Andy Shaffer ’90 pursues a passion-led career

From the Elon bricks to leading a family business, producing a movie, and creating a seltzer company, Shaffer has achieved a broad range of career experiences.

Andy Shaffer ’90 began his Elon journey as a golf team recruit and fell in love with Elon and North Carolina.

He arrived at Elon “anxious to carve his own path,” and dove into all Elon had to offer. He played club lacrosse for four years, served as a member of student government, worked as an Elon tour guide, and was one of 16 founding members of the Sigma Chi chapter at Elon, all while majoring in sports management and spending a semester in London during his senior year.

Shaffer, in tie-dyed shirt, with Elon Club Lacrosse teammates.

Once he graduated from Elon, Shaffer returned to his home state of Ohio and became the fourth generation to work for Shaffer, Entertainment, a family business that his great-grandfather started in 1929. He started as vice president of sales and marketing and eventually became president.

However, during 2020, Shaffer came down with COVID-19, which drastically affected his health. After reflecting on the changes to his health, he leaned on his mantra of “Nothing changes if nothing changes” and made the decision to leave the family business.

A connection with a close friend brought Shaffer the opportunity to serve as executive producer for a documentary called Triangle Park.

The documentary focused on the first NFL game, which was played in 1920 in Dayton, Ohio. The story highlights one of the first of 14 professional teams, the Dayton Triangles, as well as the lives of players and their families and events of the time such as prohibition and the passing of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.  

As fundraising and production for the documentary started to wrap up, Shaffer began contemplating his next business adventure. He soon connected with three founders of a start-up seltzer company called VIP Hard Seltzer. They instantly connected, especially since one founder was a fellow Sigma Chi, and Shaffer became part owner in the new brand, helping them grow production in Florida and along the East Coast. 

Moving from a long-term career in a family business to deciding to follow passion projects and new business ventures, Shaffer demonstrates the value of adaptability and the willingness to evolve at any stage of a person’s career. Shaffer offers the following advice to students — “Follow your passion and take advantage of internships while you are still in school, especially for when you graduate.”