Category Archives: ICON

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.

 

Celebrity Protection & Behavioral Analysis

Bob Duggan @ ESI (Executive Security International) gave a sneak peek earlier today so I figured I’d drop my teaser:

ESI & ICON have officially joined forces and will be presenting a 5 day Celebrity Protection & Behavioral Analysis Course. The 1st class will be held in February in Colorado and I’m pretty honored to say that Bob will be teaching it alongside me.

Additional details to come, but feel free to shoot me a message HERE if you have questions.

 

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.

The Transition from Night Club Security to Executive Protection

 

By Miguel DeCoste

This morning I was going through some paperwork — the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Vietnam, The West Indies, these are just some of the places the Executive Protection Industry has taken me. Oh yeah, and this is a good time to mention, that I started off working as a nightclub “bouncer”.

When I talk to club security staff, they often ask me, “How did you transition to VIP Protection and can I do the same?” And I tell them that in my case, it was a matter of being mentored, getting trained and certified, and utilizing what I learned working in nightclubs to forge a path into the professional world of Close Protection work.

Those of you working in the field of nightclub security should know that a lack of a Law Enforcement or military background is not necessarily a hindrance when it comes to doing Executive Protection. As a matter of fact, there are skills specific to nightclub work that transfer very well:

  • Observing people for questionable behavior, particularly in lowlight conditions
  • Defusing potentially violent situations
  • Dealing with “important people” who can be easily offended
  • Long stretches of time standing in one place
  • Working long or unusual hours, sometimes at a moments notice

For those of you considering a shift to VIP protection, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

WHY? – This is the really the most important question. Are you trying to be the cool guy in sunglasses and a suit or do you gain satisfaction at the idea of providing protection and acting as a facilitator for your Client? Can you handle putting yourself in harm’s way, sometimes far from home, often without recognition for a job well done?

WHAT and WHO? – Are you interested in high risk, high speed assignments in dangerous places? Are you interested in tactical medicine or logistics and advance work? Do you want to work in a corporate environment from 9 to 5? Or do you want to work with a high profile individual that does a lot of travelling? Each has its pros, cons, and challenges.

WHERE? – You can work in protection virtually ANYWHERE, but EVERYWHERE is not a good place to find or do protection work. Are you willing to move to find more work or are you going to try and carve a niche for yourself within your own location at the risk of failure?

HOW? –You need to figure out how to get in the door. Honestly, in my opinion, the only way to do it properly is with training, followed by certification in your field of interest (see What), a ton of networking, and yes, doing practically whatever job you are called upon to do in order to gain experience.

WHEN? – The answer to that comes from you. YOU have to take the initiative to get away from the computer screen, the xbox, the gym and begin your quest.

No one comes out of the box as James Bond or Creasy from Man of Fire. The only route to success is through dedication to the craft, continuous training, and hard work. Create a plan for yourself and find a mentor to help guide you. With some luck and perseverance your plan will pay off.

Good luck!

 

Miguel DeCoste, CPP is an Executive Protection Specialist and the owner of Coast Executive Services. With over 20 years of experience he has worked with numerous public figures around the globe. Miguel, a strategic partner and graduate of the ICON Executive Protection Academy, is also the author of Tao of the Velvet Rope, a blog focusing on the Nightclub Security Industry.

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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.

10 Tips for Protectors Involved in Touring

 

