The Vision World Academy recently gave Sheldon Lavin, CEO and chairman of the OSI Group their 2016 Global Visionary Award. Lavin was honored for his persistence and perseverance in turning his vision of transforming the company into a global food processing giant a reality. When Sheldon Lavin took over the OSI Group in the 1980s, the company was known for providing quality meat products for McDonald’s and restaurants and supermarkets in the U.S. Under Lavin’s leadership, the company has grown into an international concern with food processing plants in 17 countries and customers in 85 countries.
Although most people today are familiar with Sheldon Lavin because of his excellent work with the OSI Group, he began Sheldon Lavin’s business career in the banking industry. Lavin had earned degrees in accounting and finance and later started an accounting firm. When he took over at the OSI Group, he created an ambitious plan for international expansion. Since that time the OSI Group has made significant inroads into markets in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and throughout Asia. Over the past 20 years, Sheldon Lavin has led the company to build 10 food processing facilities in China and is now the country’s leading processor of poultry.
The OSI Group has also built food processing facilities in Hungary, Poland and Spain. As part of Sheldon Lavin’s efforts to grow the company’s customer base in Europe, the OSI Group has acquired Netherlands based Baho Foods as well as Flagship Europe which has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Lavin has created such good environmental management, food and worker safety procedures, the British Safety Council has given the company its Globe of Honor for excellence three times. Sheldon Lavin and the OSI Group have also won many other awards and accolades for food quality, worker safety and enacting ‘green’ policies.
In addition to leading the OSI Group, Sheldon Lavin is a committed philanthropist. He makes generous contributions to and is actively involved with organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities, Boy and Girls Clubs of Chicago, Evans Scholarship Fund, the Jewish United Fund and many other charitable causes. Lavin was the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s director for many years and is a Rush Medical Center general trustee. Sheldon Lavin is now an octogenarian and he says looking back over his career, one of the things he’s proudest of is the family atmosphere he cultivated at the OSI Group.