Category Archives: current events

Tour Security & VIP Protection Training

ICON will officially be presenting our 5 day Celebrity Protection & Behavioral Analysis Course. Taught in conjunction with Executive Security International, the 1st class will be held February 22-26 in Colorado and I’m pretty honored to have the Bob Duggan, the founder of ESI teaching it alongside me.

In terms of new content, I will be diving deep into SUCCESSFULLY working with Celebrities who tour as well as well as those who attend high profile events such as red carpets and award shows.

What i’m really excited about is that throughout the program, Mr. Duggan will be integrating the science of Behavioral Intelligence, a subject he has a Master’s understanding of. If you work with celebrities or other high profile clientele, there is a likelyhood that you will encounter Disturbed or Fanatical individuals. From Stalkers to Psychopaths, we will be teaching how to identify these individuals early, as well as countermeasures to defeat their plans.

Click HERE for additional details.

 

There and Back Again

 

Fortunate to have been able to briefly break free from my operational schedule to fly into ESI – the Harvard of Executive Protection schools – to teach a module on Celebrity Protection. Tomorrow we discuss working with VIP’s traveling internationally and then I’m directly on a plane to do just that. — that’s about as contemporary as you can get.

 

 

The International Executive Protection Conference is Underway

Wrapped up a great day at the 2014 International Executive Protection & Secure Transportation Conference. While I got there a bit late due to an ongoing assignment, I had a chance to hear the majority of today’s presenters, catch up with professional colleagues that I had not seen in awhile, host an Alumni Only meeting with the many ICON Graduates in attendance, and finally go out for a huge dinner (and some great laughs) with a group of the Alumni. Considering I worked all night, went right from the assignment, to the plane, to the conference, saying it’s been a long day is a bit of an understatement. Whew.

Preparing for Emergency One Step at a Time

 

During the early morning hours I was abruptly woken up by the BLARING alarm system of the luxury hotel I was staying at. I immediately threw on some pants and grabbed the phone and called the front desk at the same time scooping my go-bag to head down the hall to the clients room.

The hotel front desk answered and the receptionist sheepishly responded (over the sound of the alarm) that it was a system test and should be over “soon.”  I was then able to confirm much the same with hotel security.

For the next 20 minutes the Public Announcement system played a variation of beeps, bongs and a voice that said, “please stand by while the incident is being investigated.  While I’m pretty convinced this was a system malfunction, not a “test,” it brought to mind emergency evacuation procedures in a high-rise building, particularly as we were located on the 28th floor. With that in mind, I took advantage of some downtime later in the day to do a dry run of one vital part of a high-rise evacuation: Don’t take the Elevator, use the stairs.

Rapidly descending 28 flights, is one thing but imagine doing it with a client in tow, plus the influx of hundred of others doing the same thing in a panic and the possibility of low lighting and smoke. This incident was another reminder that those of us in the Executive Protection field must, expect the unexpected, and beyond that, be prepared to deal with it, when it comes.

 

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Ex World Champion Boxer Killed in Botched Kidnapping

Kidnapping is a preferred method of criminal activity in many Central and South American Countries.  The targeting of high net worth individuals is particularly prevalent by the criminal underworld.

CARACAS, Venezuela — Former world champion boxer Antonio Cermeno was kidnapped and killed in his native Venezuela, police said Tuesday.

Cermeno, a WBA super bantamweight and featherweight champion in the 1990s, was found shot to death Tuesday on a road in the central state of Miranda, local police chief Eliseo Guzman said.

Guzman said Cermeno and other relatives were kidnapped Monday night near the La Urbina neighborhood in east Caracas. The relatives escaped when the kidnappers stopped to refuel the car, but the former boxer remained captive, Guzman said.

Cermeno, 44, retired in 2006 with a 45-7 record.

His slaying comes on the heels of the killing of popular soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear in early January. Robbers killed the 29-year-old and her former husband, Thomas Henry Berry, 39, on an isolated stretch of highway while the couple was returning to the capital by car with their 5-year-old daughter.

The high-profile slayings highlight spiraling violent crime in Venezuela, which is one of the spurs to opposition protests that have rocked the South American country in recent weeks. The United Nations ranks Venezuela’s homicide rate as the fifth highest in the world.

