Under the Radar
Gary Muldoon, president of Orkin Canada, was recently filmed as the subject of Canada’s “Undercover Boss,” which aired in January.
How far did Orkin Canada President Gary Muldoon have to go to stay undercover?
“They filmed for 10 days straight,” Muldoon said of his recent experience as the subject of “Undercover Boss Canada,” which aired on Canada’s W Network on Jan. 24. “They’d knock on my hotel room door, they’d come in and do your makeup, and you were out the door by 6:30 a.m.” Muldoon would return late in the evening, after having spent the day in full disguise as “Michael,” a “trainee” for Orkin Canada.
The show sees the heads of large companies go “undercover” to work hand-in-hand with its employees. Muldoon said participating on the show gave him a greater appreciation for what Orkin Canada technicians do every day. “You get to thinking, are the uniforms too hot, should we get new kneepads — when you go out and live it you get a better appreciation,” he said. “There are a lot of little things you see and think, ‘I can fix that.’”
One technician Muldoon worked with was Dave Labelle, a canine handler for the Edmonton Branch of Orkin Canada. Labelle, like the other technicians Muldoon worked with, was under the impression the camera crews were filming a documentary. When Muldoon’s identity was revealed at the end of the production, Labelle said he was shocked. “I’d had meetings with Gary,” Labelle said. “I started (the canine program) at Orkin Canada, so I talked to him about a lot of that stuff, probably over four years ago. The weirdest thing was I didn’t recognize him at all.”
Labelle said he appreciated that being on the show gave him a “front row seat” with the head of the company, through which he was able to offer ideas. It also gave Labelle’s canine program time in the spotlight.
As well as learning more about the day-to-day concerns of his employees, Muldoon said spending a long work day with a technician also gave him better perspective on their personal lives. “When you work for a whole day with one tech — because those days were just as long for them as for me — you’re talking about everything: their likes, how they like their job, their family. You’re really getting a clearer picture of where they’re at. I really enjoyed that part.”
Muldoon said he received a call from the show’s producers several months ago, and after a brief series of meetings, “Undercover Boss Canada” was set to film with Orkin Canada. Muldoon said he expressed to the show’s producers he wanted to portray the pest management industry in a light the public doesn’t typically see.
Muldoon said the public health aspect of pest control comes across throughout the episode. The crew filmed Orkin Canada treating a heavy bed bug infestation, in which a family expressed their heartfelt gratitude afterward. “That’s the kind of stuff I think we miss a little bit as an industry.
“I wanted to make sure the public got a better feel for us,” Muldoon said, adding that he felt that shows such as “Billy the Exterminator” give the wrong impression. “I wanted our people to be portrayed as the professionals they are.”
Editor’s note: The program featuring Muldoon will air on the OWN Network in the United States at a future date.