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CS Insight: Tami Smits – From a Driven Dead Head to Raising Kids With Drive

If you’ve ever been to Campbell-Sevey’s offices chances are you’ve seen Tami. As an Admin Assistant for the past 10 years, she’s been handling many of our administrative and accounting tasks. But that’s just what she handles while she’s here. Tami handles a whole lot more in her life beyond our doors.

Swimming, Sailing and a Long-Time Connection to Campbell-Sevey

The summer before Tami entered 5th grade, her mother Joyce married Bob Sevey and worked with him at Campbell-Sevey for over 30 years. Bob was a competitive sailor and introduced Tami to the sport.

“I grew up swimming and sailing competitively.” Tami said. “I spent my weekends either at swim meets or sailing regattas.” Tami was one of the first 7th graders to earn a letter at Minnetonka High School after she was asked to be on the varsity swim team. While she did really well, by 10th grade she suffered from “Burn Out Syndrome”. During that time, however, she still enjoyed sailing.

Grateful Dead Hippie

Once Tami headed off to college her interest turned to attending music concerts. She attended over 50 live Grateful Dead shows when Jerry Garcia was alive, in locations like Las Vegas, California, Chicago, Indiana, Milwaukee and so on.

“I wasn’t a typical Dead Head that followed the band on tour for an entire summer. I picked various spots and flew or drove to see them with friends about 3 times a year.” Tami said. “I also spent a lot of time seeing local hippie type music. That is how I met my husband Michael about 25 years ago.”

Family Life with Teenagers

Tami and Michael live in Excelsior and have two active teenage boys: Tanner, 16, and Wyatt, who turns 15 in December. Both boys played youth football and baseball growing up.

Tanner, a Junior at Minnetonka High School, spends a portion of each day participating in the VANTAGE program. His area of study is Digital Journalism, where he’s gaining experience in writing and delivering copy for radio and television, while developing critical thinking skills.

“They are learning the entire broadcast journalism production cycle from pre-production through storytelling, concepting, storyboarding, scripting, treatments and pitches to final production and editing.” said Tami. She added, “This is great because Tanner is the biggest sports fan I know and he would be great as a sportscaster or sports columnist. He can recite stats of almost any college or pro football player and is currently undefeated in his Dad’s Fantasy Football League.” Tanner also enjoys rec basketball and hanging with friends.

Wyatt, a Freshman at Minnetonka High School, started playing hockey as a kindergartner and has really excelled as he’s grown. During the Summer of 2016, he starting training privately with fellow Campbell-Sevey employee Adam Talatinick, a former goalie that played Juniors and College Hockey. Adam has done extensive coaching for South St. Paul and Hopkins and was excited to coach Wyatt.

“The lessons from Adam where game changers for Wyatt. His game improved dramatically, as did his drive and determination to be one of the top players in his age group.” Said Tami.

Last season Wyatt was one of four skaters in his age group to make the Minnetonka Bantam A team and this Fall he landed a spot on Minnetonka’s top Bantam Hockey team, the AA Team.

“He spent countless hours training over this past summer. He learned that hard work pays off.”

The Rewards of Being a “Hockey Mom” 

“I guess you could say I am a Hockey Mom. I spend countless hours in the car as Wyatt trains. We are at the rink at 6am once or twice a week for private skating lessons. I always tell him that ‘great athletes are born in the AM’, and then he practices nearly daily with his team.” While Tami grew up in a competitive household, she admires Wyatt’s additional determination and drive beyond what she had. “I admire his work ethic and accomplishments. We love watching him play.”

But what’s most important to Tami are the lessons both boys are learning. “The key to all of this is the excellent life skills they learn from being coached, working hard and being driven. No matter what happens, we know the life skills they learn will take them far in life. I’m excited to see what the future holds for both of them.”

Other Interests

Currently Tami’s social life revolves around hockey games as she spends most of her vacation time at tournaments and most of her money on new hockey sticks ($300 a stick). Still what interests her most is spending time with family, binge watching Netflix series, reading her kindle and volunteering her admin skills to various sports organizations within the community. As for the time she spends at work, “I love being part of the Campbell-Sevey family.”



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