Hi, my name is… Brad Shafer

I’ve lived in Peoria for 21 years (with the exception for about five years when I lived near Luke AFB), and I love it because… there are so many places to play.

A typical day in my life includes… getting up early to swim laps or go to the gym. Then I either head downtown to the office or back to my home office to get a full day’s work done. During lunch and after work I catch up on city emails or other phone calls that I need to make and then I generally have various meetings in the evenings. Although I pack my schedule pretty tight, I make it a priority to get to as many sports practices and school events as possible and I never miss a game for any of my kids. I’m always bouncing around from one meeting to another, so organization is key for me. I like to get things completed and off my plate because I know there is always something else coming my way. I’ve served on many boards and at one point I had a different board meeting every night of the week but somehow, we made it work. I believe if you want to make a difference in your community you need to be an active participant.

My family is… my wife Amanda, son Bobby (14), daughter Bentlee (11), son Beau (9), and our dog Louie. My family is the most important thing to me, and we love to play outdoors and travel together.

One thing I cannot live without is… water. I was born to be near the ocean or a lake and I love to swim. Give me some water and a boat and I’m a happy man.

When I was younger, I wanted to be… a quarterback for the Denver Broncos. I watched John Elway growing up and one year my parents took me to Denver to see a game in person when I was about 14. I ended up getting a signed football from the entire team and I still have that football today.

The song I would sing at karaoke night is… nothing at all, and trust me, you’d thank me for my silence. I can’t carry a tune to save my life.

The one person who motivates me is… Pops, my grandfather. He was the hardest worker I know, and taught me the importance of hard work, getting a good education, how to keep my eye on the ball, and how many feet are in a mile (there’s 5,280 by the way).

The last thing that made me laugh out loud was…LIFE! I love to joke around with people and laugh. Ask anybody and they know I’ve always got something funny up my sleeve. In fact, my nickname during my military basic training was “Smiles” because no matter how bad things got, I always had a smile on my face. My mother is such a positive person and taught me to live life to the fullest and not to take life too seriously.

The perfect day… would be spending the day up at Lake Pleasant with my family.

My favorite local nonprofit is… that’s a tough one. I have been involved on some level in many different organizations, but I would have to say any organization that has a focus on our veterans or first responders would be at the top of my list.

My life is… BUSY! I like to stay busy, and I usually always have a few balls up in the air at any given time. Even when I’m at home, I don’t like to be idle. That probably comes from growing up in a house where my dad was always working on a project or having me help him with something.

The best gift I’ve ever received was… probably this last Father’s Day, my wife and kids transformed our old shed into a boating storage area. She framed in one of the walls with a giant peg board with hooks and places to hang life jackets and ropes. Then topped it off with a wall of surfboard and wakeboard racks, rubber flooring, and bins for all the essentials. I love that my wife is handy with tools (and Pinterest) and that the kids each put their own personal touches throughout. It was so thoughtful and being former military, I like things nice and tidy so it’s the perfect gift for me.
My dream vacation would be… with my family on the beach somewhere. My family has recently discovered that we love to visit Costa Rica because of all the outdoor activities and beautiful beaches. In fact, when everything was closed down for COVID, we took the first open international flight to Costa Rica. We figured if we had to work from home and go to school from home, then home could be anywhere as long as we were together. After work and school, we would spend our days at the beach and take weekend trips to the jungle. Over the course of two years, we’ve gone back several times and spent a combined total of three and a half months there.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received… would have to be to “Remember who you are and what you stand for.” My wife’s parents always said this to her before she left the house as a reminder to make good choices and always stand for what’s right. It’s become a household favorite and we often find ourselves saying to our children. It’s a great reminder for everyone.