Sheldon Lavin is a business executive who doesn’t see his role as merely running a company. He’s strived to make business about helping others and the community as a whole, and even as CEO he often visits employees in the company’s various plants. Lavin is a traditionalist who believes in running the business like a small family company and giving employees a reason to stay for many years, although his company OSI Group is one of the largest billion-dollar food service companies. But Lavin is committed to producing excellent foods and delivering them in a timely and safe fashion. In fact OSI Group has won awards and commendations from organizations like the British Safety Council for food safety.
Sheldon Lavin came to OSI Group in the 1970s. It was actually a local Chicago company that was known as Otto & Sons, a name based on its founder Otto Kolschowsky who built it as a butcher shop in the early 20th century. When Lavin first entered the food industry, he was only interested in being a part-time financial consultant because he had left the fast pace of the banking world and was looking at slowing things down. But he saw how different things were run at the family-owned company, and as Lavin helped the company become more financially stable and profitable, he accepted their offer to become CEO and join their partner McDonalds restaurants in going international.
Once Lavin had taken over ownership shares in the company, he had it renamed to OSI Group and began the long process towards building operations in 17 different countries and growing the clientele. Also, Lavin opened more partnerships in the fast food chains that included restaurants like Subway and Pizza Hut. When Lavin buys out companies for OSI Group, he approaches the current management and employees and asks them to stay on since they know the market and know which customers to cater to. Lavin’s work in building OSI Group earned him World Vision Academy’s Global Visionary award.