David McDonald, from the Farm to the Board Room

Growing up on a farm in northeastern Iowa, David McDonald probably never imagined himself one day running one of the largest food production companies in the world. Even when he started working for OSI Group after graduating from Iowa State University, he probably never imagined he’d work his way up the ladder to lead the company.But he has. Thirty years after he first walked through the doors of OSI Group, McDonald is now the company’s president and chief operating officer. It is in that capacity that he has overseen one of the biggest periods of growth in OSI’s history.After leaving his family’s farm, McDonald earned a Bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1987. He also received the Wallace E. Barron Outstanding Senior Award.

David McDonald began working for OSI Group out of college as a project manager. At the time, OSI was known primarily as the main food supplier for the McDonald’s restaurant chain — no relation to David McDonald. From there, he advanced through the company until reaching his current position as president.Under McDonald’s leadership, OSI has expanded at a phenomenal rate. Today, the company operates 65 facilities in 17 different countries, and employs 20,000 people.

One of OSI’s most recent expansion projects involved opening new production facilities in China. He also played a big role in OSI Group acquiring The Netherlands-based Baho Foods, producers of deli meats and snacks, and Flagship Europe — renamed Creative Foods Europe — which produces several high quality food products. In 2016, Forbes magazine ranked OSI the 58th largest private company in the U.S., with a net worth of over six billion dollars. David McDonald also stays active with his alma mater. He has donated to several scholarship funds for Iowa State. In addition, he serves as chairman for the board of directors of the American Meat Institute.