Many people know Sheldon Lavin as chairman and CEO of the food processing giant the OSI Group. But this multitalented 86 year old is much more than that. Born in 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression, Lavin has the drive and determination that marks the people raised in this difficult time period. He graduated from three universities, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois and has degrees in accounting, business and finance. Before he became involved in the food industry, Lavin had a successful career as a banker and ran his own Chicago based financial consulting firm for 15 years.
In 1970, Otto & Sons, a meat market based in West Chicago, turned to Lavin for help for the financing they needed to expand. Impressed with the company’s potential Sheldon Lavin got them the money and began buying stock in the company. When the owners of Otto & Sons retired in the late 1970s, Lavin took over the company and changed its name to the OSI Group. Since then he has been on a mission of global expansion. Lavin’s food processing company now has customers in more than 80 countries and 70 food processing plants in almost 20 nations on 5 continents. He has turned the OSI Group into a global food processing enterprise worth several billion dollars.
Sheldon Lavin has expanded the product line of the former meat market to include vegetable, fish, poultry and specialty dough products. Their customers include private label retail outlets, restaurants, supermarkets, food service distributors as well as industrial companies. Now based in Aurora, Illinois, the OSI Group is known for providing innovative food processing solutions to meet their customers’ needs. Sheldon Lavin’s expansion efforts has seen the OSI Group open food processing plants, acquire businesses and develop a customer base of millions throughout Asia and Europe.
Sheldon Lavin’s commitment to proper environmental management policies and practices, the generous benefits package he created for his staff and the family-like culture he has maintained as the company has grown makes the company unique. Sheldon Lavin is focused on more than the expansion and diversification of the OSI Group. He also provides support for Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Sheba Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Chicago and many other groups. Lavin also played a leadership role at the Rush University Medical Center and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.