Lee Schafer | Star Tribune
Columnist | Business

Lee Schafer joined the Star Tribune as columnist in 2012 after 15 years in business, including leading his own consulting practice and serving on corporate boards of directors. He's twice been named the best in business columnist by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, most recently for his work in 2017.

Schafer grew up on a southwest Minnesota cattle farm and studied history and economics at Macalester College. He received his masters degree from Northwestern University and worked as a writer and editor for a regional business monthly before returning to business. His work included investment banking but he had the most fun advising CEOs on growth strategy. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Tanya Bell, a real estate development consultant and civic leader, and they have three adult daughters. He's also been active as a volunteer, including for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood House and Urban Homeworks.


Schafer: In light of 2017 law, Minn. needs to take a look at its income tax

Perhaps it's time for at least a little concern that Minnesota, a state that gets more than half its general fund revenue from individual income taxes, has the kind of problem that has been brewing elsewhere.


Schafer: Otis-Magie Insurance Agency bought by industry innovator, Marsh & McLennan Agency

The recent acquisition of Otis-Magie Insurance Agency in Duluth by a firm called Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC was too small to be statewide news.…


Schafer: It's smart to get in on stock options with promising startups

Venture capitalist Rob Weber of Great North Labs really wants more Minnesotans to overcome their hesitancy and join promising young technology companies to get in…


Schafer: Bud Light's Super Bowl ad missed target market, upset farmers

For students of business, the whole episode seems baffling.


Schafer: The best spot to retire might not be the warmest

It turns out that Minnesota is a contender on lots of rankings of the healthiest states.


Schafer: TCF Financial-Chemical Financial merger comes down to one thing

What really matters now is cutting costs and becoming efficient enough to hang around as the industry consolidates.


Schafer: IT woes that haunt Walz also plague businesses everywhere

He lamented there's no real constituency championing more IT investments, at least until something goes wrong. But that's hardly unique to government.


Schafer: Shopko bankruptcy filing raises some questions

Shopko stores are being put out of business by competitors who are simply better at delivering what more consumers want.


Schafer: New normal highlighted by growth of logistics at C.H. Robinson Worldwide

For those of us who have marveled at how fast business processes seem to change and technology gets adopted, that pace is only going to accelerate.


Nomics co-founder Clay Collins sees future in cryptocurrency

What he believes in is the long-term business opportunity for the tools and infrastructure.