David McDonald - President, OSI Group

Born and raised in Iowa, David McDonald, began his career after graduating from college with a degree in Animal Science. While holding the role as Chairman of the North American Meat Institute, he started with OSI Group as a project manager. He worked his way up the ladder and earned the role of company president.

OSI Group has made tremendous strides in the food industry. It is a premier global food provider that strives to deliver top products and services to its customers. McDonald has been with the company for 30 years and has played a tremendous role in its success and growth. Due to the global nature of OSI Group, David McDonald works hard to maintain a logistics team that can keep up with the constantly evolving international market. To keep things flowing smoothly, this group must work closely with local marketers so that customers’ needs are met without hassle.

Recently, OSI Group bought Baho Foods. This Dutch company specializes in deli meat and the processing of other foods. Thanks to this acquisition, OSI gained a better presence in the European region. Throughout David McDonald’s tenure, his organization has been able to establish 10 Chinese facilities, which handle poultry. These places service numerous well-known chain restaurants. To get a better understanding of his views and business strategies, it is helpful to hear how he answers a few key questions.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

After I graduated from college, I joined OSI Group. I was at the bottom of the totem pole but managed to work my way up. I have always been interested in the subjects of biology and agriculture. During college, I was inspired to pursue this passion, and I majored in Animal Science.

How do you make money?

At OSI, we process and provide food products and services to major companies around the globe.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

I have been with OSI for almost three decades. Over this time, we have enjoyed tremendous growth. Since we have been able to establish dynamic partnerships, we were able to become profitable from the early stages.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time that you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle it?

I have always shared the vision of OSI, which is to meet and surpass customer expectations. Since we are private, it is easier to remain flexible with the solutions that we bring to the table. We can take our time and establish solid relationships that make things run smoothly. There was never a time that I doubted this vision would fail.

How did you get your first customer?

Thanks to our high quality standards, we were able to attract our first customers. At OSI, we view our staff and customers as family. Everything we do and make must be good enough for personal use. This keeps our clients coming back.

What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works well to generate new business?

We become part of the local culture. When we truly comprehend the needs of our customer base, we can deliver products and services that are welcomed. We have invested a great deal of time to gain customer trust as well.

What is the toughest decision that you’ve had to make in the last few months?

Most of my time is spent dealing with the challenges that come from infrastructure and technical issues in China. We are trying to partner with great suppliers and helpful government agencies. We must keep the faith with these agencies, and we believe that they are trying to do what’s right for the country.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

My success is rooted in my company’s ability to create valuable partnerships. Every piece of our organization has a grasp of the culture in a particular geographic area. This helps us to create a budget and make effective decisions. When we can be successful in each individual location that we are doing business, our global success is heightened. Also, our entrepreneurial passion and can-do ethic is key.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Establishing our newest facility in China has been extremely satisfying. It is a true representation of the time and efforts that we have put into the country. We have had the confidence to put a large investment that solves broad scale solutions. Now, we have the necessary raw materials available and the ideal location in place. It is a result of the understanding that we have about the exciting local culture.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

We will continue the path that brings the highest value to our clients. To remain innovative, we will adapt to the changing business environment and will listen to the needs of our customers.

Certainly, the evolving world is exciting. It keeps us on our toes. I can’t wait to keep coming up with innovative solutions to our customers’ issues. This will keep us improving and growing.

What business books have inspired you?

Since we do a great deal of business in foreign countries, one interesting book is “Time Management from a Cross-Cultural Perspective.” Besides offering theoretical insights, it also provides practical advice that I have applied to my business interactions.

What is a recent purchase that you have made that’s helped with your business?

I recently bought a new watch. Even though I have a perfectly good one, having another one has helped me budget my time better and easily switch between various time zones.

Leave us with one point that few individuals know about your company.

Although I am proud of my company, I never brag about its success. Sometimes, this prevents people from learning about us. However, our clients recognize the quality that we bring and often leave positive feedback that catches the eyes of other consumers. This showcases our company and provides confidence and reassurance that we are doing a good job.

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