While it may be easy to look at fast food restaurants as being run by corporations, one fast food meat supplier OSI Industries really actually believes in running like a locally-owned family business. That’s because their CEO Sheldon Lavin has wanted it to be so. Lavin’s company has been a partner of McDonald’s for 60 years and counting, and one thing they have never wavered from is looking out for their employees. Lavin said he prefers that people call him Shelly as opposed to Mr. Lavin, and he says OSI Group isn’t about just simply giving directives from the top. He actually likes to get out into the company’s meat plants and hear from his managers and employees how things are going.
When people knew Sheldon Lavin over 40 years ago, they probably never would have guessed he’d be as passionate about this company as he is today. He started off in investment banking and then became an independent financial advisor. As the head of his own boutique firm, he was contacted by Otto & Sons, the name that OSI Industries had back then. The current owners hired him on as part-time financial advisor and asked him to help raise financing for a new facility. Upon Lavin successfully doing so, the owners wanted him to come on full-time. McDonald’s also wanted Lavin to take over general operations. Lavin at first didn’t want to because he was committed to finances at his firm. But upon being told what he could grow the company into, Lavin heartily accepted.
Lavin changed the company name to OSI Industries after he began making substantial overseas investments. OSI Group now is located in 17 different countries with over 50 plants. Lavin has led the acquisition of several European and Asian meat distributors, but one thing he’s made a point of is allowing acquired companies to keep their names and everyone on staff. Lavin is also heavily involved in philanthropies around Chicago that include the Jewish United Fund, the Chicago Community Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Foundation. Two awards he’s received for his lifelong work include the North American Meat Institute’s Edward Jones Community Service award, and Vision Academy’s Global Visionary Award.
Learn More: www.rmhc.org/board-of-trustees