  1. Learn the value of a durable suitcase and a portable steamer.  If you are on the road for any duration of time, your suitcase is going to take a beating.    Additionally, unless you are a seasoned packer, what’s inside the case may not be “ready to wear,” when it’s time to hit the ground running.  Of course if you’re lucky, the nicer hotels may do your ironing for you at no charge, but it pays to be prepared for the worst.
  2. 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.
  3. Be careful what you eat, especially in a foreign country.  The exotic dishes shown on the food channel might look tempting but they may come at a cost, if you don’t have a ironclad stomach.  Running back and fourth to the airplane lavatory is not fun, and let’s not even discuss tour bus facilities (let’s just say, that’s a good way to loose allies quickly).
  4. Always pack your own luggage and know what you’re carrying!  TSA security does not care who you work for, you hold it, you own it.   Also, for those of us in the profession who carry firearms, we also know the additional hassle of trying to check one in prior to boarding, so give yourself some extra time.
  5. Remember: Reporters are not your friends. Say something and you might be (mis)quoted, so if you find yourself in a situation where you are corned by you, it’s best to point them to the client’s publicist or someone in else in management.  With that said, contrary to popular belief, the worst person to be “heavy handed” to is the media. You might not get mentioned by name, but overly aggressive actions could cast your client (and therefore your potential future earnings) in a bad light.
  6. Avoid Groupies.  Bad things can happen to good people.  Meet an unscrupulous person who’s intent on scoring a payday by putting you or your client in a compromising position, and you could end up in the papers, or worst, the back of a police car.
  7. 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 just before something happens.  Tour life means lots of travel, more convenient access to fast (junk) food, and long day and nights.  Staying fit is a vital part of the equation if you are going to do it for the long haul.
  8. Don’t get caught “flat footed.”  There is a routine to tour life, I mean when you think about it; it’s the same show, over and over.  After the 100th viewing you probably can even do the dancer’s chorography yourself. However, with that comes the creeping monster of complacency, and before you know it, instead of being in the wings with a close eye on your client, you are at catering getting a second helping of that delicious apple pie.  And while nothing has happened until now, that’s just the time when Murphy’s Law strikes.  Stay in the moment
  9. If you are assigned to protect the client, you cannot delegate YOUR responsibility.   Sure there may be event security, law enforcement, ushers and production staff, but at the end of the day, if your role is to ensure the safety and security of the client, you are responsible for 360 degrees of total coverage, everyone else might make your life easier, but the buck stops with you.
  10. Remember why you are there. This is an important one.  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 the 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, the Protector who was distracted to notice.

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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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A Woman’s Perspective: ICON Executive Protection Course Review

 

The ICON Celebrity and VIP Protection Training Course is truly an essential course for anyone wanting to enter the industry of Executive Protection. A truly engaging program, from Day One, Elijah Shaw immerses his trainees in understanding the world of celebrity protection.

Through a combination of lecture, followed by hands-on drills, his teaching style is well-absorbed by
anyone willing to learn. Mr. Shaw and his staff present the course with real-world experiences,so trainees know what to expect, what not to do and not to do and more importantly how to prevent threatening situations from occurring and what to do when they do. I decided to take the course because I had an interest in becoming a bodyguard.

After researching for what seemed to be days on end, trying to find a training course that I felt would be most beneficial to me as a beginner. What’s more, the ICON course was the one of the few courses I’d seen that openly advertised and encouraged women to take their course. Although I had already been leaning toward training with ICON, just that small amount of encouragement solidified my decision. I was truly happy in my decision because since my first inquiry for information, I received a prompt response and felt welcomed.

I felt the same welcoming environment throughout the course. The course is set up to give you the essentials needed to get started in the industry. As I stated before, the course is completely immersive and drills into you the main objective: protecting the principle. The course trains you to constantly think critically about your situation and environment and how to be proactive. It trains you on how protecting isn’t always matching or one-upping force, which particularly hit home and was a challenge for me, coming from previous law enforcement training and working in private security. Most importantly, it introduces you to the demanding nature of the job and how to remain on your game through mental, physical and emotional fatigue. Remembering,  “Mindset is Key.”

Overall, my experience was truly amazing. I would recommend ICON’s Celebrity and VIP Protection course to all men and women looking to get into the industry, as well as currently active protection agents. If you’re looking for real-life, in your face, no fluff training, ICON Services Corporation is where you want to begin. Coming from a law enforcement and private security background, this course instilled in me the true meaning of protection and gave me the foundation on how to build my skills to master the art of protection.

Bryttani Tyner
April 2013 CPC Alumni

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Vehicle Embussing/Debussing Drills. Practiced over and over to achieve proficiency.

 

To learn more about the ICON Academy Executive Protection Course, click HERE.