For David McDonald, OSI Group is about Family

David McDonald grew up in farm country. His formative years were spent helping out his dad on a northeast Iowa farm where he learned the values of hard work, honesty, being a good neighbor and producing something good for the world.

These are the same values he brought to his first job at OSI Group after graduating from the University of Iowa. Perhaps the reason David McDonald has stayed at OSI for more than 30 years is that he essentially found another family. Today as president of this giant American meat processor, Mr. McDonald uses that term a lot — “family” — to describe the corporate culture of OSI Group.

Along with OSI Group CEO Sheldon Lavin, David McDonald has presided over remarkable growth of his organization. OSI Group now operates 70 facilities in 17 countries around the world. It employs 20,000 people and was listed by Forbes at No. 58 on its tally of largest American privately-held companies.

Mr. McDonald credits the success of OSI on its philosophy of going the extra mile for its customers. When you take care of the people that are buying and consuming the product, he says, everything else falls into place.

Another aspect of OSI growth has been the formation of dynamic partnerships. Certainly, the foremost example of that is OSI’s legendary partnership with McDonald’s restaurants. (McDonald’s and David McDonald are not related!) OSI has been the primary supplier of McDonald’s hamburgers since 1955. The two companies have continued their relationship across Europe and in other countries.

Only one thing can be said for certain about today’s food industry: everything changes, McDonald said. That means managing an organization that can remain extremely adaptable, flexible and constantly ready to react to rapidly-changing customer demands.

Food tastes have evolved dramatically in recent years. The food-cosumming market is more savvy than ever and more eager than ever to try new tastes, flavors and kinds of food. Also, the way food is sold on the retail level has transformed dramatically.

For David McDonald, it’s those kinds of challenges that makes his job seem still new and interesting after three decades.

His LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-mcdonald-a1b1137