October 10, 2010 09:09 PM by Sarah_Monson
CBS’s hit show Undercover Boss went high tech this episode when Mike White, CEO of DIRECTV went undercover to find out what makes his company click, and what doesnâ€™t compute. DIRECTV is America’s largest satellite TV service, worth 23 billion dollars. Did Mike White keep up with his hardworking employees or did he burn out like a bad cable box?
As an Undercover Boss, we learn that Mike wants to do the show to gain knowledge about his company and get to know the people on theÂ front line. He only became CEO two years ago and feels its a great way to learn the ropes.
The episode starts with a brief background on Mike White. We learn that heâ€™s the oldest of 8 kids, and that he has three kids of his own. Paul, his oldest, is a single dad who used to struggle with a drug problem. His wife, whom he married young, just doesn’t want him climbing on any ladders.
Mike White then morphs into Tom Peters with the help of a scruffy beard and some dorky glasses and begins his week undercover.
His first stop, an Alabama tech training center where he meets Phil. Phil shows Mike the ropes and they quickly head out on a service call. Phil tells Mike that he had to buy his own GPS so he doesnâ€™t get lost on service calls. This does not sit well with Mike.
Phil tells Mike to â€œBe positive and confident, even if you donâ€™t know what youâ€™re doing.â€ It isnâ€™t that hard, as Mike has no idea what heâ€™s doing. They drop by Sherriâ€™s house and after some troubleshooting on the roof, discover that they need a new receiver. Phil, unfortunately, doesnâ€™t have one on his truck. He calls other techs in the area and can’t find an HD receiver to save his life. This bothers Sherrie, but Tom even more. Finally he locates one, fixes the problem and off they go.
On the drive to the next call, Phil confesses to Mike that, after growing up without a father and making some poor decisions, he used to be a drug addict. How convenient! Itâ€™s just like Mikeâ€™s son used to be! Phil goes on to tell Mike that after, literally, an angel intervened, heâ€™s now off drugs for good and is a youth pastor. Phil is a real sweetheart, and Mike is highly impressed with the way heâ€™s come up in the world and turned his life around.
Next, Mike heads to Las Vegas to work a shift at a warehouse facility. He meets up with Ryan, a warehouse specialist who meticulously explains the ins and outs of the job. At 7am, the techs show up and Mike tries, but fails, to fill their shopping carts for the days work. Mike was nothing but a total disappointment to Peter. Plus, the techs are hoarders. Mike then climbs in a dumpster and breaks up the excess cardboard. Why, because Peter can’t do it, as he has a degenerative disease that really screws his back up. Peter then tells Mike that heâ€™s a single dad raising twin boys, juggling work and his bad back. Iâ€™m guessing Mike is gonna make Christmas come early for this guy.
Next stop â€“ Birmingham Alabama. Mike connects with Tequilla with two LLâ€™s to go install some new satellite dishes. They show up as their first house and Tequilla, with the brute strength of a small army, hoists a ladder on her shoulder and starts installing a satellite dish on the roof. Mike, meanwhile, can barley pick it up!
Mike is a slow learner and when the weather turns sour, Tequilla takes over because she doesnâ€™t want to be late to her family reunion.
Unfortunately the weather gets so bad, they can’t even connect the device and Tequilla has to wait on hold for 20 minutes to get a waiver so she can come back later and do it. This bugs her and frustrates Mike, who was embarrassed that so much time was wasted.
The final stop on his tour of duty is at DIRECTVâ€™s Denver, Colorado call center Headquarters. He meets with Chloe, who is quite possibly the cutest girl ever to bee seen on Undercover Boss. She is super happy, positive and sweet, to boot. You can tell mike is instantly impressed with her. She takes a few calls and mike observes. Then he jumps in makes calls a low voiced woman a SIR, which flubs him up.
Over lunch, Chloe tells Mike that she grew up in foster care and never had a dad. Sheâ€™s working full time while going to college to possibly open and business or eventually go to law school in an effort to give back to her community.
Finally, after a week of grunt work, Mike shaves his beard off and takes back his private jet. He sits down with his senior staff to tell them how they need to improve the company. “I donâ€™t care about the budget, lets get it done.”
Then, one by one, Mike reveals who he is to his bewildered employees and gives them the gift we all knew they were getting.
Tequilla gets anointed a position in the companyâ€™s womanâ€™s leadership committee and because she missed her family reunion, Mike said he would fly his mom in and he would pay for it.
Ryan was asked by Mike to meet with the VP of supply chain on how to improve the warehouses. Mike also offered to pay for his twins birthday party. But no back surgery?? Come on DIRECTV!!
Mike was so moved by Philâ€™s positive attitude and work ethic, he provided GPSâ€™s to all the techs and Mike personally wrote him a $5,000 check to support his ministry to help kids in need.
Finally, Mike was so inspired and smitten with Chloe that he started a DIRECTV scholarship program for $10,000 and informed Chloe that she would be the first recipient. Mike also offered to be her father! WOW!! What a guy! Okay, he offered to be her mentor. But still, thatâ€™s awesome.
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Photos Courtesy of CBS