Columnist | Business

Lee Schafer joined the Star Tribune as a 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: Why cars, chips, lumber and other goods are suddenly more expensive

Small changes in end-user buying lead to bigger swings in the operations of suppliers down the value chain.


Schafer: Supply chain shows its resilience in pandemic

The case for long supply chains remains intact, so long as they are flexible and adaptable.


Schafer: Banks resist racial-equity audits, but they shouldn't

Wells Fargo and other big banks have recommended shareholders vote down racial-equity audit proposals.


Schafer: How bosses can prevent employee churn at pandemic's end

Workers have reported high levels of burnout.


Schafer: There's good reason to believe Glen Taylor's Timberwolves pledge

Taylor's efforts to keep the NBA team in Minneapolis should be successful.


Schafer: A Dayton brother tackles a new horizon, efficiency in philanthropy

Constellation Fund is built on the notion that relying on objective evidence is the way to direct money into the most promising programs.


Schafer: Mpls. Fed economist explains how modern monopolies hurt workers

The kind of monopolists described in this research don't just charge a lot for their product. They keep far lower-cost substitutes from ever reaching consumers.


Schafer: Another week, another scandal unmasks an investor with a gambler's mind

Archegos Capital Management seems pretty typical of what you might call modern Wall Street.


Schafer: As vaccine rollout makes progress, you can feel the mood change

We are stuck in the In Between Time — approaching normal for some, not close to normal for others and plenty of stress in managing both.


Schafer: An actual investment produces something, and the rest is gambling

The sports-card collector and dealer Rob Hunegs said his market is as hot as it has been in 30 years."The market is also fluctuating, much…