The CBS hit show “Undercover Boss” featured Herschend Family Entertainment CEO Joel Manby on last night’s show. He went undercover to experience what it’s like working the front lines at his company’s amusement parks, attractions and aquariums. Two prominent Branson attractions were featured – Silver Dollar City & the Showboat Branson Belle.
Manby took on the alias of John Briggs and went undercover in a disguise that included a new haircut, glasses, a beard and different clothes.
The first undercover job was at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia, where Manby met Captain Howard, a hard-working, kid-friendly captain who loves his job conducting Duck tours.
The second job Joel works is at Silver Dollar City in Branson, where he meets Albert, a goal oriented young man who dreams of designing theme park attractions, and perhaps even being the CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment one day. During his work with Albert, where they scan tickets, welcome guests and keep the front gate stocked with strollers, Joel is impressed by Albert’s focus and by the fact that he is driven to get an education.
Albert may have looked somewhat at ease with the cameras around, and for good reason. This isn’t the first time he’s been put in the spotlight. Albert was also featured in ReserveDirect’s Travel Videos hosted by Teri Austin.
The third job on last night’s Undercover Boss had Manby back at Silver Dollar City to work maintenance with Richard, a man who has worked with the park for several years and recently lost his house and belongings in a flood. Joel sympathizes with Richard, especially since Herschend Family Entertainment offers assistance to families in need.
Joel Manby works two more jobs while on Undercover Boss – as a waiter on the Showboat Branson Belle and maintenance worker/touch tank attendee at Adventure Aquarium. The Branson Showboat Branson Belle job brought Joel in touch with Jennifer, a struggling single mom with a work ethic Manby found inspiring. The Adventure Aquarium position had Joel working alongside Mercedes, a single mom who before landing this job two years ago, was homeless. Her story humbled Joel and moved him to tears.
In the end, Manby’s undercover look at Branson Attractions like Silver Dollar City & Showboat Branson Belle, as well as Ride the Ducks & Adventure Aquarium led him to start a program to provide childcare assistance for single parent employees like Jennifer. Richard was granted $10,000 by Herschend Family Entertainment to repair his home, as well as allocating the work effort of the SDC park staff to work on renovations. Mercedes was given an immediate raise as well as a fund to help make her house a home. Lastly, Joel met with Albert. Joel was inspired by Albert to start a scholarship fund and Albert was the first recipient. Not only will he receive his full salary while attending college full time, but he is also welcomed back during the summer season to continue his job at Silver Dollar City.
Great attractions are part of the Branson entertainment scene, and last night’s undercover look at the employees who make them operate on a day-to-day basis was inspiring and uplifting.