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Sheldon Lavin’s Community Service Award Accomplishments

Sheldon Lavin, the Chairman of OSI Industries and its subsidiaries was presented the Edward C. Jones award for community service several years ago because his outreach extended beyond making billions in the meat processing industry to supporting philanthropy in OSI Industries’ communities. The main organization that Lavin presides over is the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a scholarship and healthcare wing of the McDonald’s Corporation, but he’s also a sponsor of the Chicago Inner City Foundation, the Jewish United Fund, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Boys & Girls Club. Lavin has been proud to support the communities OSI Industries operates in, and he believes the company is about greater things than just meat production.

Sheldon Lavin had his beginnings in investment banking and making deals between big companies such as mergers and acquisitions and debt restructuring. But after he established his own consulting firm, he was asked by the owners of Otto & Sons meat market to help them get a loan for a new high volume meat plant. In the process of acquiring the loan and offering financial advice to Otto & Sons, Lavin was asked if he’d consider becoming an owner in the company. He initially said no because he didn’t know much about the food industry, and he wanted to remain in financial consulting. But he did continue to work with the company in more deals and also giving its owners advice on how to manage their growth investments. Later on Lavin had a change of heart and agreed to become Chairman and CEO of the company and buy the owner’s shares when the current owners of Otto & Sons retired.

In 1978, Lavin had the company’s name changed to OSI Industries because it was now building factories not only across the US, but also into new countries like Brazil and Germany and today it now has over 55 plants in 17 different countries. The company has made its beef and chicken products the center of its operations, but it’s also acquired several produce farms and added vegetable and baked goods to its portfolio. The companies Lavin has made partnerships with include OSI China, Select Ready Foods in Canada, Flagship Europe in the UK and Baho Food in the Netherlands. But even with these big acquisitions, Lavin has kept OSI Industries running like a family company and he views its most important mission as adding jobs to the regions it expands into, and every company OSI has acquired has seen very little turnover as a result of the acquisition.

About Sheldon Lavin: