Two recent posts on Patch.com’s Chicago page covered two key players on OSI Industries leadership team. The first is President and COO David McDonald, and the second is Sheldon Lavin. For those who don’t follow the food industry, OSI is a leader in global food distribution. The ‘O’ and the ‘S’ in OSI refer to Otto & Sons, the progenitors of OSI Industries. From its roots as a family-owned meat processor, OSI has grown to become the 58th-largest US company, and with an estimated value of $6.1 billion, it is one of the largest privately held companies in the US. OSI Industries grew in tandem with the McDonald’s fast food chain. David McDonald is a former Iowa farm boy, so he knows the origins of OSI’s primary product, processed meats. He attended Iowa State University, graduating with a degree in animal science.
David was awarded the Wallace E. Barron Outstanding Senior Award during his final year. McDonald remains active in Iowa State alumni activities. As COO and President of an international company with about 20,000 employees working in 65 different countries, McDonald played a role in OSI Industries’ substantial expansion in China. And McDonald was deeply involved in the company’s acquisition of Dutch deli meats and snack food producer, Baho Foods. He played a similar part in acquiring Flagship Europe — now called Creative Foods Europe. Sheldon Lavin’s history with OSI Industries goes back much further.
When Otto & Sons grew to become one of McDonald’s favored meat providers, they planned a significant expansion. Sheldon was a key figure in arranging the financial package that allowed the successful expansion to occur. Otto & Sons immediately began lobbying him to join the company. Sheldon declined on that first occasion. Ultimately he would come aboard some time later as a consultant, and would eventually, in the early 2000’s, gain full control of OSI. He currently serves as CEO and Chairman. Now, near the end of a long and successful career, Sheldon Lavin continues to look to the future and the ever more important challenge facing OSI Industries, and indeed all industries, sustainability. It speaks well of the man that Sheldon remains so in touch with the needs and values of a changing world.