Mr. George Schaffer grew up surrounded by business leaders in his family, soaking up knowledge about farming, sugar manufacturing, project management, steel fabrication, and working with others. He looked up to his grandfather who worked honestly and hard, from humble beginnings to eventually become a multi-business owner including a gold trading operation and a general goods store supplied by a team of mules that he would drive along mountain trails. He learned a lot about people from his grandfather, who was a town mayor for nearly 20 years and informally the town counselor for many more. His uncles were great mentors as they were all good humanitarians, professionals, and leaders.
His father, a WWII veteran, multinational engineer, and product of the Great Depression introduced his son at a young age to many aspects of life and exposed him to many life skills and lessons. After studying at Louisiana State University on the GI Bill, Mr. Schaffer’s father, Col. Francis C. Schaffer became renowned for his work in the sugar industry and his involvement with designing, project managing, and consulting for sugar mills in over 40 countries. Through hard work and the collective vision and effort of his team of co-workers, Schaffer, and associates were instrumental in the development of the sugar industry and resulting growth opportunities in Florida, Texas, Panama, Belize, the Ivory Coast, the Sudan, and many other countries in Africa and Latin America. The legacy of serving the sugar industry is what the younger Mr. Schaffer has strived to continue.
One of the most important exposures that laid a foundation for Mr. Schaffer’s future skills was the development of the Kenana Sugar factory, one of the world’s largest integrated sugar factories, in Africa during the 1970s and early 1980s. As a child, he observed the process from construction to the start-up of the sugar factory. Mr. Schaffer lived with his family on-site in the Sudanese desert where his father’s firm was responsible for project design and management. The project created a community of over 100,000 people that was once only a small village out in the desert and overcame challenges such as transportation, water, education, healthcare, food supplies, housing, electricity, and more. What many claimed was “impossible,” Mr. Schaffer witnessed firsthand, was made possible by determination and teamwork.
Mr. Schaffer started in business independently at the age of 28 and has strived to operate his business ventures in an honorable and forthright manner, always trying to stay real and connected to the front lines while upholding respect and care for people’s well-being. Mr. Schaffer is very involved with his family, various charities, and conservation causes, including the Jacinto Bird and Rainforest Reserve in Belize. His hobbies revolve around farming, appreciating nature, and spending time with his wife and kids.