Category Archives: Business

When Your Client Asks You to Break The Law

Industry Vet Harlan Austin of Bodyguard Careers wrote an interesting commentary regarding the “gray area” clients can find themselves in and what happens to the Executive Protection Agent when he’s asked to do (or conceal something) that could be illegal. Harlan uses some current examples in the news and brings up some interesting points.

“I can imagine how a young person, who is being paid a hefty salary could be convinced by an employer to conduct themselves in ways that serve their employer, but harm themselves. Which is why it is vital that bodyguards not become “star-struck” with the celebrity they are paid to protect. It is important to remember that these individuals–no matter how famous, rich, or influential–are people who are subject to the same laws and will suffer consequences for illegal actions.”

You can read the whole artice here and see if you agree.

Executive Protection Video Interview

A direct link to the interview series with Conde Nast Portfolio Magazine on the World of Security and the differences associated with Executive Protection, Celebrity Security and High Risk Overseas Details.

And if you hadn’t seen it before, you can check out the companion article here.

UK Paper Covers What You Need To Be A Bodyguard

Ran across a good article on Executive Protetion in the London Paper, The Independent. Pretty accurate and well written. Like I always say, our industry needs as much positive coverage as it can get.

It’s more about brains than brawn, says Chris Hoare, who has worked in the industry for 10 years and owns the security company Cerberus Protection. “My job is to think ahead and prevent bad situations arising in the first place,” he explains.

The work of a close-protection officer, as it’s now more often called, can involve accompanying Arab royalty or celebrities on shopping trips, ensuring the safety of defendants in high-profile court cases, or attending corporate AGMs to protect the top brass from disgruntled shareholders or green protesters. Experienced bodyguards can also find more dangerous but lucrative work abroad – Hoare spent two years in Iraq looking after ammunition-disposal teams and escorting convoys.”

Click behind the link for the full story.

What Event Planners Need To Look For In Security

with the 2008 Democratic & Republican National Conventions right around the corner, Event Solutions Magazine recently asked me to write a column for their readers discussing the various types of security concerns savvy planners should be aware of when putting on events of various sizes. Below is an excerpt from their March 2008 issue.

“Often when [event] planners begin their work, security arrangements are relegated to the bottom of the to-do list. But when security becomes an afterthought, procedures are put into place that creates headaches such as bottlenecks at entrances and exits. It’s easier for security to be proactive rather than reactive, so build a relationship that fosters early communication between you and security.

In the wake of post-9/11 terrorism concerns, longer lines at the airport are understood but no client wants to endure long lines at a corporate event. So security planning, like successful event planning, comes down to the details.

The most important part of a security professional’s job is in the risk assessment phase i.e., what disaster could possibly happen and how could I prevent it? An experienced security coordinator will ask you for the big picture, then start cutting the pie into smaller segments, such as physical security, crowd control, loss prevention, first aid and disaster preparation. Even if your venue has some form of security on-site, you may be wise
to bring in your own security team to monitor guest lists, VIP speakers and the cash box.

If you’re dealing with VIPs who travel with their own security, discuss with their security the run of show and special needs the VIP may have.”

Managing an event amongst all the chaos is not an easy job neither for the wedding planners nor the security, but despite all this it is their duty to take care and manage everything. If you are in the market and are searching for a trusted event planner, then click here.

To read the full article, click here.

Event Planners can also subscribe to and receive the latest issue of Event Solutions (For Free) by visiting:

Elijah Shaw, CEO
Icon Services Corporation

Elijah Shaw Featured in Black Enterprise Magazine

Black Enterprise did a feature on yours truly regarding the tactics and challenges I used to build the company.  

“It’s definitely a balancing act,” says Elijah Shaw about running Icon Services Corporation. As President and CEO of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based full service, security and investigative agency, specializing in executive and VIP protection, Shaw knows a thing or two about creating a multimillion-dollar company. Here, the 34-year-old offers strategies for taking your business to the next level.

Plan B with A. Before he started Icon Services, Shaw knew he wanted a corporate structure that would also generate revenue without his direct involvement. For example, one of Icon Services’ biggest clients is Ford Motor Company, which uses Icon Services to handle background checks. “If I’m going to be in this high-risk industry, I was at least going to have a backup plan in place,” he says.

Think unconventionally.Shaw encourages entrepreneurs to look outside the box. “Just because everybody’s doing everything the same way, does not mean you have to as well. “Approach things a little bit differently,” encourages Shaw. “You don’t have to recreate the wheel, but just take a look at what people in other industries are doing and ask yourself: How can I apply it to whatever my business plan is?”

