All posts by elijahshaw

Elijah Shaw is a senior security consultant who specializes in providing Executive Protection services to High Net-Worth Individuals, particularly those in the public eye and engaged in international travel. For more information visit

2011 Executive Protection Conference Wrap Up


The 2011 International Executive Protection Conference sponsored by ESI just wrapped and by all accounts it was a great success.     The good folks at Executive Security International were gracious hosts who combined industry vendors, engaging speakers, and of course valuable networking opportunities.  I plan to write more about the conference, of which I had the honor of presenting a lecture on the Perks & Pitfalls of Celebrity & VIP Protection, but right now I have to board a plane and get back to work.


Duty calls,


Elijah Shaw

Scholarships for Bodyguards


VIP offers Training Scholarship to Bodyguards Doing Good

4 full Scholarships to training academy offered annually

ST. PAUL, MN – August 1, 2011 – ICON Services Corporation a full service agency specializing in Celebrity, VIP & Executive Protection has partnered with an existing client to provide scholarships for their recognized bodyguard training programs.  The division, dubbed the ICON Academy was designed by ICON CEO Elijah Shaw, as a way to teach realistic training in the areas of close protection work that is more “hands on” than “abstract theory.”

The Angel Scholarship will be awarded based on the criteria of leadership abilities, contributions to community, individual character and financial needs.  Among other qualifications, the applicant must submit an 800 word essay on how they would positively influence the industry, as well as, log documented hours volunteering on a charitable project of their choice.

The scholarship benefactors, who have chosen to remain anonymous, believe in the value of quality training from a recognized program.  “As someone who has used personal security for some time now, it’s apparent that anyone can say they do the work, but those with a passion for protecting others should be recognized. Society rewards unscrupulous bodyguards for writing “tell all” books; however, I know there are individuals that live by a code of professionalism and I want to support them in their endeavors.”  Said one of the award benefactors.

About ICON Services Corporation

Established in 1998, ICON Services Corporation offers a full slate of services, including celebrity, VIP and executive protection internationally.  Having been voted as was one of the Top 20 Executive Protection Schools in the world by, the Minnesota-based ICON Academy has attracted students from all over the globe including Canada, South Africa & Australia.  The diverse roster is also proud to include former members of the United States Secret Service and the US Special Forces community among its alumni.


For more information, click HERE or call 651.695.8778


The Circuit Talks to Security Driving Expert Tony Scotti

A short time ago, Harlan Austin of sat down for an interview with Security Driving Expert, Tony Scotti, President of Tony Scotti Driving for The Circuit Magazine.   The wonderful conversation between two industry professionals, covered Vehicle Dynamics, Executive Protection and Tony’s views on the  current state of the industry.  Read an excerpt below.

Circuit Interview: With Tony Scotti


Tony Scotti is considered by many as one of the most influential individuals in the business. Like Bob Duggan and Dr. Richard Kobetz, he is a true pioneer in the field of executive protection. Tony’s niche is driver’s training; he is the most recognizable name in that field. Since the 70’s Tony has catered to the training needs of industry and public service agencies. He has trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies and military organizations to avoid the terrorist threat. For four decades Tony has conducted training programs in over 30 countries, he has trained students from 64 countries, and conducted training programs in five continents. He has conducted more training programs in more locations than any other private training institution in the world.


Question: Who or what inspired you to get involved in the field of executive protection?

Answer – It began with a moment of opportunity, which was followed by a life time of inspiration.  In the mid 70’s the concept of training people to avoid an ambush while in a vehicle was not common, and in fact almost unheard of. In 1974 two gentleman, Diego Arguello, a Cuban National, who worked security in Venezuela, and Steve Van Cleave, a security consultant and an original member of ASIS, took a chance on this new concept called “anti terrorist driving”, of which I was offered the opportunity to teach. I spent the mid 70’s conducting training throughout South America and the Middle East. The inspiration came from the positive results of the training and discovering how rewarding it was to apply my education as an engineer to this type of training.


Question: Do you think there is a particular personality type that is drawn to the executive protection business?

Answer – In my opinion, it attracts risk takers – not taking risk while on the job but taking the risk of getting into the business. They all seem to have a strong personality, have a high sense of morality and honor, and find that protecting people from harm is noble calling. I have found that the successful ones tend to be no ‘BS’ people and have a low tolerance for incompetence.


Question: What is the biggest misconception about executive protection?

Answer – This question includes more than one misconception. First, the misconception of those that hire the EP Agent is that the job can be done by anybody with a law enforcement or military background. Also, I feel it varies in accordance to the market. An example would be corporations who have a handle on what it takes to be an EP Agent. For the EP Agent, the misconception is that you can go to a school and come out and get a job. But by far the biggest misconception is that the job is all about reacting to a problem, when in my opinion the job is more cerebral than most in the business think it is.


Question: Tony many clients believe you can put anybody behind the wheel of a car; from your perspective how important is it to have a qualified driver on your detail?

Answer – I’m a bit prejudice about this subject. Driving is a measurable skill, and statistics point out that the likelihood of a problem occurring while the person is in the car is very high. For reason of safety and security, it is imperative that the driver be trained and their skills measured.  In fact, corporations now demand in their job descriptions that a driver must attend a training program that measures skill – it is a liability issue.


Question: What tips might you have for new people trying to break into the executive protection business?

Answer – Training, Determination, and Perseverance. Attend a recognized training program, one that has a good network of former students and teaches the core skills: driving – advancing – surveillance detection. These are the skills that show up on job descriptions. Be willing to start at the bottom. Become a student of the profession – learn as much about the business end of the industry as you would about the operational end of the industry. Network – network – and then network some more. Emulate those who are successful in the business – do the right thing and pass it forward.


