Category Archives: Industry Spotlight

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

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.

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.

ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Dates

 

 

Celebrity & VIP Protection Course :  (5 Days) October 10-14, 2012

A five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection.  Taught by industry veteran Elijah Shaw, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and rap megastar 50 Cent, the class covers not only tactics but marketing & career search.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Executive Protection Course:  (10 Days) October 15-24, 2012

This intensive 10-day class is an excellent tool for Operators sharpening their skills with a focus on conducting close protection assignments with a potential high threat level. Work with experienced professionals who are not teaching “theory” put practical applications developed from many years of doing the job.  Taught by Instructors  in private security working globally in a number of high-risk environments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Southeast Asia, South and Central America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To apply, learn more or submit for the course scholarship, click HERE.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above Close Protection related courses from Icon Services Corporation, click on the links or send and email to Training@Industry-Icon.com.  We stand behind the quality of our teaching methods and can also put you in contact with previous Alumni to talk about their past experiences.  Group & back-to-back course discounts apply.

VIP Travel Pro Nikia Morales Talks International Travel Considerations

 

Nikia Morales is the Owner of The Travel Agency a VIP travel agency that specializes in working with Celebrities, Entertainment Executives and other High Net Worth individuals.   She recently took the time to share with readers some of her observations on the premium travels service industry and it’s relationship with security.

So descriptive name notwithstanding, what exactly is The Travel Agency? 

The Travel Agency is a full service boutique agency specializing in the unique needs of clients in the entertainment industry.  We offer a full suite of services tailored to each client’s logistic requirements.  We create unique experiences wherever our client’s needs dictate, be it touring, one/offs, production or executive day to day.

Can you describe the profile of the type of client you service? 

Our clients are VIPs of the Entertainment Industry…Artists, Tour Managers, Label Executives and Management/Talent Agency Executives.  Because of their unique lifestyle, these individuals have unique needs and require a Travel Management Company willing to service their accounts accordingly.

Wouldn’t a celebrity or executive just have an assistant book the travel directly with the airline?

When a celebrity or executive calls me it’s traditionally because their travel needs have exceeded a simple on-line booking platform (ie orbitz, travolocity, etc).  Most Assistants don’t have the time to manage the travel of a busy celebrity or executive, not to mention the plethora of changes and details that go along with moving VIPs from point A to B to C and sometimes more.  In addition to the confidentiality, a service like mine provides a one-stop shop option in Travel Management.  This includes, providing reports for accounting, negotiated hotel rates, and detailed flight options that range from the least expensive to the most comfortable.  In addition, direct routing and detailed movement spreadsheets are prepared for the convenience of Management and Security.

Do you see a value in using airport VIP Services? 

There is a huge value in using VIP Airport Services.  These Greeters will have access to restricted areas and have key knowledge on how to navigate the airport with minimal fan interference or long delays in customs and security.  Airport Greeters help to streamline the process and connect all the dots from ground transportation to gate arrival and everything in between.  I’ve found them very helpful with outside of the norm request like last minute prescription delivery and getting un-ticketed bodyguards security passes to the gate so that they can receive their clients.  The key is to have a relationship with a VIP Service provider that has reliable contacts worldwide.

Besides the Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s of the world, are there any locations you see an influx of executive or VIP  travel that you would consider dangerous?

Brazil, South Africa and Russia are places that I’m seeing an increase of Entertainment focused travel that have heightened security concerns.  All of the above countries are relatively poor and there is a very high occurrence of personal crime as well as tenuous relationships between the ruling government and the common people.  While you guys are the experts, my advice is to try and always have the client stay in the hotel chosen for you with help of the local resource and your travel agent.

You interact with Client Security (Bodyguards) as part of their planning the Security Advance.   Do you feel that is necessary, or do you ever get the feeling security is “stepping on your toes” in planning trips?

We are part of one team. I find that when it all goes down The Team (Tour Managers, Managers, Assistants, Security, Travel) are so focused in our respective roles that the only “ego” that matters is that of our mutual client.

Can security personnel reach out directly to a service like yours, particularly internationally? 

Yes.  However, it’s vital that travel is all run through the same source. Streamline communication is very important as the less people you have to deal with in logistic coordination the better.

With international travel, what’s a solid tip that your client’s (and their security) should live by? 

Always be respectful of another Country’s customs and be aware of the political environment before you arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For additional VIP and Executive travel Information including bookings, Nikia Morales can be reached at: nik@thetravelagency.us

Tony Scotti Offers his Views on ICON

If you’re in the Executive Protection world, chances are you’ve heard of Tony Scotti.  He’s a gentleman that has written numerous books and offered instruction for decades on the subject of how vehicles operate and how they play a vital part in the role of the Personal Protection Specialist.    If you’ve ever had the benefit of being instructed by him, know him personally, or follow his work on social media, then you know he’s famous for speaking his mind.

In light of that, I’m particularly honored by the kind words he used to describe both me and the services I provide in the areas of Executive Protection Training and dealing directly with clients.

You can find the post over at his excellent Blog, SECURITYDRIVER.COM

 

 

Tony Scotti speaking before a class attending the ICON Academy Celebrity & VIP Protection Course

 

ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Dates


Celebrity & VIP Protection Course :  (5 Days) August 1 – 5, 2012 

A five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection including the fundamentals of Close Protection.  Taught by industry veteran Elijah Shaw, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and rap megastar 50 Cent, the class covers not only tactics but marketing & career search.

 

“Although the program is called Celebrity Protection the content and instruction covers all aspects of the protection industry. Elijah and his team of instructors meet one of the most important criteria of the business – instructors who do or have done what they are teaching, and can teach.”  Tony Scotti, President Tony Scotti Driving 

 

 

Advanced Executive Protection Course:  (10 Days) August 6- 15, 2012  

This intensive 10-day class is an excellent tool for Operators sharpening their skills with a focus on conducting close protection assignments with a potential high threat level. Work with experienced professionals who are not teaching “theory” put practical applications developed from many years of doing the job.  Taught by Instructors  in private security working globally in a number of high-risk environments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Southeast Asia, South and Central America.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above Close Protection related courses from Icon Services Corporation, including our special financing options, click HERE.  

We stand behind the quality of our teaching methods and can also put you in contact with previous Alumni to talk about their past experiences.  

Group & back-to-back course discounts apply.