Students who frequent the Ross School of Business’s Seigle Café are probably used to being greeted by the smiling face and friendly attitude of Archie “Chello” Smyers, who works behind the grill and does whatever it takes to keep students’ stomachs filled.
Smyers, who has been a regular at the Business School for the past three years, said he believes his amiable demeanor makes people feel comfortable around him.
“I think I’m a nice guy,” Smyers said. “I am a great communicator and motivator. I get along with everybody.”
Working in food is something about which Smyers is passionate. Not only does he work at the University, but he is also the head of food service for the National Guard in the state of Michigan.
Prior to his career at the Business School, Smyers attended Eastern Michigan University on a track and field scholarship. When his childhood dream of being an Olympic track star didn’t come true, he altered his ambitions and began a career in the food business.
Smyers has worked for the National Guard — based in Lansing — for the past 13 years. He goes to Lansing one weekend a month to cook and was recently promoted.
“I went from being just a regular cook to running the whole show for the state of Michigan for food service,” said Smyers. “That’s a dream job. A lot of people have been there 20 to 25 years and would die to be in the position I am in Lansing.”
Smyers said a perk of being in the military is that he has had the opportunity to travel to exotic places including Panama, Costa Rica and Germany.
Despite his military work and other accomplishments, Smyers said he hopes to ultimately run a food facility like the one at the Business School.
“It’s fun meeting the people, the MBA students, just talking about the different things that come through the grill — what they did the night before, like this past St. Patty’s day,” Smyers said. “Just the basic chit chat.”
When Smyers is not working at the military or on the grill, he enjoys jogging, playing golf and spending time with his 5-year-old daughter who he plans to take to Walt Disney World.
For a person who spends his days surrounded by food, his personal favorites are pepper steak and key lime pie.
Smyers said he hopes that in the next 10 years he will be married and running a food service facility.
Every morning, Smyers said he looks forward to coming to work. In his three years at the Business School, Smyers said he has only missed one day.
“You spend 80 percent of your life at a job so you might as well enjoy it,” Smyers said. “It’s not a job, it’s a social hour.”