Category Archives: Elijah Shaw

The Return

 

Apologies for the lack of updates on Bodyguard Blog.  The one thing we have always stressed is that the blog is an insiders look into the Executive Protection business.  That encompases staying actively involved in the craft, not talking about something you did 20 years ago (or never).  For the last few months I have have been on assignments that have taking me  literally around the world and back. I’ll try and get some posts up in the upcoming weeks that speak to some of the experiences (with respect to confidentially and OPSEC of course).

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Real World vs. Textbook

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Dressing the Modern Bodyguard

 

Choose the Right Suit for the Job

Quality matters, but you don’t have to go and drop several thousand on a new wardrobe.   Building a complete wardrobe happens over time, acquiring a few pieces here and there that you can mix and match.  Think dark blue as an excellent launch pad when it comes to colors.  Neat is what you should be going for, but not too tight.  Remember, if we there is a problem,  we are suppose to be able to move in those things.

Empty Suit Jacket Pockets

Those two flaps on the side of the suit jacket? They are not for “stuff,” they are for show.  Put something in it and the bulges are very apparent (and sloppy looking).  Instead use your inside pocket, “GO bag” or belt.

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Get your suit tailored around your “tools”

If you are carrying a firearm, handcuffs, flashlight, etc. those bulges will show.  Instead when you go to get your suit tailored (and every suit should be tailored) do it with your gear on.  (Note:  make sure you let them know what you do professionally in advance so you don’t scare anyone).

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Don’t get sloppy with the knot

A properly tied tie can make or break an outfit.   Learn the difference between a Windsor, a Half Windsor and a Four in Hand.  And while clip on ties might sound straight out of Junior Prom, there is a great case to be made that bodyguards should not wear anything that could be used as a strangulation aide in the event of a hands-on altercation.

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Female Protectors- Dress to equalize the odds

High heels are nice and fashionable but for an assignment extremely impractical.  Stick to flats.  Same with skirts and dresses, look at the secret service model – suit jacket, slacks and a “don’t even think about it” attitude.

 

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ESI, ICON and Strengthening Relationships

 

Just completed two days as an instructor at Executive Security International (ESI) as part of their highly regarded residential Executive Protection Program.  While there , I covered two topics that i’m intimately familiar with —Celebrity Protection and later International Travel for High Net-Worth Individuals.  ESI is considered to be the Harvard of the bodyguard industry, so i’m proud to have an ongoing relationship with them as an instructor.  With so many divisions in the industry, the ability  to put cooperation before completion to work towards common goals is a great thing.

ICON CEO Elijah Shaw & ESI President Bob Duggan
ICON CEO Elijah Shaw & ESI President Bob Duggan

Student Review of ICON Executive Protection Training

 

As part of my continuing training, I recently attended the ICON Executive Protection Academy Celebrity & VIP protection course directed by Elijah Shaw.  As I am sure others have done, I completed a great deal of research on viable programs that I felt would provide training and education in the executive protection field.  Additionally, I viewed numerous video links that provided examples of the training and the instructors providing the training.  As a consequence of this review, I chose ICON and applied for acceptance into the program.  What followed is a training experience that will remain with me forever.  The first part of the first day of class was the usual getting to know your instructors, the outline of the program and the introduction of the fellow attendees.  However, what quickly followed was an intense submersion into the realities of the protection specialist, especially as it pertained to those dealing with the world of entertainment.

To say the instructors were knowledgeable would be an understatement.  Each instructor was a professional and the base of knowledge provided was extensive and varied, with an obvious grounding in reality based protection operations. Many of them were awarded master degree with scholarship.  Each instructor was a current operator in the field and brought their own unique perspective to the class.  Each complimented the other instructors in providing a true picture of the world of executive protection in this demanding field; this was a true example of professionalism.  The candor and expertise of each presenter was the cornerstone of the program and took each of us, as students, through a step-by-step process.

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This ICON program is one for those seeking a clear and accurate picture of the world of celebrity protection. Each day progressed further and further in its scope ranging from the requirements for the protection specialist remaining in good physical condition to dealing with the methodology of attacks. In between these two ranges were multiple hands-on exercises that emphasized the physical and mental requirements necessary to protect the client.  These techniques reinforced the necessary skills that one will be required to employ while performing protection operations.