Question: How has Executive Protection evolved over the past 25 years?

Answer – This could be and will eventually be the subject of a book. The first issue that comes to mind is that there are more people and training companies than there have been in the past and I’ don’t think the number of jobs have kept up with the pace of people entering into the business. There are new markets available that were not available as little as 7 years ago. Iraq and Afghanistan have changed the landscape of the business. As the threat evolved so has the skills and training needed to defeat the threat. The market is much more diverse than it has been in the past, but it is much easier to network and communicate with others. The job is much more sophisticated than it was in the past and those that hire are more demanding.


For the full article grab back issue issue #9 of The Circuit at   To pick up the latest issue of The Circuit as well as subscribe to future editions click HERE.

Police Crack Down on Bodyguards at Canada Awards Show

The issue of regulation and licensing of Executive Protection Agents (Bodyguards) has often been an area subject to challenge, and contention within the  Protection industry.  No matter were you fall on the issue, it appears that Canada has taken a vocal stance, using the International Indian Film Awards held in Toronto to illustrate their point.

Via the Canadian Press:

Police are set to lay nearly 150 charges, alleging numerous security guards working at the International Indian Film Awards show in Toronto last month weren’t properly licensed.

Two British nationals have already been charged for allegedly providing close protection to a Bollywood star without having the credentials to do so.

And another 142 charges are pending after a police investigation into private security services during the International Indian Film Academy awards, which hosted events from June 23 to 25.

They include 24 counts of employing an unlicensed security guard, 16 counts of working as an unlicensed security guard and 96 counts of licensed agency permit uniform violation.

For the full story click HERE.

How do you feel about it, good for the industry or no?


ICON Executive Protection Themed Targets

A couple years ago, I commented to the instructors of  ICON Services Corporation how during the live-fire drills of our training courses I would like to use a paper target that spoke more to our industry as Executive Protection Agents.  Prior to this, we had been using some of the fairly common full-color situational targets that law-enforcement and the military shoot for practice (some of which had to have been photographed during the Reagan-Era).  While some were pretty good, none of them seemed to give me exactly what I was looking for — the scenario where I, as an Executive Protection Agent, has to suddenly pull my firearm to defend my client (as opposed to disarming a masked robber or shooting Bin Laden as many of the targets on the market portray).  As mentioned, we tried a few… then tried a few more, but I still didn’t “love ’em”.
Then inspiration struck.  If I couldn’t find what I was looking for, then I might as well create it.  Long story short, ICON was able to partner with North America’s largest distributor of paper targets to create the ICON VIP Protection Target Line.  Shot by the wonderful photographer Kiki Koralesky of Contact Front Photography, our initial series of 6 has been well received and have been met with brisk enough sales for the manufacturer to request additional targets in the future.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Fast forward to July of 2011 where I got a note from a good friend of mine working in Afghanistan that referenced the “World being a small place“.  Turns out that while setting up some training with some other VERY distinguished Operators in that area of the world, he took a look at the paper targets they are using and guess what? –Yep, ICON.   While I do keep track though the distributor of the volume of sales, and realize that it’s not just the Close Protection community using them as orders have been place with Law Enforcement and Government Institutions, it was still nice to learn that the targets were serving their purpose in such a hostile area of the world.  The intent was to give the shooter a realistic situational target and in a region of the world where the stakes are as high as it gets, taking the time to train with the line speaks volumes.

Click here to learn more about the ICON VIP Protection Target Line.



Rupert Murdoch Attacked During News Corp Hearing

Rupert Murdoch narrowly avoided what at least initial reports claim to be a pie on the face live on international television.   As Mr. Murdoch and his son neared the end of testimony on the News Corp Phone Hacking scandal, an unknown assailant rushed into the area carrying a tin plate that contained a white cream substance.

Interesting enough, one of the first persons that appeared to respond was Mr. Murdoch’s wife Wendi Deng, (in the pink) who jumped up and lunged at the attacker with an open hand yelling “no, no”.   Law enforcement then reacted grabbing the man.    From the vantage point of the camera, no members of the Executive Protection team could be identified responding, but here’s hoping they were onsite and just slightly out of frame.

Click HERE for an initial report

*Updated*  From the video it appears as if a member of Mr. Murdoch’s Close Protection Team jumps up to respond from the right of the frame.



ICON Executive Protection Training

Just wrapped up Day 1 of the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Training Course.   The class was populated by a good group who came in with an open mind and ready to learn (the best type).  Regardless of pervious skill level, egos got checked at the door and everyone showed up ready to work.  Lot’s of ground work was covered on the fundamentals of  Close Protection, particularly as is relates to dealing with a clientele that spends a great portion of their careers in the spotlight.  I love to say we’re not teaching a course based purely off of “theory” but instead the instructors all do the work on a regular basis, and can teach from relevant hands on experience.

To learn more about the training click HERE.

Caption This 16

“Caption This” makes a return appearance as we ask  readers of Bodyguard Blog to supply their own witty comments to humorous Executive Protection/ Law Enforcement / Military related photos.

This weeks photo gives new meaning to “watch your step”.

So , let’s “Caption This…”


NOTICE, as some people have have some great comments but were ineligible to win the prize:

*To participate, leave your comment on AND on our Facebook Page at  The one with the most “likes” next to their comment will win a surprise gift.  (also remember, even if you are not leaving a comment, vote for the one you think is the most humorous.)

**Check out previous edition of Caption This by clicking HERE