Click on the above text For more of the online segment.  For the full piece check out the March 2008 issue of Black Enterprise Magazine on newsstands now. 


Entrepreneur Magazine Covers Dangerous Professions

…and why people take the risks they do. 

 “Some like the challenge and thrill. Some don’t anticipate the risks initially, yet see the higher profile of the job as exciting,” “Though the frequent response we hear is that they ‘want to be where they can help’ or ‘someone has to do it; why not me?'” –Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass

You can check the full article from Entreprenur Magazine here

Elijah Shaw with client 50 Cent

How to Succeed in the Bodyguard Business


Executive Protection News  put out a list of the top 10 ways to succeed in the Bodyguard Business.  I thought the list was dead on, and is something that those entering the industry and those wanting to take more out of it should take heed to.

5. Have a good contract.

A good contract is a must. What’s a good contract? One that protects you and one that collects for you. As a lawyer once told me, “You shouldn’t write your own contracts.” The executive protection business is high risk in terms of liability and exposure. Executive Protection is serious business and lives are at stake. You’ll need your contract before, and long after you use a weapon. Get an attorney to develop an executive protection specific contract. Whatever you do, don’t head down to your local big box stationary store and buy a home repair contract and try to wordsmith it.

6. Your Reputation is your business.

Reputation sells. It can also end your business as fast as it can start it. Be honest and reliable. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a high paying assignment if there’s the slightest bit of risk to your reputation. Here’s why: Your reputation will last longer than your assignment. You might make money in the short-term but if you sully your reputation in the process, you better make that money last.

7. Start small but think big.

Whenever you’re starting out, take assignments that build up your portfolio of experience. You might have to be a subcontractor or independent contractor but when you are starting out, every thing has a pay-off. Maybe you aren’t the Shift Leader, Detail Leader or the Lead Advance. Maybe your assignment is to stand watch “in the corn field at midnight.” So be it. As long as the assignment is honest and you get paid, it has value. Consider such assignments as escorting jewelry dealers, or serving as an executive chauffer as good starting points.

visit Executive Protection News for the full list.

Tour Security: How To Survive In 10 Easy Steps



  1. Learn the value of a durable suitcase and a portable steamer.If you are on the road for any duration of time, the case is going to take a beating and what’s packed in it usually will never be “ready to wear”.Of course if your lucky, the nicer hotels may do your ironing for you at no charge.
  2. Remember: Reporters are not your friends (most times). Say something and you might be (mis)quoted, so its best to point them to a publicist or someone else in the camp.  With that said, the worst person to be rude to is the media. You might not even get mentioned by name, but it could cast your client (and therefore potential future earnings) in a bad light.
  3. For over the road travel try and purchase polo shirts in bulk.  While some guys do the “white Tee” look, I lean more towards the black polo tops.You can pretty much find them at Foot Lockers everywhere. Inexpensive, quick to throw on (and fits well over a bulletproof vest if necessary).
  4. Be careful what you eat, especially in a foreign country.  Running back and fourth to an airplane lavatory is not fun. And let’s not even discuss tour bus facilities.
  5. Always pack your own luggage!TSA security does not care who you work for. Also, for those of us who carry firearms, we also know the additional hassle of trying to check one in prior to boarding, so give yourself extra time.
  6. Make sure you take advantage of all the frequent flier programs.   An insider secret is that while outside parties usually make the arrangements and pay for the bodyguards travel, in most cases the actual traveler gets the mileage credit.  A worldwide tour (provided your not flying private) could easily mean a few free roundtrip tickets when you finally do get some downtime.
  7. Learn to tip (even if it’s with your own money).  It’s going to make your job smoother with the public. Be it a restaurant host, a hotel bellman or a club bouncer you need to pull in for some additional backup, tipping will make the process of having your VIP truly treated like one go a lot easier.
  8. Avoid Groupies.  ‘Nuff said.
  9. Find the hotel gym, not the hotel bar.In theory Close Protection Agents are on call, so you don’t want to be pounding a few down when something happens.
  10. This is the most important one:Remember why you are there.Sure a tour means seeing new and exciting people, places and things, but the role of the Executive Protection Agent is to be the first line of defense in protecting your client from harm.Often in a tour setting you might find yourself playing several different positions just to make it all run smoother, but no one in our profession wants to be known as the person who was on the scene when something goes bad and couldn’t fix the problem. Or worse yet, was too distracted to notice. Learn more about tour specifics.