The final group exercise was exactly what it implies, an in-depth culmination of training applications in a very “real world” protection operation. It provided the opportunity for each of the students to apply what they have learned and to obtain feedback immediately on operational preparedness and application. The experience was one that could not be replicated in the classroom and was invaluable in the learning environment.

The final individual exercise was the capstone event that provided individual assessment of the agent. The event scenarios exampled possible situations that may be applied in a single protection detail and forced the executive protection specialist to make numerous decisions affecting success or failure. The overall effect provided reinforcement of lessons learned.  This capstone event fostered a positive feedback program that ensured a unique and positive learning environment.

For anyone considering an executive, VIP or celebrity protection program, I would recommend the ICON Executive Protection Academy.  The real world experience, the caliber of the program and the caliber of instructors provide, in my opinion, one of the best programs available.

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Rodney Andreasen, ICON Alumni

Rodney Andreasen is currently a County Emergency Management Director in the state of Florida directing emergency operations and response.  He served 21 year on active duty in the United States Air Force performing numerous duties including security operations and educational training and development.  He currently holds certification as a Florida Professional Emergency manager within the state of Florida and national certification as a Certified Emergency Manager. He holds masters degrees from the Naval Post Graduate School, Auburn University – Montgomery and the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

 

To learn more about the program or enroll in the ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Courses, click HERE.

 

Certified Security Driving – A Student’s Review

 

By Einar Myklebust

While recently attending the ICON Executive Protection Academy I found that one of the skills they stressed over and over as vital to an individual working in the protection business was to have knowledge of motor vehicles and how they work.  I mean as protectors working with clients, we spend a lot of time in and around cars.  When asked for their recommendation, one company name kept popping up.  Tony Scotti and his Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute.  With that in mind, I did some additional research and made the decision to attend as to add “more tools in the toolbox”.  Fast forward to me on the road to southern New Jersey to attend Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (TSVDI) for their Protective Driving Course.

When I arrived at the track at 11:30 PM the night before the class began, I was met at the gate by the Director of the TSVDI Program, Joe Autera, who was there to greet me, make sure I got in ok, give directions to the lodging, and additional information on how to find the part of the track where lessons were going to be conducted.

Day One

Started with a few hours in the classroom, where we learned a wealth of information about cars and their handling properties. One topic was G-force and the importance of calculating it for each specific car.  Another topic covered during the day was the importance of, often overlooked, tire pressure and preventative car maintenance in general.  Along these lines, there were many other details about cars that I had previously known nothing about, but which turns out to be paramount to vehicle dynamics.

Then we were told we were going to be evaluated on where we were as drivers, skill-wise, so we could chart our progression as we continued through the course.  A weather related note: as we walked outside to start our driving — It was raining hard and the wind was blasting. We had standing water in many parts of the training track.  In my mind I thought, “Well this can’t be conducive to high performance driving”. Boy was I wrong.  Thinking back, I am glad it was raining that hard as it afforded me the opportunity to learn a lot about car handling in adverse weather and see what a car is capable of in a controlled environment.

Day Two

Started at 8am with a short briefing on the day’s exercises, followed by a full day of driving. When Joe tells you “we teach to a standard, not a clock”, it’s not just words.  TSVDI actually does it. We got back to our rooms around 9:30 PM that day. They ran the attendees through our paces, over and over, until we got it right. And if anyone wanted a few extra runs for good measure, all you had to do was ask and it was done. We performed J-turns, backing up drills around cones, into garages, slalom, braking drills, straight in turns at high speed.  You name it we did it.

Day Three

Another early morning with the students finishing up a few drills, then back into the class room for a briefing on lessons learned from security driving to car jacking’s stories.  We then entered the testing phase, appropriately named Carjackistan.  A timed event encompassing runs on the track of the drills we had worked on over the 3 days of class, with unknown obstacles and a few surprises tossed in.

