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: Best way to cut health care costs is keeping people healthy

One person's runaway and wasteful costs are someone else's core business revenue.


Why do so many Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota home?

The country's 16th largest metro doesn't dominate the Fortune 500 list because of its size.


Schafer: Why Ecolab must undo a deal that's already complete

It provides a fascinating glimpse into a problem that big companies might continue to have as they keep trying to grow in their main lines of business.


Schafer: Minneapolis startup aims to stop sex harassment with 'candor clause'

Soona CEO and co-founder Liz Giorgi put contract language into the company's financing documents: "I'm sick of this nonsense."


Schafer: Flow of ideas gives large cities an economic edge

The growth of the Twin Cities can't be explained by having more appealing restaurants or shiny stadiums.


Schafer: Could WeWork become an economic risk in a downturn?

Flexible office spaces like WeWork's represent just 2% of the U.S. office market. But some experts worry they are subject to a run when a downturn comes. It's a classic mismatch problem, our business columnist writes.


Schafer: Preparing for college helps families to talk about value

One reason to pick up a book described as a “field guide for college preparation” for the parents of high schoolers is for insight into…


Schafer: Northrup King's success with artist community shows that capitalism works

You have to wonder, once again, exactly what's wrong with trying to make money or why a nonprofit has to step in.


Schafer: Apple watcher Gene Munster on why the company still shines

What he got out of the presentation is that Apple displayed what its customers wanted.


Schafer: Will tariffs hit Target's customers or its suppliers?

Tariffs reshape economic activity in lots of different ways. It's not always easy to know who bears how much of the burden.