ years in Silicon Valley, CA, as IBM Program Director of global sales and business development of mid-range systems and storage components, leading teams to launch and sell new offerings into the IBM distribution channel and managing key C-level relationships, selling to key large global OEM direct accounts and distributor partners.

Ricardo holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering with minor in Business Administration, from Monterrey Institute of Technology and a Master’s in Industrial Engineering, from Georgia Institute of Technology, and is fluent in Spanish.

Bob S

Bob Schmedding


For 25 years, Bob has performed in a variety of progressive roles in the manufacturing and operations arenas, including plant and operations management, quality management, continuous improvement, and product and process engineering.   He’s worked with both US and international teams in consumer products, food packaging, automotive and tobacco sectors.  He has a strong Lean and Continuous Improvement background and has helped companies with redesigning both plant floor and office business processes.

Bob grew up in central Pennsylvania and earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.  He also earned his MBA from Cleveland State University.  He has also been trained as a Six Sigma Green Belt as well as extensive hands-on experience with in Lean and Toyota Production System methodology.