Bernt Bodal, CEO of American Seafoods, goes on Undercover Boss tonight to get the inside scoop on how his company is treating its workers. The show opens with Bernt Bodal talking of how big American Seafoods is and how it is the largest seafood company in the US. He started out by working on fishing boats and has worked his way up the ranks. He says he is a fisherman that became a CEO and he flies his own planes. He used to be a Rock musician in his home of Norway. He says this is going to be exciting to go back and work on a boat.
Bernt gets his makeover and is headed to Massachusetts to the processing plant. He will be a maintenance man. He meets John, who will show him the ropes. The first job is to clean the fish pit and it is dirty and nasty. When they lower him down, he starts shouting to bring him out because the water is too hot. John says the water is hot and thinks Bernt is a little soft. He is arguing with John about the water and he says he will not do this. Now they go to change out a breader. He is cutting the wrong wires and is making the problem worse. John tries to give him a pep talk and tells him he has to work harder to make it because he is an immigrant. Bernt seems to have a lot of respect for John. Now they try welding and Bernt fails again. John takes him to the office and says they need to re evaluate the situation. John doesn’t think Bernt will make it in maintenance.
Now Bernt is off to Alaska to be a deckhand on a factory boat. This boat catches and processes fish for the company. The captain and the manager are told to keep Bernt’s identity a secret. He works as a deckhand first. He meets the supervisor and gets the low down on what to do. Bernt is having a little trouble getting into his groove. Bernt is a little better at being a deckhand but is still having trouble. His supervisor doesn’t think he is getting the hang of it. Bernt loves the sight of all the fish in the nets and knows this means the company will do well. He says this is a humbling experience. He talks with his supervisor about how hard it is to be away from home with no internet or a way to communicate with the family. This gives Bernt an idea on getting internet access for the workers. His second day on the boat, he works on the fish meal area of the boat. Rafal is the foreman here and he gives Bernt a brief description of what they do. His first job is to clean a machine with all the fish guts and parts ground up in it. It is nasty and stinky. Now they bag up the product and Bernt is trying his best. It is very physical work because the bags weigh 35 kilos each. Now he talks with Rafal and they trade stories about being an immigrant and chasing the American Dream. Rafal talks of how his job is like being in jail because of the long hours and no communication with your family.
On the fourth day, he works in the Surimi factory and it is what imitation crab legs are made of. Bernt has a lot of trouble here and his supervisor, Susana, is really riding him. Bernt tries to pack the meat. He is really slow and the product is building up and about to shut down the production line. She takes over now because he is so slow. She tries to give him a pep talk and says it is tough to get promoted on a boat. She talks of Samoa, where she was born, and how she isolated herself from her family after losing her mother. Bernt thinks she is very demanding but she really know her job.
Bernt brings all the people he has worked with to the bridge of the boat. They are shocked to find out he is the CEO of the company. John says he feels like he was being made a fool of. Bernt tries to tell him why he did what he had to do. He says John made a fool of him because he is such a great worker. He says he is raising John’s pay by $10,000 a year and making him director of maintenance. Bernt is going to fly John and his family to the Asores and give them another $10,000 for a vacation. John is happy.
Billy is next. Bernt tells him he is going to put internet access on all their vessels so the employees can talk with their families. Bernt is also giving Billy $20,000 to help buy his mom’s house. He is also getting $10,000 donated to a MS charity in his mom’s name. Rafal is up now and he gets $5,000 dollars for language lessons. He is also going to fly his family to the US when they come and he will give them $20,000 for starting out. Rafal is in tears.
Finally, Susana meets Bernt. He is giving her $5,000 and a plane ticket so she can finally get together with her family. He also is giving her $20,000 as a gift for her dedication to the company. Another teary moment.
The show ends with Bernt telling the whole crew who he is and thanking them for their sacrifice and hard work. This is one CEO who wants to make his workers happy.
Photo courtesy of: CBS