Lee Schafer | Star Tribune
Columnist | Business

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: Lessons from the crisis still relevant a decade later

The single best explanation for why we had a terrifying financial crisis 10 years ago goes back to how easy it seems to be to…


Schafer: Crow Wing Power co-op should look after members, not insider executives

The idea is that co-op members are well-equipped to look out for themselves, but Crow Wings is putting that to the test.


Minnesota Safety Council's Paul Aasen has good, bad news

Focusing on workplace safety can pay off by lowering costs.


Schafer: Income stagnation is a big factor in housing crisis

Housing costs more than it used to for most of us, and our incomes haven't kept up.


Schafer: Talking bank failures and 'Hamilton' at the fair with Neel Kashkari

Part of the fun of going every year to the Minnesota State Fair is seeing what’s new — and this year that included Federal Reserve…


Schafer: Founders of St. Cloud startup build tech portfolio on the prairie

They don't suggest it's a lot easier to build a successful technology company in a college town more than an hour's drive from downtown Minneapolis and half a world away from Silicon Valley. They just doubt it's any harder.


Schafer: Ford case defined role of business

Sen. E­liz­a­beth Warren hopes to see a new legal chart­er ad­opt­ed by big A­mer­i­can busi­nes­ses. The Mas­sa­chu­setts Democrat’s i­de­a being to kill the no­tion that…


Schafer: How Minneapolis' top tech watcher views the Tesla and Musk drama

After talking to Gene Munster, it's clear he's remaining as professional as possible when sharing his thoughts on a potential transaction that was disclosed in the wackiest possible way.


Schafer: Key to apartment development is yield, and it's slim these days

If public officials don't take the time to really get it, odds seem high that the problem of not enough lower-cost housing gets worse in the Twin Cities.


Schafer: Commuting cost can drive home-buying decisions

Home buyers have long known about this trade-off between cheaper houses and longer commutes, sometimes called the drive-until-you-qualify strategy. Buying cheaply enough to get approved for a mortgage loan means looking in neighborhoods that are probably much farther out from the city center. But commuting with a car isn't cheap.