Sheldon Lavin said in a recent interview that, although his educational background was in accounting, he envisioned himself to be a man of business. Specifically, Lavin wanted to own and operate his own company.
After he graduated from the private Roosevelt University in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in business, his first foray into the world of commerce was helping other business owners bolster their operations. He established Sheldon Lavin & Associated in downtown Chicago. It quickly found a steady stream of clients. Owners and managers were eager to tap into Sheldon Lavin’s wizardry with numbers and savvy advice on finance.
Lavin’s accounting and business finance consulting firm was a success. In 1970, he was approached by another successful and growing Chicago enterprise, a meat processing company known as Otto & Sons. This family-owned business has been a fixture in the Windy City since 1909. It was in the 1950s that Otto & Sons jumpstarted their small operation by making a handshake deal with Ray Kroc – the architect of the McDonald’s fast-food empire. See also on Forbes.
Otto & Sons was tapped to supply Kroc with fresh beef for his growing chain of Golden Arches restaurants. By 1970, Otto & Sons had grown considerably thanks to the ride they had hitched to the McDonald’s juggernaut. Now they were eager to take their company to a higher level. They called Sheldon Lavin because he had developed a reputation as a man who could make things happen.
Lavin said that, once he became familiar with Otto & Sons, he recognized the opportunity to make his life-long dream of becoming a bona fide businessman come true. In fact, he was strongly encouraged by McDonald’s management to come in as an owner of Otto & Sons. Lavin did just that. He eventually bought out the family founders and became the CEO of the company. Otto & Sons was rebranded as OSI Group in 1975.
Sheldon Lavin went on to build OSI Group into one of the premier food processing companies in the world. Under his leadership, OSI now spans 17 nations with 65 facilities.