Sheldon Lavin spent the first 15 years of his professional career working as a financial consultant at his own firm, Sheldon Lavin and Associates, Inc. His company was in downtown Chicago and helped companies become more competitive and acquire funding. He attended the University of Illinois, earning his degree in accounting, Northwestern University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, and Roosevelt University where he earned his degree in general business.
In 1970, he was asked to serve as a consultant to a local food processing company, Otto & Sons, Inc. Otto & Sons needed to build a new food processing plant for their major customer, McDonald’s Corporation, but needed a loan in order to do so. Sheldon Lavin found a lender for them and served as a financial consultant on other matters this company needed to work through.
He did such a great job for Otto & Sons that both their executives and the ones at McDonald’s asked him to take over their operations. After kicking the idea around for a while he decided that he really believed in this small food company and what it could become. Sheldon Lavin became the CEO and Chairman of Otto & Sons and eventually owning 100 percent of the company.
This company is now named OSI Group, LLC and it is international in scope largely due to his vision and leadership. It earns $6.1 billion in revenues a year by selling processed food like bacon, meat patties, fish, pizza, hot dogs, calzone, poultry, and vegetable products. According to Forbes, it is the 63rd largest private company in America.
Since the late 1970s, Sheldon Lavin has focused on growing his company in both Asia and Europe. They now have 65 food production plants around the world with private-labels, industrial distributors, foodservice distributors, and restaurants as their customers such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway.
He has used his success to give back to people around the world. He is on the board of trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities. He has also financially supported organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and United Jewish Communities.