No review of any school or program can be accurately complete without also mentioning the instructors. TSVDI’s instructors are top notch. From their lead instructor (Janine Paul) on down the ranks, I have nothing but good things to say about their enthusiasm, skill, and attitude. I would highly recommend this school to anyone seeking to add security driver to their resume and I am confident that I came out of the program a much better driver than when I went in.  As Mark “6” James of Panther Protective Services so aptly put it in one of his remarks on the program, “You can find different, but you can’t find better.”  I agree with every word.

Einar Myklebust, ICON Alumni.

With Tony Scotti, Founder of Tony Scotti's Vehicle Dynamics Institute
With Tony Scotti, Founder of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute

Learn more at StephenBabcock.com.

Combating Domestic Violence from a Different Angle

 

Last night marked the end of an era.  After 6 years, my term as a member of the Board of Directors came to an end with my final board meeting at Women’s Advocates.  For those of you were are not familiar, Women’s Advocates is the United States oldest  shelter for women who are victims of Domestic Abuse, providing support for the women and their children, as well as actively seeking solutions to break the cycle of violence.

I originally began my association with the organization as part of my ISC-Safety Net program.  A service conceived by me to provide free security services to victims of domestic violence.   While working alongside Women’s Advocates I was honored when the Executive Director asked me to consider serving on their board.  After passing the selection process, I then became immersed at looking at the issue of Domestic Violence from a different angle and was recommitted to doing my part to make a change.

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If you’ve ever had the opportunity to serve on an efficiently running board you know it’s a lot of work, combine that with the challenges of running ICON and of course the heavy client-related travel that i’m involved with, and you can see I had my hands full.  Much respect to my fellow board members for their professionalism and attention to detail.  I learned an enormous amount.

Of course just because my time as a serving board member has expired, I will still be providing support for the organization, notably in increasing awareness of Women’s Advocates – More Than A Safe Place Luncheon and Fundraiser  held in Minnesota May 23, 2013 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  For more information click HERE.

Additionally the ISC-Safety Net program is still in effect, with some very exciting news to be released in the upcoming months.  For a bit of background on the program, catch the news coverage HERE.

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See related- Bodyguard Supports the Fight Against Domestic Violence 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Executive Protection Training

The ICON Executive Protection Academy is happy to announce that by all accounts our first training course of 2013 was a success.  As previous alumni of the program will tell you, each class we try and introduce something different into our core curriculum, and i’m happy to say the tradition continued.    In keeping with our promise to deliver contemporary training by instructors that don’t teach “theory” but are actively involved on a full time basis in  the art of Executive Protection, working the craft day in and day, out around the world.

Special thanks to  Mark James:  Internationally published author and CEO of Panther Protective ServicesEric Konohia:  CEO of BPI SecurityBenjamin Alozie:  ICON Director of International Operations , and Raffaele Di Giorgio:  CEO of Global Options and Solutions for your assistance in a fully immersive and engaging course. 

 

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** Next Course Dates **  

March 20-24th, 2013 (5 Day Celebrity & VIP Protection)

Maarch 25-April 3rd, 2013 (10 Day Advanced Executive Protection)

 

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It’s also no secret that training is expensive and the market is competitive.  To assist with that we have developed a pioneering special finance department  which offers the opportunity for installment payments as well as full scholarships.  Click HERE to learn more.

 

For more information on the programs click HERE.  **Also, just ask and we’ll put you in touch with previous graduates of the program.  Ask about their experiences while at the class, and more importantly, if the program assisted them professionally upon completion.

South Africa CEO of Chrysler Shot

Chrysler’s South Africa CEO was wounded during a robbery outside Johannesburg over the weekend.

Three men attacked Trent Barcroft and his wife, Cathy, on Saturday afternoon after hitting the couple’s Jeep Grand Cherokee from behind, according to media reports and Chrysler SA spokesman Richard Sloman.

When Barcroft stepped out of the car to inspect the damage, Sloman told MSN Autos, he was shot in the abdomen and the three men from the other vehicle stole his watch, wallet and cellphone; they also stole a handbag from his wife, who was unharmed, reports said.

Full Story HERE.

The question to ask is, Could it have been prevented?

