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.


Scooter blight in the Twin Cities is a feature, not a bug of startups' business model

Research into the electric scooter business quickly turned up a piece by technology columnist Troy Dreier, writing for the Jersey Journal newspaper in New Jersey.…


Schafer: Xcel's pledge to be carbon-free by 2050 makes good business sense

What we have here might simply be a case of a big company going carbon-free to meet the rising expectations of its customers.


Schafer: Investor angst is up, even as the economy keeps rising

One "vulnerability" the Fed identified that got attention was excessive debt by businesses and consumers.


Medical records create a new software niche and opportunity

Health care systems have invested billions of dollars in their electronic record systems.


Schafer: Twin Cities investment in people (and not Amazon) is right move

The way the Amazon.com HQ2 fiasco turned out raised questions that leaders of lots of cities and states have to be thinking about.


Schafer: Lessons on giving from Thoreau and Zacchaeus

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." It's a quote so memorable that it…


Schafer: If you're like half of us and dislike job, here's possible path to retire early

FIRE, or "financial independence, retire early," is about willingly trading away material things for the flexibility to live without needing a paid job.


Lee Schafer: Minnesota, like others, was played by Amazon in HQ2 sweepstakes

Amid the flood of media coverage of the competition for the second headquarters project of Amazon.com were a couple of columns that saw real potential in the project for Minnesota, and they were written by me. What a sap.


Schafer: House-call startup finds new lease on life

A Twin Cities startup that provides health services through home visits is in its second insurance enrollment period.


Schafer: More Minnesota companies are feeling tariffs' bite

It's not just a management headache for big multinationals.