To the ICON Selection Committee:
I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to all responsible parties for making the Icon Academy Training Scholarship possible. I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support. The Icon Celebrity & VIP Protection Course that I attended was truly a learning experience that I intend to use to further my career in the Executive Protection Industry.
I’m currently a law enforcement officer with over fifteen years of experience which has included serving on SWAT, the Gang Unit, the Street Crime Unit, as well as being assigned to the Housing Authority Unit. I can honestly say that being a law enforcement officer does not instantly qualify one to be a bodyguard. While the overall intentions of both an officer and bodyguard are to protect, the methods of protection differ, in some cases dramatically.
During my training at ICON, the CEO, Elijah Shaw touched on different subjects such as the profiles of a celebrity, the challenges one would face in the industry, and of course the responsibilities of a bodyguard. One of the things I enjoyed was that the classroom time was never strictly lectures; we also participated in a variety of drills and exercises that ensured we understood the subject matter. Also during class, we were being pushed physically by several of the instructors, including Justin Newcomb, a champion Mixed Martial Arts fighter who I now know to be a quiet and reserved pillar in the industry. Justin Johnson, another talented instructor who is also active in the operational side of the industry, (an important point) provided extensive firearms training during the course that imparted me with some valuable tools.
The week was also filled with some very prominent guest instructors who are very recognizable names in the industry such as Tony Scotti of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute and Mark “Six” James, of Panther Protection Services. Both were gracious enough to offer their expertise and answer off-the-subject questions during breaks. I would certainly suggest future students research these individuals so they can fully appreciate what their presence and participation says about the program.
The last part of the training concluded with our participation in a real life Security Detail (one of several running simultaneously). I had the honor of being chosen to be team leader, and responsible for an actual celebrity VIP, T*** D***, of VH1 reality show, “Scream Queens” from the moment her plane arrived in the city. The assignment was a learning experience in which me and my team were able to take our classroom training and apply it in the most hands on way possible. Everything that Mr. Shaw and the other instructors introduced in class became reality. In short they capped an already impressive course with the best illustration I could think of involving understanding what it takes to be bodyguard on a Celebrity security detail.
In closing, I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to get in the industry or advance their current skills. I would like to thank the Selection Committee for making the opportunity possible. While I am not sure if anything like this scholarship program currently exists elsewhere in the industry, it makes perfect sense that it would be found at ICON as they appear to be innovators. Please thank Mr. Shaw, who I found to be a humble individual whose reputation preceded him, along with the staff, guest instructors, and VH1’s, T*** D***. I promise you I will continue along this path to success in the Executive Protection field and eventually give something back to others. I see myself doing this both as a Professional Bodyguard and as well as an Alumnus who will donate towards the ICON Academy scholarship providing a rare opportunity for a future student like myself.
ICON 2011 ALUMNI