Scott Fischer, who bought Paducah-based Dippin' Dots out of bankruptcy in 2012, has held a number of different jobs over the years, including some involving manual labor during his early years.
While he has never been an unemployed welder, the chance to pretend to be one on national TV has given the Oklahoma-based financier, investor and business owner a new perspective on the well-known, flash-frozen ice cream company he owns.
Fischer's depiction of an unemployed man looking for a career change is at the heart of the reality TV show "Undercover Boss" episode set to air at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS. The Emmy Award-winning series follows high-level executives as they slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own organizations.
His appearance on the network show was coordinated through the Chicago firm Fishman Public Relations. Filming took place last summer across the country in a variety of Dippin' Dots locations and settings, including a franchise, a theme park and production and freezer storage operations in Paducah.
In addition, some of the people talked to in Paducah will be included in the episode's finale.
"I've always been a fan of the show. I enjoy seeing how other companies work, how the mechanics of them are built, how they create commerce, and the culture," Fischer said. "When they approached me I told them I wanted to make sure that it was real, raw emotion and not (typical) 'reality' TV, and they assured me it was not.
"All the content (created while filming) was organic. ... That was pretty special to me," he said. "It was a really cool experience for me to go undercover."
While he enjoyed the experience, it was not without some challenges, according to Fischer.
"I had a Hollywood makeup artist come to my hotel room at 3 a.m. every morning and apply my disguise. It would take 1-2 hours to put on the fake beard with adhesive.
"I had to keep everything on until the finish each day, and usually got back to my room around midnight. And, it would take about an hour to take everything off, including the wig (which was) made from another person's real hair," he said.
"It was a pretty intense experience, but what I found really rewarding was going out to points of presence and commerce throughout the U.S., from the West Coast, the whole way to the East Coast, for the filming.
"I would go to the parks and the locations and see people's true love for the brand and loyalty to the product, and to the Dippin' Dots family," he said. "They didn't know who I was, so it was a true unbiased response."
Fischer, 40, said he appreciated the opportunity for a different "view" of the company the show provided him.
"I was looking to see what there was from a ground-up perspective. Sometimes when you're looking at it from the top-down perspective it's not easy to see where all the issues exist.
"One of the challenges, which is also an opportunity for Dippin' Dots, is that we've grown so fast, so quick," he said. "A lot of times with that type of growth, there's going to be problems, growth pains. So this was a good opportunity at the height of our growth to get in there and see where some of those growth pains exist."
Fischer said learning where some of the stress points exist can lead to finding solutions.
"Getting in there, as if I was just starting out on day one, let me experience a lot of stuff that I never would have seen," he said. "The opportunity to have that perspective was priceless."
While there was some raw emotion displayed along the way during filming, Fischer doesn't regret taking part in the undercover operation.
"Dippin' Dots has always been kind of a Cinderella story," he said. "To show the generational love and the brand equity was really something special. It kind of shows the challenges that we're going through with the growth, but kind of overcoming all those challenges.
"I really enjoyed it and I'm excited for the nation to see it."