Tony Fox (MBA ’08) joined MeadWestvaco (MWV) as Senior Leader of Operational Excellence in June of this year. Prior to transitioning to MWV, Fox had worked at Honeywell for the past seven years, and his most recent role was as Operating System Deployment Leader.

Fox started at Honeywell as a Production Engineer in 2003 after graduating from Penn State University where he got his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. In October of 2004, Fox changed plant locations and assumed the role of Process Engineer. Less than three years later, he was promoted to Area Leader within the organization, largely due to his understanding and implementation of Lean manufacturing practices. Fox cites David Mann’s book, Creating a Lean Culture: Tools to Sustain Lean Conversions, as the basis for his knowledge of Lean.

“I applied most of the techniques from Creating a Lean Culture in my area. We had great results, and I believe this was an important reason why I ended up being selected as Honeywell Operating System Deployment Leader [in January 2009],” Fox said.

Fox also sees his Richmond MBA degree as catalytic in his ability to move up through the ranks at Honeywell and ultimately being selected for his current position at MWV.

“The Richmond MBA actually helped me position myself for the Area Leader position; the fact that I was pursuing my MBA degree was a big help. In my organizational behavior courses, finance courses, and accounting courses, I learned things that I would be doing as an Area Leader,” he said.

Looking back on his selection as Senior Leader of Operational Excellence at MWV, Fox sees his MBA degree as the tipping point for this decision: “I imagine, if I talked to the recruiter who interviewed me at MWV, my MBA degree was probably a big reason why I was a candidate for this position,” he said.

In his role as Senior Leader of Operational Excellence, Fox travels approximately two weeks out of each month to run training and improvement events incorporating Six Sigma, Lean, Total Productive Maintenance, and Operational Excellence programs at MWV’s plants across the United States and Europe.

“People I talk to and work with are excited about Operational Excellence and the tools we teach. Working in the plants and partnering with our employees to make our operations more productive is really satisfying,” Fox explains.

When he’s not traveling or at MWV’s Richmond office, Fox enjoys spending time with his family, and he stays active in The Richmond MBA Alumni Society. The MBA Alumni Society has provided an outlet for Fox to stay connected with the program and meet other MBA graduates within the community.

“The education [in The Richmond MBA] is first-rate. What I’m finding is I’m getting more and more out of the MBA program the more I keep in touch with fellow grads, the Alumni Society, and attend MBA events on campus,” Fox said.

Fox has two daughters, Caitlin and Valerie, and lives in Richmond with wife Jennifer (MBA ’08, R’02) who works as a Senior Associate at Ironworks Consulting.