There are many different segments of the Executive Protection Industry, but the one thing that should remain consistent is the professionalism that we display day in and day out. ~ Elijah Shaw
Recently wrapped teaching at Executive Security International (ESI). The inside joke was the lack of sleep I was going off of after having had to fly there immediately following the MTV VMA’s and an (unscheduled) client charity event.
One of the things I tried to impress upon the students is that in segments of the industry, your schedule is no longer your own, it’s your clients schedule, and often you have to adapt accordingly.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
April 2013 CPC Alumni
To learn more about the ICON Academy Executive Protection Course, click HERE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes we get so focused on the “big threat” that we forget the small things. Executive Protection work involves more than just defending against knives and guns.
“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
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:
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.
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.