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: Student loan debt won't lead to another financial crisis, economist says

It's one of those situations where the averages aren't really very helpful in forming a clear picture.


Schafer: Is everybody really OK with the Bloomington-MOA water park project?

The problem is that the water park — which would cost about $250 million just for construction — does not seem viable with private-market money.


Schafer: DEED has new plan to measure results

Former Silicon Valley executive Steve Grove knew where to look for a better way: Google.


Schafer: We could be watching the end of an era of globalization

For the youngest baby boomers and those born later, this is the only world they've ever known. And it has transformed American business.


Schafer: Leadpages founder tries 'radical candor' at new startup

The co-founder and board chairman of the company behind the marketing software Leadpages and Drip, Clay Collins, meets regularly with CEO John Tedesco, often over…


Schafer: Adrian Peterson shows why pro athletes need to be careful with their money

When stories surface of pro athletes in financial trouble, it's fascinating how often the big issue is that one investment after another has fizzled.


Schafer: Wells Fargo's challenges start with finding a new CEO

Maybe my expectations were too high, but finding the job I was looking for on the careers web page of Wells Fargo & Co. proved…


Schafer: 'Conspicuous consumption' theory could explain runaway CEO pay

With nothing new to say about CEO pay, I decided to look for inspiration by driving south to Nerstrand, a village of about 350 an…


Schafer: Fastenal could predict trouble for manufacturing sector

Sure there are a lot of construction cranes swinging and news of more open jobs than unemployed people. But before concluding the economy must be…


Schafer: Lawsuit over U.S. Bancorp pension headed to Supreme Court

The lawsuit against U.S. Bancorp for mismanaging its pension, which is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, originated in our backyard, but that’s not the…