In 1907, Otto Kolschowsky immigrated to America from Germany not knowing he would be the founder of a successful meat market that would later transform into a global leader in food processing and a new age thinker for world food solutions. Starting with very little, just two years after arriving in America Otto Kolschowsky opened a small meat market in Oak Park, Illinois. As of 1928 his business expanded and grew in reputation allowing him to move his meat market to Maywood, Illinois there upon calling his market Otto & Sons.
In later years, Otto & Sons strove for bigger goals. In 1955 McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc sought out for the freshest meats available for his newly opened fast food business. From then on, Otto & Sons was no longer just a small town meat distributor and in fact is still the sole supplier of meat for the fast food giant as well as others including KFC, Subway, Papa John’s Pizza, and Pizza Hut.
As of 1973, Otto & Sons was a main provider for a rapidly growing McDonald’s and had to become conscious about efficiency, food storage, and transportation for large orders. The solution was opening their very first industrial meat plant where meat pressing and cryogenic food processing took place. Aside from distributing to McDonald’s, Otto & Sons still desired to cater to small businesses, local supermarkets and restaurants, so it formed a smaller meat distributor called Glenmark. In 2011, Glenmark became owned by Best Chicago Meat, another meat processor company.
From 1975 until today, Otto & Sons now resides under a new name- OSI Industries. While still sharing the same vision Otto Kolschowsky once had, Sheldon Lavin now holds title of Chairman and CEO of OSI Industries.
Aiding the private company into a new era of prosperity, Lavin has not always been top dog. Starting in 1970 as Otto & Sons financial consultant and handler, Sheldon Lavin grew steadily more involved in the company until 1975 when the Otto Kolschowsky and his two sons retired. With time Lavin watched as partners retired and left the company until he held full control of OSI Industries.
Sheldon Lavin, now age 85, has ensured the success of OSI Industries since becoming CEO. Today their presence can be found not only in America with a main office located in Aurora, Illinois, but can also be seen in China, Europe, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia and India. As of 2016 Forbes declared the privately held meat processing company number 58 in America’s Largest Private Companies with a revenue of $6.1 billion and nearly 20,000 employees.
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In the spirit of generosity and family business, Lavin is not just a run of the mill entrepreneur but also contributes his earnings to charities such as the Ronald McDonald House, Evans Scholarship Fund, and is a board member for the Goodman Theater, the Rush University Medical Center. Lavin is also the winner of the 2015 McGladrey Lifetime Achievement Award.Categories: Food Processing Companies, Forbes, OSI Group