Kyron Hobdy, a Windham resident and engineer for UScellular, was shocked to learn that he will be featured in an episode of CBS’s “Undercover Boss.” The episode airs Friday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

When Kyron Hobdy of Windham agreed to help train a new UScellular employee for a British TV show called “Starting Over,” he expected it to go straight to YouTube. 

So it was a shock, a week later, to find out that his “trainee” was actually UScellular CEO Laurent “LT” Therivel, and the straight-to-YouTube documentary they were filming was actually an episode of CBS’s popular reality show “Undercover Boss.”

Hobdy, 51, had only ever seen bits and pieces of the show, which follows high-level executives as they go undercover and slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own organizations, usually to solve a problem or reward a deserving employee. Now, Hobdy wonders how he didn’t recognize that the trainee’s Civil War-style mustache was clearly a disguise.

Hobdy said he was ultimately too focused on explaining what he does as a maintenance technician for the Chicago-based mobile network operator to think too much about it. And given his charge’s true identity, Hobdy is glad he was so focused on explaining things correctly. 

“He was a real nice guy, really attentive to everything I was trying to show him,” he said Thursday. “Now that I play it back and know who it is, hopefully I didn’t say something stupid.”

When the show’s production team flew Hobdy out to Oklahoma City for the big reveal a week later, it still didn’t sink in right away.


“Initially I just thought the dude had shaved,” he said. “Then it dawned on me that I’ve seen his face a thousand times.”

Therivel joined UScellular in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, so he hasn’t been able to meet many of the employees in person. That’s part of what made him such a good candidate for “Undercover Boss,” according to UScellular. 

“I knew who he was, but I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup,” Hobdy said. When the truth finally clicked, he still had a hard time believing it: “I was almost in denial like, no, this can’t be.”

Hobdy said the experience gave him a new appreciation for the work he does. Initially, he thought showing someone how to do his job would make for pretty boring TV, but when he took Therivel up the back of Shawnee Peak on an ATV, he reconsidered. 

“I thought, ‘Wow, there is a lot to it that I just take for granted on a daily basis,’ ” he said.

Hobdy started at UScellular as a network field engineer in 2008 and moved into his current role as a maintenance technician two years ago. He visits each of the network’s 630 New England sites every year. The job includes going over inventory, taking photos, making sure everything’s running properly and fixing things here and there if he can. 


Hobdy loves his job, but he’s bracing himself for what’s to come, with the proliferation of next-gen “5G” cellular networks right around the corner. 

Because 5G transports such high-speed data, the systems have to be closer together, such as on top of light poles and building roofs, compared with the higher-powered 4G cell towers that radiate their signal over longer distances.

As 5G expands, there will be as many as 2,000 additional sites in Hobdy’s umbrella. The maintenance is different there, but he’s not sure exactly how it will change his day-to-day experience. 

A busy father with seven kids, Hobdy has been worried about maintaining his work-life balance.

“That’s something we talked about during the show,” he said, adding that he felt relieved after having the conversation. 

Filming wrapped up nearly a year ago, and Hobdy still doesn’t know why he was chosen. 


“Maybe I answered the questions correctly. Maybe someone said I was a good guy,” he said. “I don’t know who that was unless they talked to my mom, but I’m super humbled by it. Like, wow, why me?”

Hobdy wouldn’t say exactly how the episode ends – whether he was rewarded at all for his work – but he did joke that he was “fortunate enough to not get fired.” 

“There’s not always an award at the end of these things,” he noted.

Hobdy also performs as a stand-up comedian – he opened for popular Maine comedian Bob Marley for years, so he’s not afraid of being in the spotlight. 

“When you step on stage in front of 5,000 people, it’s OK being in front of a small camera,” he said. “All that stuff doesn’t bother me.”

Hobdy and his family had planned to rent out a theater at Smitty’s Cinema in Windham for a watch party, but then realized that he and his wife would be on a long-awaited cruise, floating somewhere near Tortola in the British Virgin Islands when the episode airs this coming Friday.

They’ll try to stream it, Hobdy said, but at the very least, his family and friends will be watching. His dad watches “Undercover Boss” religiously.

Hobdy said he encourages anyone interested in pursuing a career in technology to do so. He changed careers at 34, switching from a job in juvenile corrections. Days once spent in a secure, locked-down facility are now spent out in the field, sometimes on an ATV, always somewhere different. 

“I do what I do on a daily basis, and I love my job, and it shows,” he said. “It showed for the right people.”

Comments are no longer available on this story