Click HERE for additional details on the story

ICON Academy Executive Protection Social Summit Speakers List

 

Summit Group (Circuit Ad) 1

Executive & Celebrity Protection – The Overlooked Components
Elijah Shaw, Director
The ICON AcademyElijah Shaw hosts an interactive round-table discussion with an engaging mix of seasoned veterans and talented journeymen, challenging both the audience and the panel to strategize solutions to elevate the craft, and figure out how to combat the negative stereotypes that plague our industry. Present the scenario. Ask the Network. Solve the Problem.

Surviving An Active Shooter – Lessons Learned From Kenyan Mall And Other Places Around The World
Mark “Six” James, Executive Director
Panther Protection ServicesPresented from an Executive Protection perspective, the topic focuses on understanding the psychology and mindset of the shooter, the respective environmental conditions and the tactics required to survive an active shooting situation. We all know the profession is a serious one, but in an active shooter environment, every decision made could mean the difference between life and death.

Beyond Getting Noticed – “Getting Selected”
Eric Konohia, President
BPI GroupThe important step from a decision maker that weighs far heavier than even getting noticed is the process in which they make final selection. The underlying factor in the final selection is TRUST. Learn the several factors in which TRUST is measured and evaluated as discussed from a decision maker’s perspective.

Perform As Advertised
Raffaele Di Giorgio, CEO
Global Options & SolutionsIt has to be more than a catchphrase. Do we understand that doing extraordinary things does not take an extraordinary skill set? Instead, it takes a mastery of the basics and the ability to perform them flawlessly under extreme circumstances. There are many that claim they work the craft, but when the challenges occur, how will they respond?

Nigeria: The Anatomy Of An Attack On Principal By Someone Arms Length Away
Benjamin Alozie, International Director
ICON GlobalSince the last Summit, the slogan, “Real World vs. Textbook” has made its way into the lexicon of many Executive Protection Specialists, however, nowhere is it more apparent than when working international. Benjamin Alozie presents a sanitized but 100% true account of the stakes that go into protecting a High Net Worth Individual in a third world country when an attack occurs.

Special Guest Speaker
Transitioning From the Military to Civilian Protection Work
Dr. Leonard C. Holifield, CPS, CGSP, CHS
President/CEO/Founder

IAEPAExploring the process of individuals such as myself coming out of the military service and transitioning from Military Service into Civilian Life. How do you do that and create a successful career in Executive Protection, Security or Law Enforcement? The reality is, many soldiers come out of the service with the “Military Mind-Set”, one that can be either a “Hindrance” or a “Benefit” depending on how it is used in the industry. Join me in shedding light on the transitioning process using my own personal experiences and others who have successfully crossed over from military service into the private security field.

Special Guest Speaker
Continuing Education – The Pathway to Industry Success
Misty Ladd, M.S, CPP, PCI, CPOI
Manager of Security Services

Whelan SecurityIn the current mindset of global security concerns what is the next evolution in the career of the modern day professional? This presentation will cover several theories about how today’s professional Protector can add value to an organization or client, and become more successful by continuing their education. It is not enough in this competitive economic environment to simply perform your daily tasks- you must train and educate to create your own “brand”. Certifications available, educational programs, and other tips will be offered to guide a current practitioner (whether novice or expert) through the process of obtaining industry success through the benefits of continued education.

Special Keynote Speaker
Best Practices for Protecting The Affluent
Dr. Paul Viollis Sr., PH.D.
CEO

Risk Control StrategiesWealth brings considerable attention and security exposure to families across the globe. Dr. Paul Michael Viollis, Sr., CEO of Risk Control Strategies (RCS), the nation’s leading security adviser to the high-net worth community, is a renowned expert on workplace security, counter terrorism threat assessment, and private client security, providing security solutions to affluent community for many years. By giving pragmatic advice and strategic countermeasures, Dr. Viollis supplies a security blueprint that can not only be deployed during a crisis, but can also help to preemptively mitigate risks.

Agenda

  • Validating the threat level
  • Conducting the vulnerability assessment
  • Creating secure electronic communications
  • Crafting the crisis management & emergency response plan
  • Implementing thorough employer/contractor background screening
  • Establishing an investigative due diligence process prior to all relationships/investments
  • Estate security protocols and Home invasions countermeasures
  • Travel security / personal protection
  • Safeguarding luxury assets (i.e., Yachts, Aircraft, Art)
  • Special event security

 

 

To learn more about the 2nd Annual ICON Academy Executive Protection Social Summit, Click HERE

Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela

 

While on an assignment, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Mandela in person several years ago. At the time I was in full work mode, so there was nothing but the briefest of greetings, however, he still extended me the courtesy of a firm handshake. Madiba was of those individuals who will be remembered in helping define this century.

