Sheldon Lavin has been with OSI Group for over 40 years and with him came a vision for growth and expansion that in many ways grew out of his time as a financial advisor. After a background in accounting, business and finance that he gained during his college career, Sheldon went to work for his own consulting company Sheldon Lavin & Associates. In 1970 he found himself being recruited by the sons of OSI Group founder Otto Otto Kolschowsky to join their food processing operation that was already servicing big food accounts such as McDonald’s. Sheldon pushed the brothers to expand OSI Group and this led to global expansion starting in the 1970s. Sheldon first became the third partner in the company in the 70s, then half partner when one of the Kolschowsky brothers retired, and finally, he gained 100 percent control after the other brother retired as well. From that point on, OSI Group has participated in a series of highly strategic expansions that include outright acquisitions as well as cooperative ventures.
Agressive Expansion Projects of the Last Five Years:
OSI Group has been particularly active over the last five or so years with expansion both domestically and globally. In 2014 the company entered into a cooperative venture with U.K. company Pickstock that gave OSI an important share of the beef distribution market in Europe. A similar joint venture with Canadian company Select Ready Foods greatly expanded OSI’s value line of meat offerings in the Canadian market. 2016 was another landmark year. Close to the Aurora, Illinois corporate headquarters, the former home of Tyson Foods in Chicago was acquired by OSI as a second processing facility in the region. That same year, the acquisitions of European companies Baho Food and Flagship Europe expanded OSI’s product offerings in Europe.
Sheldon Lavin’s Journey:
Sheldon recently did an interview for CEOCFO Magazine where he detailed much in regard to his journey in the business world. When asked how and why he got into the meat processing business, Sheldon’s reply is that he was recruited by the Kolschowsky family, the original owners of OSI, after he helped them with financing their planned expansion of the company. They were impressed to the point that they wanted Sheldon on board as a full-time member of the team. Sheldon explains that he made all of this amazing success happen because he doesn’t run OSI the way most big companies operate. OSI operates more like a family, this is the way the company evolved, and this is the way it has and will remain. Sheldon emphasizes that he does, in fact, believe that innovation has always been part of the makeup of his DNA and he credits his capable and loyal employees with being a huge aspect of why OSI Group has achieved such massive success.
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