Sheldon Lavin: On Innovation and Building a Family Culture in Business

Although Sheldon Lavin started his career in finance, his involvement with funding for a meat processing plant set him on a path that would change the future of food processing.

Lavin originally studied accounting and finance, but always had the final goal of owning a business. Then in 1970 Lavin helped arrange financing for Otto & Sons, a meat processing facility built in West Chicago, Illinois. The company was originally named after Otto Kolschowsky, but it was later changed to OSI Industries. Through his continued involvement in OSI Industries, Sheldon Lavin eventually become the owner.

From the beginning Lavin was an innovative thinker, but this thinking has grown and developed with OSI. His goal was to make OSI Industries a world class food processing enterprise. Today, the company is located in 17 countries with over 70 facilities. They mainly produce protein products, but also have branched into some sauces, vegetable items and baked goods. Sheldon Lavin has a vision to continue to grow OSI Industries to be one of the global leaders in the food industry.

With OSI Industries spanning so many countries and growing into different types of food production, Sheldon Lavin does his best to maintain a family culture within the company. While many companies of that scope dictate from the top down, Lavin takes a different approach. His office is always open. The employees in the corporate office frequently eat lunch together and address each other by their first name. This family culture came about over time and has worked well for OSI Industries. Levin attributes much of the success of OSI Industries to the great talent within the company and does his best to take care of his employees and their families.

Additionally, Sheldon Lavin is a philanthropist who has teamed with charities such as Ronald McDonald House Charities to help the less fortunate. Lavin believes all should help within their means.

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