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: My family's story shows why people come to America

  – Each stop at the homes of my family’s immigrant forebears was more scenic than the last, until finally reaching an…


Schafer: Are bond markets sending a warning on the economy?

One of the first things we learned while getting trained in the bond-markets unit of First Bank St. Paul 35 years ago was that there’s…


Schafer: What it's like starting up a company in a headquarters town like the Twin Cities

The first tech entrepreneur to describe the Twin Cities as a “company town” for me was Jamf co-founder Chip Pearson of St. Paul, and since…


Schafer: Pair has a new idea for a great product: Happiness

Lots of things are pitched to us as consumers with the promise that buying will make us happy. Products, vacations, social media apps, you name…


Schafer: It's time to do something about runaway insulin prices

At some point, people won't put up with any more price increases.


Schafer: VivaQuant makes intriguing bet on equity crowdfunding

VivaQuant is not anything like the dozen or so Minnesota businesses that have sought funding directly from small investors in the last few years.


Schafer: Buying a new system is right solution for MNLARS debacle

What's changed to make buying a system the right choice now? One thing is the growing capability of companies like Colorado-based Fast Enterprises.


Schafer: Why crowds still flock to hear Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway is an old-fashioned conglomerate of a type that went out of fashion a long time ago.


Schafer: 3M staffing shakeup has been a long time coming

3M executives admitted to being too slow to do what investors saw as the right thing — letting a lot of 3M employees go.


Schafer: Fairness is built into state's tax code; gas tax wouldn't end that

A gas tax is really a textbook example of a form of tax that economists call regressive, meaning it takes a bigger bite out of the incomes of lower-income people than the well-off.