Category Archives: Helping Others

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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Mindset is Key

 

Today I completed 18 straight days of training. Even as the instructor it was mentally and physically taxing but ultimately very rewarding to see see people make a concentrated effort to achieve their goals. I remember several years ago when I was first encouraged by a very reputable training academy to share some of the things I know (in a formal setting) I thought “how the heck am I going to accomplish this and still DO the work?” Fast forward to 2013 and I’m still trying to keep all the plates spinning as an active operator, academy instructor, business owner and most importantly, father.

Special thanks to my support system for the massive help along the journey.

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.

 

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.

WA Gift

See related- Bodyguard Supports the Fight Against Domestic Violence 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

ICON Social Summit Review and Recap

The ICON Executive Protection Academy kicked 2013 off with a bang.  In January we ran our well established Celebrity & VIP Protection Course immediately followed by our Advanced Executive Protection Course for those who were looking for continuing training in the close protection industry.  Sandwiched in between the two courses was our first Annual ICON Social Summit.  The Summit itself made waves, having originally been conceived to bring ICON Alumni of the previous years together to discuss best practices and network.  We tried to keep word of the Summit relatively under wraps (Prior to the event, I didn’t even do a Blog posting on it) however as word spread, we started getting inundated with request from industry peers who were also interested in attending.

One of the big draws to what came to be a by invitation only, sold out event, was our impressive lineup of guest speakers which had the distinction of having subject matter experts as speakers who were actually ACTIVE in the Protection field on a full-time basis.  (As my friend Tony Scotti would say, “What a concept”?)  The speaker roster included:

Mark JamesInternationally published author and CEO of Panther Protective Services

Eric Konohia:  CEO of BPI Security

Benjamin Alozie:  ICON Director of International Operations  

Raffaele Di Giorgio:  CEO of Global Options and Solutions 

Raffaele also had the distinction of traveling the furthest to be at the Summit, scheduling his time back in the US from an assignment in the Middle East around it.  Further enhancing the flavor and overall spirit of unity was the welcome presence of graduates of several other industry schools which included Executive Security International (ESI) the Executive Protection Institute (EPI) and the International Academy of Executive Protection Agents (IAEPA) as well as many members of the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA).

 

With a sold out attendee list and a full day of seminars (which included a few surprises) the Summit switched gears slightly to move to the “social” phase which was a chance for new Protectors to meet, old associates to get reacquainted, and those that knew each other solely from social media to finally put a real face to the virtual one.   The laughs were many, the exchange of contact information was frequent, and the amount of people that used the access of liquor at the nearby bar to damage their credibility was nil.

 

Immediately following the Summit, I launched into Day 1 of the ICON Advanced Executive Protection Course, so the feedback on what everyone thought was sporadic for me; however upon its conclusion I was able to truly get a sense that those in attendance appreciated the presentations and flow of the day and were looking forward to more in the future.  In fact, in addition to Summit presenter Eric Konohia’s Blog article on his experiences,  one able bodied Protector in attendance even took the time to do a video review.  Find it HERE.

With all of this said, the Summit Group is well into planning the 2nd Annual ICON Social Summit, and hope to continue to find new and creative ways to unite and strengthen the Executive Protection industry.  (Not counting the virtual fistfight almost broke out on the North American Bodyguard Association Facebook Page about where to hold the next Summit, but I digress…)

It truly warmed my heart to interact with a room full of like minded individuals who took the time out of their schedules to attend, and it is my hope that the best practices discussed and networking opportunities presented help make life easier for the men and women that risk their well being to engage in the business of Executive Protection.

Elijah Shaw~ ICON

To see a photo gallery of the 1st Annual ICON Social Summit Click HERE.

To get more information about the 2nd Annual ICON Social Summit Click HERE.

 

BPI Security Covers The ICON Social Summit

 

ICON was very honored to have Eric Kohonia of BPI Security as one of the Guest Speakers of the 1st. Annual ICON Executive Protection Academy Social Summit, recently held in Atlanta, GA.  For both the organizers and the attendees, the experience was a great one, and Eric decided to put some of his always candid views on the Summit as the topic of a Blog posting. *

Read it HERE

 

*I plan on writing on the experience as well, however right now i’m on day 6 of the 10 day ICON Advanced Executive Protection Course which began immediately following the Summit.

Analyze This – Security Risk of Drunken Airline Passengers

By Benjamin Alozie 

On the 5th of January 2013 on a New York bound flight from Iceland a DRUNKEN male passenger was DUCT-TAPED after a BOOZE-FUELLED MELTDOWN.

When you look at the photo of the duct-taped boozed passenger ts quick to see only the humor in that photo, but do we see the dangers as well?

All protection professionals and even private individuals that are security conscious owe it to themselves to look and see all incidents differently.

Let’s use this incident to launch our new feature, “LET’S ANALYZE THIS” by asking you to carefully study the photo below link it to the incident and comment on the possible risks and threats you see and how you’ll better prepare to mitigate it when traveling commercial alone or with your client.

“LET’S ANALYZE THIS”

ICON Alumni Receives Citizens Award of Valor

Our industry spends a lot of time talking about the bad things that happen to, or are caused, by agents.   I wanted to share with the group an example of a Protector doing the right thing, and being recognized for it.

Earlier today, Jeremiah Walker,  a graduate of the ICON Training course received a Citizens Award of Valor for risking bodily harm to take down a knife wielding assailant while working.   Presented by the Chief of Police of the City of Minneapolis, Jeremiah’s actions put the safety of others before himself in a life or death situation.   I wanted to offer my recognition, and state that he is among the ranks of those that were faced with that critical decision, and made the right decison that brought him and the people around him home.