'Undercover Boss': Kampgrounds CEO Jim Rogers Offers Deluxe Cabin, Vacation To Workers


'Undercover Boss': Couple Wants To Be Best In U.S., CEO Rewards Them Big


Campsite owners Lori and Bruce dream big and work hard. As the owners of a Williams, Ariz., franchise with Kampgrounds of America, Inc., they were working to convert a mini-golf station into an 18-hole course. "Until we're the best KOA site in America, I won't be happy," they each said on this past Friday's episode of "Undercover Boss."

Of course, Bruce and his wife, Lori, had no idea that they were talking to Jim Rogers, the CEO of KOA, who was posing as "Tim Bickford," an ex-accountant on a reality show who was trying to win money to open a campground.

This "Undercover Boss" episode offered the kind of celebration of the true grit and spirit of the American worker that initially brought viewers to the CBS series, now into its fourth season. Bruce and Lori didn't disappoint. It's not a job for the fainthearted, Bruce noted, adding that he's had to clean up vomit left on the campsite. He also was shown throwing himself into the task of clearing trees from the site.

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Rogers -- who started at KOA 34 years ago as a trainee and climbed to the top -- revealed that he was equally devoted. Each day, he says, he loves his work so much that he "runs to this job." In keeping with the show's formula, he was impressed with the couple and offered a generous reward.

In the episode's reveal, Rogers told the couple that he will give them $25,000 to buy a deluxe cabin for their campsite, in addition to $10,000 for a vacation to Lake Powell, located near the Grand Canyon.

Bruce and Lori weren't the only salt-of-the-earth workers featured in this episode. Paul, manager of guest services at a KOA in Santa Cruz, Calif., told "Tim" of his hardscrabble life: The former meatpacking industry worker and his wife, Sean, sold their house so that they could nurse Paul's mother, who eventually died of cancer.

And in her honor, he goes around to all the guests at his franchise asking for donations to a camp for kids suffering from juvenile cancers. And he dotes on guests, even scrubbing down every grill.

Not every boss who has appeared on the show has been seen such exemplary workplace conduct. Ron Lynch, for example, the CEO of Tilted Kilt, worked with one of his servers, Kalian, who made pornographic displays out of straws to charm customers.

And Rogers did see areas that needed improvement, such as in the technology. While working with Marina, a store manager in Stockton, Calif., "Tim" learned that the computer system to check for reservations often needed a reset while customers were on the line. "It's an archaic system," Marina alerted "Tim."

More: 'Undercover Boss': 5 Most Gripping Moments From Season 3


Rogers, for his part, accepted responsibility for the disappointing technology during his appearance. Speaking off-camera, he put it bluntly: "KOA technology is not meeting the diverse needs" of the campsites.

Rogers brought the same good spirit to the show's reveal. For Paul, he offered $50,000 to be donated for the camps for children suffering from cancer. That was topped off by a gift of $10,000 to fix up Paul's home, and another $10,000 so that he and his wife could visit his grandchildren in Pennsylvania.

For Marina, he told her that his new software was already being developed to help with the technology problems. He also offered her a week off and $5,000 so that her large extended family could all spend a week taking advantage of the campground.

"We'll treat them like first class guests," Rogers promised.

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rockymtnal

Nowhere near the most incredible gift given to employees by an "Undercover Boss."

Earlier this season, a CEO claiming to have lost his pizza parlor to a poor economy was told by an employee in one of his sporting goods stores that he shouldn't worry, and things will get better. The girl was working full time, and living in a homeless shelter. His gift to her family: $250,000 for a home.

January 15 2013 at 9:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mgdoolin

I'm sorry but has any "reality" show ever been as predictable as Undercover Boss? Has any boss ever made the big leap and realized that many, maybe most, of his employees are as hard-working, devoted, conscientious, and undervalued as the few who get on camera...and that maybe they should all be treated more fairly and paid a little better? The show is nothing more than a PR puff piece for the CEOs who want to get some free, feel-good publicity. Sorry for the rant. I just had to get that out of my system.

January 15 2013 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sherrill

explainetome For over 30 years my husband and traveled towing a 5th wheel 38" with 2 push outs. We stayed 90% of the time at any KOA's/ They are a great campground and we always recommed them to people. Since then we have purchased a second home in FL and as I pass by our local KOA I still miss it. Only thing I could recommed to them is how about former KOA camper day. Bring (but not necessary) camper, partner etc

January 15 2013 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mcgogo

A film crew is video taping a new employee and his training and we are supposed to believe that the employees have no ideal theres something going on. Please how stupid is that?

January 15 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ellen

all you can ever hope for is your overlord is kind.

January 15 2013 at 8:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Velocity105

Yeah great, would've been nice to see the chat before, after and during the admission of who he was. That was a killjoy video. Thanks AOL, job well done.

January 15 2013 at 2:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PSYCHiATRY is a SCAM

the ceo omg i never would have guessed ; if i was dumber then me .

January 15 2013 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jan

Well, I don't think that they were just employees, they were actually franchise owners, and while I think that was a nice gesture, how about an increase in their money or something that is lasting as well as a one time vacation? I mean not to look at gift horse in the mouth here but, that was a repreive for a one time go. These ppl will then just go back and work their proverbial butts off.

January 15 2013 at 12:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jan's comment
edthez

Those big bad CEOs! Everything that's bad happens because of their greed. Shame on them.

January 15 2013 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bartman

What's wrong with working your butt off? They were happy to accomodate their guests, to have a high standard for their campground. They have PRIDE. You reflect everything that's wrong with America right now. Not only find it an atrocity that somebody has to keep working hard, that somebody didn't come along and poof! like a money fairy, hand them something they didn't work for. Then to gripe that they ONLY got a vacation and an upgrade to their cabin. As franchise owners they probably work harder than any employee they have, probably on call 24/7 - and they probably love it. But people like you wouldn't understand that kind of ethic.

January 15 2013 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jan

test run

January 15 2013 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr. ROC

We need to see an undercover-veteran, (a congress person), that is applying for medical and or financial help from the Veterans Administration. Maybe this would spark enough of an outrage, that this situation can be corrected. As it stands now the cubicle workers at the VA don't give a rats a__ about the veterans they are supposed to be helping. No one else at the highest levels of government gives a damn either. A letter saying that they are working on your file, but sorry for the back-log, is a stinch in the nostrels of God himself. The stats are in and the sucide rate for service people has reached record levels.

January 14 2013 at 10:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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