Sheldon Lavin, OSI Group CEO Invests in People

Otto Kolschowsky, a German immigrant arrived in Oak Park, Illinois in 1909 and started a family meat market. By 1928, Otto & Sons were a thriving local market serving top-of-the-line meats to the locals in the Chicago suburbs. For many years, the locals of Illinois enjoyed Otto & Son’s fresh quality meats.

By 1955 Otto and Sons teamed up with McDonald’s a company just starting out. Otto & Sons cut a deal with McDonald’s. They agreed to supply McDonald’s with quality ground beef patties. However, Otto & Son needed solid funding. They needed an extra hand from investors for growing their business.

In 1970, Sheldon Lavin, owner of his own financial and consulting firm initially agreed to become Otto & Son’s financial consultant. During that time, Levin was established in the banking industry. However, he was about to become successful in meat industry. As an executive and investor, Lavin organized the funding for Otto & Sons. This business relationship grew over the years. Furthermore, the overseas investment markets began to look quite promising.

By 1975, Lavin had partnered with Otto & Sons. In the late 70’s Otto & Sons changed their business name to OSI Group and continued growing with McDonald’s. Additionally, in 1980, one of the original partners sold out of the OSI Group. This decision moved Lavin to the position of controller of half of OSI’s group interest. By now, Lavin was in a full-time partnership position with McDonald’s. Ultimately, after the last OSI partners retired, Lavin’s voting control escalated to 100%.

OSI is known throughout Europe Japan, China, Australia, South America, South Africa, India, the Philippines, and Brazil. Overall, sixteen countries and over 55 facilities are evidence of the growing demand for quality meats.

At the age of 81, Lavin is still servicing various countries with fine protein. Servicing through the McDonald’s system, OSI is the largest protein supplier. Lavin’s strong background in banking and investing played an important role in success. Lavin has an extensive list of his contributions and achievements.

Lavin believes that business thrives when “people first” remains on top of the list as important. The rate of turnover is less because people tend to stick around longer in a fun, family-oriented environment. He cares about people and families. Lavin and his late wife of 55 years raised three children. Mr. Lavin considers all employees as an extension of his worldwide family.

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