MEET OUR CONSULTANTS
Consultation is an essential factor in the successful fitting of contact lenses. For this reason, X-Cel has put together a staff of consultants that are unsurpassed in the industry.
Greg Ogdan (Dayton, OH) started in the industry in July of 1974 with Gem City Contact Lens Lab, a privately owned local lab. He continued, as manager and consultant when the lab was purchased by Soderberg Inc. in mid 1976. Greg has attended many continuing education courses over the years. He has also been accredited as a continuing lecturer in Ohio. Greg sat for his NCLE certificate in November of 2006 and was accredited at that time. He has been consulting for 35 years.
Vicki Rippe (Bellevue, WA) started in the industry working for Ocular Contact Lens in 1987 as a Customer Service Rep. After 2 years she was promoted to Office Manager. Following her interest in consultation, Vicki became NCLE certified in 1994. In September 2000, Vicki became a part of X-Cel through acquisition and accepted the Branch Manager position.
Phone: (800) 426-6241
John Southworth (Minneapolis, MN) started his optical career right out of high school. He worked in a retail optical lab working with glass lenses. After his military service, he started working as an apprentice dispensing optician and has been a certified dispensing ophthalmic optician for many years, and still keeps his certification up to date. He managed a multiple ophthalmology optical shop for ten years prior to starting as a dispensing optician for Soderberg in 1987. He started his contact lens career managing the contact lens lab in St. Paul, MN in 2001. He learned the entire laboratory process of manufacturing GP contact lenses by working as manager/lab tech until he moved over to the Minneapolis office in 2006. He now manages all three Soderberg contact lens offices, which are located in Oak Creek WI, Dayton OH, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul office. John is NCLE certified.
Phone: (877) 633-0300 Dayton, OH
Phone: (800) 736-9339 St. Paul, MN
Avis Taylor (Atlanta, GA) started her career in the contact lens industry as an assistant in an optometry practice. Among other things, she conducted contact lens checks, pre-tested patients, and dispensed prescriptions. In 1996, Avis joined X-Cel as a Customer Service Rep and a Team-leader/Jr. Consultant. Avis obtained her NCLE certification in November 2001 and joined the X-Cel Consultation Team in November 2001.
Phone: (800) 241-9312
Shelton Sawyer (Ideal Optics/Atlanta, GA) started his optical career in 1975 in lens manufacturing at Ideal Optics. In a few years time he was promoted first to Lab Manager and then Vice President of Ideal Optics. His responsibilities expanded to include fitting consultation he and earned NCLE certification in the early 1980’s. He has been an approved speaker/trainer for NCLE continuing education classes and specializes in difficult lens designs. Currently Shelton is the Branch Manager and main consultant at Ideal Optics which joined Walman/X-Cel at the start of 2007.
Phone: (800) 554-7353
Pam LeCroy (Atlanta, GA) started her optical career in 1989 assisting accounts in lens design and customer service. In 1991, she worked with an optometry practice, acquiring clinical experience with patients while pre-testing and dispensing contact lenses and glasses. In October of 1993, Pam came on board with X-Cel, assisting the consultation team as a lens designer while training to be a consultant. She has achieved various skill levels including completion of NCLE certification in May of 1996. Pam has been consulting for X-Cel since February of 1996.
Phone: (800) 241-9312
Mike Nolan (Vista, CA) started his career in 1985 with X-Cel Atlanta as a lab technician. In 1987, he was transferred to California to set up a manufacturing and soft lens distribution facility to service West Coast accounts. In 1995, he was promoted to Branch Manager. Mike handles consultation including the design of all proprietary lens designs.
Phone: (800) 342-2724
James Rockwell (Westcon) started his contact lens career in 1980 at a start up soft lens company, Optech Inc. in Englewood Colorado working in the manufacturing. From there he was hired to a small local GP lab in Grand Junction to add in soft lens manufacturing and acquire FDA approval at which time Westcon was formed. Jim has worked in manufacturing, regulatory, product design and customer service. In 2002 he earned his NCLE certification and fitting consultant has been his primary position since that time.
Phone: (800) 346-4303
Bob Drake (Minneapolis, MN) started his optical career in 1985 as a frame stylist with Lens Crafters. Then moved to Pearle Vision in 1986 to become an optician and was promoted to area trainer in 1988 teaching basic optics and product knowledge. In 1992 he was promoted to store Manager until he made the move to join the Walman team in 2004 to become manager of P.C. Optical Products. In January 2005 he took on the duties of managing X-Cel Contacts in Minneapolis. He received his NCLE (National Contact Lens Examiners) certification in November 2004.
Phone: (800) 926-6822
Krista Mitlo (Pittsburgh, PA) started her career in December 1994 as a Customer Service Representative with Aire-Con labs. When X-Cel acquired Aire-Con in 1999, she was Customer Service team leader. She obtained her NCLE certification in 2003. In May 2005 she accepted the position of Branch Manager Pittsburgh.
Phone: (800) 245-0797
Stephen Thomas (Orlando, FL) started in the contact lens business in 1979 with Professional Contacts in Orlando, Florida. He worked in gas perm manufacturing in various positions at Professional for the next twenty years. In 1998 the company was acquired by Walman Optical and since that time he has worked in the lab, distribution and customer service. He received his NCLE certification in 2007 and has been consulting ever since.
Phone: (800) 432-3838
Larry Egas (Atlanta, GA) started his optical career in 1973 with the manufacturing of rigid spherical and special design contact lenses at Conforma Labs in Norfolk VA. In 1979 he moved to Georgia to help start specialty Contact Lens Co. where he was promoted to Lab Manager. He took a position as Inventory Manager and Fitting Consultant with Syntax Labs (Atlanta) in 1985. After three years he returned to Specialty Contact Lens Co. which was acquired by X-Cel Contacts in 1991. He has been in the Consultation Department since joining X-Cel Contact and received his NCLE certification in 1998.
Bruce Balweg (Bellevue, WA) began his career in the manufacturing lab the summer of 1976 with Ocular Contact Lens. After college, Bruce managed the Ocular lab for a year before he began consulting in 1989. Bruce joined X-Cel through the acquisition of Ocular Contacts Lens in September 2000. In June 2001, Bruce received his NCLE certification.
Phone: (800) 426-6241
Heather Durkee (Orlando, FL) started in the contact lens business in 1996 with Professional Contacts in Orlando, Florida. She worked in gas perm manufacturing checking out lenses, and then in distribution. In 1998 the company was acquired by Walman Optical and since that time she has worked as customer service, then customer service supervisor, and now as Branch Manager. In 2009 she received her NCLE certification.
Phone: (800) 432-3838
Terrie Harden (Baltimore, MD) started her career with X-Cel in 1989 as a Customer Service Representative at the Baltimore Branch. In 1993, she was promoted to Customer Service Manager. Terri successfully completed her NCLE certification in July 2001, and began consulting. She assumed the duties of Branch Manager/Consultant of the Baltimore branch in December 2001.
Phone: (800) 221-9235