Category Archives: Awards

Grammy Stage Crasher, Nuisance or Security Threat?

 

So remember the guy that tried to Kiss Will Smith in the mouth last summer?

Same guy who crashed the stage during Adele’s acceptance speech Sunday.  (He also snuck into the Grammy’s and got a 2nd row camera seat before making his way on stage besides JLo and Pitbull).  CLICK HERE TO VIEW.

Adele

How did I know this before the news even broke to the national media? Because I kept a file on the guy that I reviewed before heading to the Ukraine with a client last year.

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Ask yourself, what if the guy tried to plant a kiss on one of the entertainers that were on the stage?  Would anyone (outside of the artist) have been able to prevent that?  This is why I believe the job is so much more than just standing around waiting for something to happen and then reacting.

This particular incident is an excellent example of why the protective agent’s role has to include Protective Intelligence and is still very necessary even with the presence of  event security.   The mantra of Celebrity Protection and Executive Protection is to “Protect the Client from Harm”, that means protecting their physical well being AND their image.

For additional analysis you can contact me HERE.

An Open Letter Regarding the ICON Bodyguard Scholarship Program

 

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.

Sincerely,

Curtis Greene

ICON 2011 ALUMNI

New “Caption This” Winner

Results are in for the latest installment of the Bodyguard Blog/ Facebook Caption This… Contest.

The golden ring this edition goes to Russ Saunders from the great State of Wisconsin:

‎"Well," Commander Chong thought to himself, " I probably could have been more specific when I yelled "cover me." ~ Russ Saunders

This week prize is a full set of the ICON VIP Protection Paper Targets, the first line of targets produced for the Executive Protection Professional.  To order your own set click HERE.

Caption This 12 Contest Results

So the results are in for the first ever Bodyguard Blog/ Facebook “Caption This…”  Contest, and ready there are troubles at the polls:

While there is a clear winner at 7 “likes” out of the 24 entries, said winner just happens to be my brother Akeem, so I’m sure there has to be some fine print somewhere about relatives winning the prize.   To solve this, we’ll just give Akeem honorary mention, and award the prize to the second runner up Mr. Rickey “Swifty” Beever.

Ricky, enjoy the gloves, and we’ll look forward to future comments from you!

"quick get him before he gets to the escalators". ~ Ricky Beever

and for honorary mention

“Now maybe these senior citizen mall walkers will know we mean business!” ~ Akeem Khan

To participate in future contest, make sure you join the ICON Services Facebook page HERE.

The Alpha Male Trait in Executive Protection

Playing Well With Others

by Elijah Shaw

The 2011 Grammy Awards is a very prestigious event.  Every A-List celebrity you can think of in the entertainment industry; musicians, actors, models, but more importantly decision makers, shot callers and handlers are in attendance.  For the Security Professional operating in the celebrity arena, it’s the equivalent of your team going to the super bowl – It likely took hard work to get there, it raises your profile, but the stakes are dramatically higher.  In addition there’s the added pressure that, as opposed to working one on one, with your Principal you are now moving your client in an environment where he or she may not be the most famous person in the room.  Things may take a little longer to happen, there are additional security procedures that apply to everyone and the undivided attention and assistance you once got from support staff is now splintered.  In short your VIP is now one Very Important Person amongst many.

The problem I see too many in our industry make when faced with this situation is that instead of adapting, we try and throw their weight around.   We become belligerent to the PA’s (personal assistants) who are in charge with navigating us around the event.  We become acrimonious with law enforcement that has been given strict orders that in a place where “everybody is somebody “ all need to submit to security screening. Most telling of all, we sometimes treat our counterparts working close protection as adversaries as opposed to allies.

It’s that last point that I’ve found so fascinating in my many years in the industry.  While I fully acknowledge that a contributing factor to success as a bodyguard is the “Alpha Male” Personality, I’ve never understood why when you put more than 3 of us in a room who are not on a detail together you can see territorial lines being drawn almost as clearly as if they were written with crayon.

Now don’t get me wrong there are definite exceptions to this rule (I try hard to consider myself one of them).  There are some great guys and gals in the industry that every time I see them it’s an opportunity to combine intel and share resources.  When on an event similar in scope to the Grammy’s we provide introductions to key staff and alert each other to any security or logistical problems.  But more often than not, I see agents eyeing each other with suspicion and barley veiled contempt.  You can almost hear their thoughts out loud:

“How did this guy get that client? I’m so much better than he is.”

“That’s not how you escort the Principal, diamond formations always work better than box.”

“This guy is standing too close to my client’s door, is he trying to steal my client”?

I know this situation is not unique to the Celebrity Protection market.  My associates that operate in some of the more hostile areas of the world tell me about protection teams sizing each other up all the time.  Of course the stakes are different when you’re in Iraq or Papa New Guinea.  The point I’m trying to make is: Think how much could be accomplished if  simply we adjusted our mindset that other EP Agents and event staff were all working for the same goal – The safeguarding of the individuals inside that collective circle of protection.    Sometimes those rings will overlap and when they do, I’ll look at others providing services not as nuisances but as brothers (or sisters) at arms dealing with their own set of challenges.  I believe that an attitude like this will pay back in dividends in the long run.

Read the full story in The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards by ordering HERE.

CIA Awards Blackwater 100 Million to Protect

The Central Intelligence Agency has retained Xe (Blackwater) to provide security services in Afghanistan, the agency’s director confirmed.

CIA Director Leon Panetta, appearing on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday, said the agency had awarded Xe Services LLC a contract to protect its installations in Afghanistan. The contract, reported by the Washington Post to be worth $100 million, is in addition to a separate contract Xe has with the State Department to protect U.S. officials in the country.

In short: Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.

Full Story: CIA Hires Blackwater

See related:  Blackwater Receives Afghan Contract

ICON CEO, Elijah Shaw Honored with Business Award

On June 25, 2009 Icon Services Corporation CEO, Elijah Shaw will be receiving the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal’s Minority Business Owners Award. The award celebrates the diversity of business and recognizes business owners, corporate executives and advocates who were nominated based on a number of factors including business growth, success in the marketplace and community involvement.

For more infomation on the the award, and presentation dinner, click HERE.

Related Article: Business Journal Profile

ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course Training (June)