Honor.  Determination.  Fortitude.  Perseverance.  Those are certainly qualities that the Executive Protection community can emulate.

 

May he rest in peace as he has certainly earned it.

Principal Protection, Lessons Learned Book Q&A

Principal Protection; Lessons Learned

 

A Q&A between Benjamin Alozie of the Summit Group  & R.E. “Rick” Colliver, Author of Principal Protection; Lessons Learned

 

First off, how did you come up with the title of the book, Principal Protection; Lessons Learned?

Good question, answerable in two parts…having been a student of the art since 1977 (my first detail was actually for President Gerald Ford in 1974, but I was a military “volunteer” for that one), I noticed how different schools and different protection personnel couldn’t agree on what it was we did for a living…Executive Protection, Dignitary Protection, Personal Protection etc. So I looked at what our job was and broke it down to the basics: we protect Principals. Henceforth, the course that we developed for the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy carried that name. Depending on where you find your career taking you, the skills you learn protecting a military officer in a combat theater can help you transition to protecting a corporate executive. The skills you learned protecting a Governor, could also prepare you to protect a football player or entertainer. You still protect Principals.

The second part of the answer is that we live in an era where people want to know “why” as often as they want to know “what”. In other words, why do we do something this way or that way”?   When you look at how protection has evolved over the past three thousand years, you’ll see that almost every significant development that got us where we are today, occurred as a result of someone getting assaulted or killed. As a matter of procedure, almost all of the big details require a debrief at the conclusion of every protection mission. This gives participants a chance to analyze what went right and what went wrong. Thus, we improve our performance and capabilities by analyzing “lessons learned”.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t invent anything in the book…no patents on new technology, no major improvements in any process. All I did was bring together the teachings of a great many professionals who, every time they got bloodied on the job, got back up and figured out a new way to do things.

 

What inspired you to make the commitment to sit down and write the book?

Actually, it started out as handouts that we used in our protection classes to support lectures. Every year, the handouts got larger and larger, and one day the OPOTA course coordinator said, “Why don’t you write a book?” As I was driving home scratching my head, it suddenly hit me that I already had most of the research and material knocked out. I just put it all together…which probably explains why it won’t win any awards for impeccable continuity.

 

Please forgive me, however this is a serious question, in the digital age of YouTube and Facebook, do people even read anymore?

Good friend and Varro Press President Michael Nossaman and I have had several discussions about the trends in print vs. electronic media. I think we are seeing a gradual reduction in printed text and an increase in online sources and electronic readers like Kindle. The libraries of the past may soon fit into your pocket. With that in mind, I will be making Principal Protection; Lessons Learned available on Kindle after the first of the year. I am also working with an applications engineer and a former broadcast journalist to create an app for cell phones that will facilitate advance work and protective intelligence collation, while on the road.  More to follow on that!

 

What were some of the challenges that you encountered while writing the book?

Continuity and innovation. Because this was pieced together over a 15-20 year period, it was a challenge to make sure what made it into final print was current and accurate, and fit together with all the other pieces. Also, there have been a hundred or so books written about protection over the years and I wanted this one to be different. Unfortunately, as I said, there’s nothing “new” in there. I just took the old stuff and put it all together in a format that gives you what you need in a compact package. Hopefully though, we give readers a comprehensive reference that will help them do their jobs.

 

Why should Principal Protection; Lessons Learned, be on the read list of professionals in the industry?

This is not another “how-to” book on protection – it is more of a “why-to”. Security is one of the first line-items to get reduced in a corporate budget, because we aren’t seen as a profit center. Add to that the IRS Rule that makes some organizations report their EP costs in public filings, and we quickly see how the burden falls to provide adequate protection at minimal cost. This means that we can’t afford to send 4-agent details everywhere the Protectee goes. We have to manage protection according to anticipated risk, threat and exposure. Thus, if we can educate security managers with “why” we need to do things, then they can use their own creativity to implement successful protection plans even when they don’t have human assets on duty. Teaching people how to walk around in a Diamond formation, or how to ram a car, really doesn’t do this. Those are reactive skills, which, when you think about it are totally subordinate to our protective mission — which is to prevent intentional and unintentional harm from affecting the Protectee. We are hired to keep them out of harm’s way – not to stage dramatic rescues…spinning back-kicks…mid-air interception of speeding bullets and the like. Protection specialists need to have a personal toolbox full of both hard and soft skills. However, in the long run, the soft skills will keep you and your boss alive longer.

