Sheldon Lavin is the chief operating officer of the internationally known food processing company the OSI Group. He is the visionary behind the company’s growth from simply a company that processes and distributes meat throughout the Mid West into a global force in the food processing industry. Over the past 40 years, Sheldon Lavin has unleashed a global expansion plan that has resulted in the OSI Group providing meat, vegetable and dough products to customers in 85 countries. In recognition of his vision and persistence, Sheldon Lavin was given the 2016 Global Visionary Award.
After earning degrees in finance and accounting in college, Sheldon Lavin went on to have a very successful career in the banking industry. He then founded and ran an accounting firm. It was through that firm that Lavin became aware of and involved with the OSI Group. In the 1970s, the company, then called Otto & Sons, needed money to get equipment and larger facilities. So they turned to Lavin and his accounting firm. Seeing the potential the company possessed, Sheldon Lavin not only got Otto & Sons the finances they wanted, he began regularly purchasing the company’s stock.
When the company’s original owners retired in the 1980s, Sheldon Lavin owned enough shares of Otto & Sons stock to take over the company. He changed its name to the OSI Group and formulated a detailed plan for expanding the company into a global operation. Lavin instituted a series of thoughtful, forward-looking worker, food production and environmental stewardship policies and procedures to guide the company’s activities. He wanted to ensure the OSI Group not only offered the highest quality products, but maintained an excellent worker, food and environmental safety record as well.
A husband, father and grandfather, family is very important to Sheldon Lavin. And he has managed to maintain a family atmosphere among the staff at the OSI Group even as the company grew to have more than 20,000 workers. Lavin created an excellent benefits package for the staff that ensured they and their loved ones are treated well. He also maintains an open-door policy and solicits ideas from rank and file staff, regularly dines with employees on every level of the company and encourages everyone to call him by his first name. This type of leadership has helped the entire staff to feel they have a real stake in the success of the OSI Group.
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