*** The above is a preferred method of carjacking and robberies and they have been doing it in South Africa for years, so much so that they have it to a science.  What is troubling is aside from the absence of an Executive Protection Team, is that it appears that Mr. Barcroft, was not aware of these practices to the degree where he had an effective plan to counter.

I asked Benjamin Alozie, the Director of Global Operations for ICON, and an individual with extensive experience in protecting High Net Worth Individuals in Africa, his initial thoughts on the incident-

“There are several tactics robbers employ to stop their victims in places that makes it difficult for the robbers to set up road blocks (Ambush). The one used in this case is a very classic one, bump your car from behind because they know your natural impulse will be to stop, get out of the car angry as hell with the driver that just bumped you. A couple of things to note here is that most criminals are more security aware than their victims so most operations for them are very successful. I have warned clients about how and when to stop when bumped from behind. The environment you are bumped into in is more important for your safety than the bump itself. Remember that if you have a comprehensive vehicle insurance that the bump can be taken care off and if you are a CEO of an organization such as Chrysler one would hope that you have been properly advised.”  

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For more of my thoughts on the matter, click HERE.

ICON Executive Protection Training – An International Student’s Perspective

“After being interested in the line of work for a long time, I started doing some research on some good training courses in the US, thinking that US would be the best place to at least get the basics in – even though I want to work in Europe. Starting with looking through YouTube, and found some informative clips… Doing some more research, I found very good reviews about ICON and its instructors on different forums on the internet. In addition to the company, searches for “Elijah Shaw” – gave some pretty impressing facts about the chief instructor that wasn’t just your standard corporate boilerplate.

After exchanging a series of  emails, back and forward with Elijah,  I was convinced that I wanted to attend this training course, and selected the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course.  So the process with ordering airplane tickets started, and arranging some time free from work. Then I could just start the countdown, eagerly just waiting for the day that I would get on the airplane, that would bring me the long way to Atlanta, USA.

I got on board the first leg of the long trip with a strange feeling in my stomach  – Investing that amount of money, time and energy, you want to make sure that you get a high quality product back! Going on board the 2th leg of my journey, I felt the “strange” feeling converting into something complete different – Thinking back on the emails, reviews and the YouTube videos that I had spent several hours of reading, and rereading, watching and re watching – I felt proud that I was taking this step, and even more motivated than ever to start the course.

The first day, started of easily – getting to meet some of the instructors and of course the class its self. Going around and presenting our self to each other, I was amazed to meet a guy originating from the same country as I come from, and I guess he was quite impressed that someone could pronounce his name right the rest of the training!

The training was a really nice mix of theory, hands on, physical and mental. Staying on the edge of my seat, writing notes as the instructors told about their experiences and what other people do in the industry now, and not for 20 years ago – I felt the motivation gradually increasing even more. All of the course attendees kept together as good team, helping each other step by step. The instructors keep the students involved all the time, in that way nobody was afraid to ask those “stupid” questions, which were always answered in a way that encouraged growth.

The 5 days went by so quick, ending in what I learned was a first of it’s kind “Summit” on the Sunday –  At the 1st Annual ICON Social Summit, I had the chance to meet even more current Operators, with real experiences and who had a great attitude and accepted “newbies” into the fold with open arms. After spending hours together with the summit participants and  getting some great contacts, the evening finally came to a close, and I found myself  in the car on the way back to the hotel for my last night in Atlanta.

Waking up on the day after the summit, I started to look back on what was both a grueling and intensive 5 days, and the only thing I could summarize it with was…  Great training, great instructors, great class and exactly what I was looking for when I got on the airplane to Atlanta – A great introduction of the aspects of working close protection within the celebrity & VIP Protection world.

Back home and charting my future plans, I’ve  already started to see when I would be able to attend the Advanced Course!

To the staff of ICON and the real world instructors (Benjamin Alozie, Erik Konohia, Mark James, Raffaele Di Giorgio), who gave days out of their working schedules to educate, thanks for the training! Elijah, you’re a great instructor with the right temperament and experiences for this training – And together with the rest of the instructors create a useful toolbox to design a very good road map into this business.”

~ M.O. , Scandinavia