 

Are there any emerging security trends that you think Protectors need to take notice of in order to more successfully operate in the years to come?

Technologically, we are seeing more things done by video analytics that used to be done by humans. I encourage everyone to attend an ASIS conference sometime just to find out what kinds of new products are hitting the market. You need to be able to successfully integrate electronic and human security programs that support the Protectee’s business objectives, so that they will feel that you are adding value.

Protection specialists need to increase their personal training portfolios to include topics like Crisis Management, Disaster Response and Environmental Health and Safety. I know we all enjoy the hands-on training like shooting and car-spinning, but are we familiar with the difference between a rickettsia and a virus, or the various ways that anthrax can be introduced into the human system. Wouldn’t it be a shame that as we did our bomb sweep of the venue, we walked right past a chemical weapon because we didn’t know what it was? If you have a tornado or earthquake affecting thousands or millions of people, do you have a plan to get around?

 

Is there any other specific advice you would like to share with your audience beyond the pages of the book?

Build your network. Attend events like EPIC and the ICON Summit because that’s where you will meet people that can make your job easier. Take professional training from qualified schools because that will get your professional network started. When you complete an EP program, the people in your graduating class will be your friends and peers for the rest of your career!

 

 

R. E. “Rick” Colliver has served as the global security director for two multi-national corporations with operations in 24 time zones, and has managed protection details on four continents. He is the course developer and lead instructor in the Principal Protection program at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and is an adjunct instructor in protective operations through several police, military and academic organizations. He has held security clearances with the US DoD and DHS, and serves as an advisory board member with the American Board for Certification in Dignitary and Executive Protection, and a Council Member for the Protective Security Council.

Benjamin Alozie is a member of the Summit Group and the International Director of ICON Global, responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures of the firms international operations.  Benjamin has extensive experience working on multiple continents with a special emphasis on Africa and Europe.  With a background that includes the ability to speak 7 different languages and multiple dialects, Benjamin has conducted long term Protective Assignments for Foreign Heads of States traversing the world.

 

Purchase Principal Protection; Lessons Learned HERE.  Meet Rick Colliver and discuss his book and other Executive Protection Industry Topics at the 2nd Annual ICON Academy Social Summit.  Learn more about the Summit HERE.

 

 

 

Prep Time for the ICON Executive Protection Social Summit

January is right around the corner, and we are preparing for our Second Annual ICON Executive Protection Academy Social Summit.  This time around we have expanded on last years sold out event into two days of wall to wall activities, with the networking “socials” taking place in the evenings.

Once again I have been fortunate enough to have a speaking roster of  contemporary individuals involved in the Executive Protection craft on hand to deliver some great topics at this invitation only gathering.

 

Attendees of the 1st Annual ICON Academy Social Summit
Attendees of the 1st Annual ICON Academy Social Summit

 

Raffaelle Di Giorgio, Eric Konohia, Elijah Shaw, Mark James & Benjamin Alozie of the Summit Group
Raffaelle Di Giorgio, Eric Konohia, Elijah Shaw, Mark James & Benjamin Alozie of the Summit Group
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Elijah Shaw the Executive Director of the ICON Academy speaks to a Summit Attendee

 

To learn more about the 2nd Annual Social Summit held January 25 & 26, 2014 click HERE.

Are there Vacations For Bodyguards?

 

Some say they want to do Executive Protection, however if you come into this industry thinking you will be working a 9-5 you may be in for a bit of a culture shock.   If you think being a bodyguard is glamorous, you might want to do your research and get a clear picture of the continued investment of time and energy that going into protecting clients.  For example here’s a snapshot from a few days ago:

Friday: Protection Assignment end time 4am.

Saturday: 6am flight. Protection Assignment. Full day. Hit the ground running. Assignment end: 4am

Sunday & Monday: 6am flight. Two *Full* Days Instructing at ESI

Tuesday: 6am flight out of the country.

One day I’m going to leave my cell phone at home, find a quiet lake, take a book and a pole with me and just wait for fish to jump on my hook.  🙂