Sheldon Lavin, the CEO and Chairman of OSI Industries is usually busy working with clients on new food specialties such as a new burger put out by a fast food restaurant or a hot new item for supermarket shelves. But he also is well known for philanthropy that he and fellow executive David McDonald take part in both through OSI’s funds and by volunteering in their spare time. Charities that Lavin supports include the Jewish United Fund, the Evans Scholarship Fund, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, The National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Lavin has been active in philanthropy because he wants what OSI Industries does to be bigger than just making money.
Sheldon Lavin may be the leader of a multi-billion dollar company that has reached around the world, but he prefers that it runs more like a local family-owned company just as it was founded. Even though the company is headquartered in Geneva, IL, Lavin has said that it is not just a central place for directives. Lavin and McDonald tend to work close to plant workers and like to have an open door to anyone’s suggestions and ideas. Lavin also makes rewarding employees for their hard work very important, and one thing OSI Industries can be proud of is having workers who tend to stay around long-term.
Sheldon Lavin’s expertise was not in meat processing when he first came to OSI Industries, but instead was in investment advice and financing for big companies. He had gone from investment banking to business consulting when the owners of Otto & Sons, the original name of OSI Industries came to him for assistance in financing construction of one of the company’s first large processing plants. As part of this initial financing deal, Lavin was offered a chance to become an owner in the company. He did not accept this at first because he had planned to stay in financial consulting for the long-term, but he did decide to become more involved with Otto & Sons. He became CEO in the late 1970s after the company started building plants overseas in a joint effort with McDonald’s, and by the early 1980s he then bought the rest of the ownership shares.
Since taking over as CEO, Sheldon Lavin has opened OSI locations in 17 different countries and is currently launching a new operation in the Philippines. Even though most executives over 80 years old would consider retirement imminent, Lavin is still doing what he loves and indicates he’s going to continue until he’s physically unable to do it. Along with awards given to OSI Industries as a whole, Lavin has been honored with the Edward C. Jones Community Service award and the Global Visionary award.
Read More: www.forbes.com/companies/osi-group/