The food service industry has begun to take a more conservative approach on keeping the environment safe and investing in cleaner processing technology, and OSI Industries is no exception. OSI Chairman and CEO Sheldon Lavin mentioned how high a priority sustainability is in a statement on the company’s subsidiary Amick Farms website. He described it as focused on social responsibility, economic responsibility and environmental responsibility. Lavin has certainly taken care to see that the company has made their assembly lines and cutting areas safer to work in over the years, and their Flagship Europe plants were commended for that with the Globe of Honour award. He’s also added a Chief Sustainability Officer position to the executive committee which is currently held by Nicole Johnson-Hoffman.
OSI Industries has always been a privately-owned company since its founding in 1909, and Sheldon Lavin first came there over 40 years ago while it was still known as Otto & Sons. He had never before considered joining the food industry because his goals had always revolved around finance and investing as he had been a former investment banker and was now an independent consultant. Otto & Sons had come to him for assistance in managing their finances, and he had come on part-time. Lavin helped them receive their financing through a bank loan to build their first big factory, and it was at the completion of this that he decided to become involved full-time in the company.
Sheldon Lavin was working closely with Otto & Sons main partner McDonald’s and discussed how he could grow the company to keep up with their growing restaurant’s demands. And at their request, the owners of Otto & Sons made him a managing partner and later CEO and Chairman. He directed the opening of a factory in Germany, and that began the journey to building a $6 billion revenue company, and subsequently it became renamed as OSI Industries.
Sheldon Lavin certainly used the philosophy that guided him in banking to grow OSI to operating in 17 different countries today, yet he’s kept the company running like the family built company he knew when he first came there. He says the company makes sure every employee is taken good care of and that his office door remains open to their input. Lavin has sat on the boards and supported charities like the Jewish United Fund, Chicago Inner City Foundation and McDonald’s House Charities organization.