Clean Harbors founder and CEO Alan McKim went undercover for this week’s episode of Undercover Boss. The episode will air Monday, January 27 at 9 p.m. on CBS.
As of Saturday, McKim hadn’t seen the full episode yet. During the filming, he got his hands dirty in a Chicago refinery and also tried truck driving to gain unfiltered insight into the business.
Before starting to shoot the show, Undercover Boss producers interviewed hundreds of employees at Clean Harbors, saying that they were doing a documentary about people looking to start a second career. The shooting took place over 14 days.
Clean Harbors is the leading provider of environmental, energy, and industrial services throughout North America. The episode promises to be extra emotional. In a Tweet, Clean Harbors references employee Gregg Maier’s part in the episode.
“The @Undercover_CBS reveals are always emotional, but you won’t want to miss seeing Gregg Maier return to ground zero for the first time since he and Clean Harbors crews helped decontaminate the area on 9/11 and years after. #UndercoverBoss.”
McKim Posed As a Former Mechanic
During filming, McKim was undercover as a former mechanic looking to restart his career in life. While disguised, he visited sites in Massachusets, New York City, New Jersey, East Chicago, Indiana and Matagadora Island in Texas.
He spent time working with other employees, trying his hand at being a Class A truck driver, a hazardous waste specialist, an industrial technician doing confined space enclosure work, and a field service worker responding to a hurricane-related disaster.
“They completely transformed me,” McKim told the Patriot Ledger. “We did a test run with the makeup at my house with my kids and some of my grandkids. They all thought it was amazing. As a matter of fact, one of my younger grandchildren didn’t recognize me and was afraid of the stranger in the house. I hardly even recognized myself.
McKim has four children and 11 grandchildren.
Clean Harbors’ vision is “to be recognized as the premier provider of environmental, energy and industrial services.” They provide services like oil collection, recycling and re-refining, high-pressure chemical cleaning, catalyst handling, material processing, and more.
Clean Harbors is Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary
The airing of this episode of Undercover Boss coincides with the 40th anniversary of Clean Harbors. McKim thought it would be a good time to share the behind the scenes look at the company because of this; he specifically wanted to share how hard his employees work cleaning up the environment every day.
Clean Harbors was started by McKim in 1980. At the time, it was a four-person tank-cleaning business. The work involved cleaning up oil spills and helping to clean up the Boston Harbor.
“I started Clean Harbors in 1980,” McKim says on an episode sneak peek. “There was a lot of oil spills in the ’70s and ’80s, particularly here in Boston. So, me and three other guys, we started cleaning up spills and doing everything we could, really, to survive.”
In 1984, Clean Harbors helped avoid an oil spill off the coast of Orleans. They pumped more than 100,000 gallons of oil off Eldia, a grounded tanker. Three years later, Clean Harbors went public to get access to more of a capital market to grow the business.
Clean Harbor now employs more than 15,000 people across North America and generates more than $3 billion in annual revenue.