‘Undercover Boss’ Recap: ‘Fastsigns International’

This week’s episode of Undercover Boss follows Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsigns International. Fastsigns International is headquartered in Carrollton, TX, and is the largest premiere sign-making company in the world. Catherine has been CEO of the company since 2009. She had a tough childhood, as her mother was an abusive alcoholic. Her mother broke a glass sculpture on her head. She later committed suicide. Because of the way her mother was, Catherine decided to never have children.

She is going undercover as Louise Steely, an out-of-work rocker chick. She wants to see how training is working in the company. Her first stop is in St. Louis, MO, to work as a site survey. Louise is working with Jenn, a supervisor to survey where the sign will go. Louise complains about the weather, the building, and the job in general. A cat while measuring the door distracts her. Jenn’s been with the company for four years, and she thinks the marketing materials look like junk mail, and customers think so, too.

Jenn and Louise stop at a boxing gym to do another site survey. This time Louise is more professional and does a great job. Jenn is an amateur bowler, along with her husband. After the site survey, Jenn invites Louise to go bowling, and she doesn’t do so hot.

Louise’s second stop is in Austin, TX, to work in the production warehouse. She is working with Sheldon, a sign maker. Each store normally creates their own signs, but this warehouse services three signs. Sheldon has worked at the warehouse for 13 years. He says corporate is slow in moving within the business. The company does not have a website where people can order. Sheldon leave Louise alone to work on signs, and she quickly gets into trouble.

Louise tells him he’s a good teacher, and he says it’s because of his child. He was a single father for many years and met a woman. His fiancée developed cancer, and he cared for her for six months to remission. Now they’re trying to plan a small wedding.

The third stop is in Culver City, CA, to work with Gary, a sign installer. Her first job is installing decals on a truck. The measuring is easy, but getting rid of the air bubbles cause Louise problems. The next job is to install a large banner on a window, and the work is physically demanding for her.

Gary is married and expecting a baby girl any day. He lives in Los Angeles, and he drives over two hours to work everyday. He was a bad kid and got into drugs and was arrested on his second strike. The charges were dropped, and he worked to turn his life around. He still struggles with life, and his family was evicted from their home on that very day.

The last stop is in Phoenix, AZ, to work with Scott, a franchisee to install a sign on a tall building. Louise has to working in a cherry picker installing letters on the side of the building. She is scared of the height and the cherry picker keeps moving, but she does a good job drilling holes.

Scott owns the franchise because it’s part of the American dream. He works 50-60 hours a week. Everything he knows about the business he learned on the job. Scott and his wife adopted a girl named Maya. His wife developed Multiple Sclerosis, but she’s struggling.

The Reveal

The reveal takes place at an equestrian center in Laguna Hills, CA. Catherine tells Sheldon he is a good trainer and never lost patience with her. She tells him they are testing a website and she wants him to be a part of the testing. She offers Sheldon and his fiancée $10,000 for their honeymoon. She also gives him $50,000 to help with the medical bills his fiancée received.

Catherine tells Jenn she likes how she’s driven. She tells her the company is unveiling a new marketing plan at their next convention, thanks to her. She gives Jenn $10,000 to spend on a vacation with her husband. She encourages Jenn to chase her passions and gives her $20,000 for her bowling career.

She tells Scott she had so much fun with him and it was a great experience. Because of Scott, Catherine is implementing a training program for every franchise. She gives him $10,000 to put into a college fund for his daughter. She respects how he gets involved with the day-to-day of the business but he needs to spend time with his family, so she gives him $15,000 to take some time off.

Gary finds out Catherine is impressed with how he changed his life for the better. She’s bringing him to Texas to train in every aspect of the business so he can continue to grow in the company. Since his church is important to him, she gives him $15,000, which will save the church. She also gives him a new car so he has dependable transportation to work. She also gives him $50,000 as a down payment on a new house.

The Aftermath

Gary bought a used car so he could buy another car for a family in need; Jenn and her husband are pursuing bowling and a trip to Alaska; Scott is spending more time with his family; Sheldon and his fiancée are planning their honeymoon.

Catch Undercover Boss Fridays 9/8c. Next week is the season finale.

(Photo Source: University of Washington)

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