Mike McLeod has nearly 25 years of professional project management experience in the manufacturing, engineering services, and business consulting industries. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for IPM. Before his current role, Mike held the position Vice President of Operations from 2006 to 2013. In this leadership capacity, Mike has day-to-day accountability for IPM’s service operations and its marketing and business development efforts. Since joining the firm in 1994, he has managed numerous projects and many client relationships, bolstered corporate strategy development, and supported the growth and diversification of the business. Prior to joining IPM, Mike managed projects in the nuclear power and steel industries.
Mike holds Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and earned his Masters of Business Administration degree at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and earned his Project Management Professional certification through the Project Management Institute.
It is not often I take the time to reflect on the journey. I’m frequently too focused on the task at hand or planning for the next challenge. However, this “personal bio” exercise has been a great opportunity to reflect.
My early childhood was spent in a town of about 2,000 people in upstate New York. Having a small family and living far away from extended family meant that my mother, father, sister and I were close-knit. I have great memories of our family camping trips, outdoor explorations, and family meals. Clearly, many of the values I hold today were rooted in those experiences: family, faith, education, integrity, and caring.
Later in my childhood, we moved to a big town of 7,000 people (relatively speaking, of course) in central Wisconsin. When it was time to go to college, the natural decision was to become a Badger at the University of Wisconsin. While pursuing my degree in Chemical Engineering, I participated in a co-operative education program, alternating semesters of school with semesters of work at a steel mill just outside of Chicago, which was clearly a culture shock for a small-town Wisconsin boy! I probably grew more as a professional during those semesters than any other time in my career—I learned to work with differing personalities, build trust with strangers, and influence without authority. Upon graduation, I accepted a design engineering job in the nuclear power industry in the Chicago area. This was a great experience. While it challenged my technical side, it also exposed me to a complex and highly regulated environment. Without knowing it, the seeds for my career-long focus to strategy execution and project management had been planted. I soon circled a “want ad” found in the Chicago Tribune and landed a job with a relatively young Integrated Project Management Company, Inc. (IPM).
During my interviews, I was told (tongue in cheek) there were already too many “Mikes” at IPM, so if I was hired I would be called “Mac.” I politely stated that if they hired me, they could call me whatever they wanted, not knowing that both the company and the nickname would stick for several decades and counting. While navigating a career in consulting and operations management at IPM, I decided there wasn’t enough going on, so I married my college sweetheart, obtained my MBA from Northwestern, and had two beautiful children.
My wife, simply put, is awesome. Her inner strength and grace inspire me. She is also the most supportive and caring friend anyone could have. Having kids, not surprisingly, has been life changing, wonderfully challenging, and a great source of personal growth. My son has taught me the power of determination, patience, and attitude. If being born with Down syndrome didn’t present enough unique challenges, he also waged a successful three-year battle with leukemia. Seeing his spirit triumph time and time again has made an indelible imprint on my perspectives of life, love, and the power of perseverance. My daughter is equally wonderful. She is incredibly compassionate and loves to laugh. She has taught me to find even greater joy in caring for others, and she always finds a reason to laugh and have fun. As with many parents, my primary “hobby” these days is shuttling them around to their respective activities. However, when I do get a bit of free time, I enjoy cycling and photography.
Professionally, my current focus is ensuring IPM continues to serve its clients and its employees impeccably, allowing us to grow and grow right. Leveraging the lessons learned of my past, I endeavor do this with integrity, determination, and compassion, while finding many reasons to laugh along the way.