Category Archives: Media Coverage

Social Media & Professional Development

 

About a week ago I put up an Executive Protection Scenario on the Corporate and Facebook Pages of the North American Bodyguard Association.  On it, I posed the following along with the associated photo:

“Grammy night. Pre-show red carpet. Your Principal, a celebrity, has had a public falling out with another well recognized celebrity a few days before who is also nominated. The incident is currently the buzz of the tabloids and Blogs. Using the photo below as a reference, what considerations, actions and contingencies do you plan prior to bringing the P out onto the red carpet?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As is typical with the scenarios, I got some good answers from some seasoned industry vets, along with some interesting points of view from newcomers who also try their hand at solving the problem.  It’s the mix of the two that have made taking the time out of my schedule to craft and post the scenarios worth it.   A little bit of backstory:  When I was coming up in the Executive Protection field, interaction with individuals already in the field that did not personally know you was rare.  Now fast forward to 2013 and having the opportunity to get valued opinions and viewpoints from not only all over the country but all over the world via social media, is not just amazing, it’s revolutionary.

Don’t misinterpret me, reading a few online blogs and participating in some newsgroup chats, won’t make you proficient in this field, but what it can do, *in the right settings* is be a part of your ongoing training and personal development.  Through reading, participating and interacting, the Protection Specialist can grow in an industry where too many think just because they completed a 7 day course, or served in law enforcement or are former military, they know it all.   Don’t take my word for it, pay a visit to the Facebook page of the NABA by clicking HERE and read some of the post that are taking place.  If those interest you, check out the Official Members-Only Site and get an even more in-depth look at the Close Protection industry from a global perspective. 

Oh and the reason for this post —

the BET Award Show just occurred in Atlanta, GA this weekend.  At it, two rival performers and their entourages, bodyguards included, were involved in a melee that warranted enough attention to involve the police and be covered in the mainstream press.   Upon reading this, I ask myself, did the respective artist’s security have a plan in place to avoid their client’s crossing paths?  Had they even thought about it?  Well, I do know this, if they had visited the NABA site, they would have at the very least, have read some very well thought out suggestions from industry professionals.

 

ICON CEO Elijah Shaw to Speak at EPIC

 

ICON CEO Elijah Shaw will be speaking at the 29th Annual Conference hosted by Executive Protection Institute (EPI) and the Nine Lives Associates (NLA) This Conference was previously closed to members and guests only but is now open to the qualified public; Security and Law Enforcement Professionals, and those currently in the field.

The conference consist of educational sessions with well known speakers such as Joe Autera of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute and Harlan Austin of Bodyguard Careers.  In addition there is a large focus on industry networking, with the event being capped off with a Black Tie Awards Dinner.

 

 

For more information on EPIC click HERE.

Executive Protection Tips #2 – Bodyguard Schools

In this week’s installment of the two-minute video tip, host Harlan Austin of Bodyguard Careers and Elijah Shaw of the ICON Executive Protection Academy discuss the importance of doing your research when choosing an Executive Protection School.  There are some wonderful schools in the industry that include Trojan, ESI, EPI, MAX, ICON and many more.  In addition, there are some great supplemental programs such as Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics, the surveillance courses from Argus and the firearm related offerings from Panther Protection.  Do your research and determine what works for you.

Catch all the 2 Minute Tips HERE

Executive Protection Tips #1 – Morals & Ethics

In this week’s installment of the two-minute video tip, host Harlan Austin of Bodyguard Careers and Elijah Shaw of ICON Services Corporation discuss the ethical and moral dilemmas that agents in the Executive Protection industry face on a regular basis.  From romance, to turning a blind eye to unsafe behaviors to cashing in for a quick buck. Bite sized industry tips for those interested or active in the bodyguard profession.

Catch more of the 2 Minute Tips HERE

Elle Magazine Covers Female Bodyguards

~”To be a woman on the secretary of state’s security detail, you have to be fast, smart, and tough—and willing to take a bullet, even if you’re in heels”.

That is the opening of a short but interesting article on Female Protection Agents that are assigned to the Security Detail of current US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.   The article profiles several of the agents, discussing their training and a behind the scenes look at their motivations for becoming involved with Dignatary Protection.

For the full story click HERE.

 

See Related:  Elijah Shaw Speaks to The Today Show on Female Executive Protection Agents

See Related:  Female Bodyguards – One Agents Personal Story

 

An Open Letter Regarding the ICON Bodyguard Scholarship Program

 

To the ICON Selection Committee:

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to all responsible parties for making the Icon Academy Training Scholarship possible.  I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support.  The Icon Celebrity & VIP Protection Course that I attended was truly a learning experience that I intend to use to further my career in the Executive Protection Industry.

I’m currently a law enforcement officer with over fifteen years of experience which has included serving on SWAT, the Gang Unit, the Street Crime Unit, as well as being assigned to the Housing Authority Unit. I can honestly say that being a law enforcement officer does not instantly qualify one to be a bodyguard. While the overall intentions of both an officer and bodyguard are to protect, the methods of protection differ, in some cases dramatically.

During my training at ICON, the CEO, Elijah Shaw touched on different subjects such as the profiles of a celebrity, the challenges one would face in the industry, and of course the responsibilities of a bodyguard.  One of the things I enjoyed was that the classroom time was never strictly lectures; we also participated in a variety of drills and exercises that ensured we understood the subject matter. Also during class, we were being pushed physically by several of the instructors, including Justin Newcomb, a champion Mixed Martial Arts fighter who I now know to be a quiet and reserved pillar in the industry.  Justin Johnson, another talented instructor who is also active in the operational side of the industry, (an important point) provided extensive firearms training during the course that imparted me with some valuable tools.

The week was also filled with some very prominent guest instructors who are very recognizable names in the industry such as Tony Scotti of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute and Mark “Six” James, of Panther Protection Services. Both were gracious enough to offer their expertise and answer off-the-subject questions during breaks.  I would certainly suggest future students research these individuals so they can fully appreciate what their presence and participation says about the program.

The last part of the training concluded with our participation in a real life Security Detail (one of several running simultaneously). I had the honor of being chosen to be team leader, and responsible for an actual celebrity VIP, T*** D***, of VH1 reality show, “Scream Queens” from the moment her plane arrived in the city.  The assignment was a learning experience in which me and my team were able to take our classroom training and apply it in the most hands on way possible.  Everything that Mr. Shaw and the other instructors introduced in class became reality.   In short they capped an already impressive course with the best illustration I could think of involving understanding what it takes to be bodyguard on a Celebrity security detail.    

In closing, I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to get in the industry or advance their current skills. I would like to thank the Selection Committee for making the opportunity possible.   While I am not sure if anything like this scholarship program currently exists elsewhere in the industry, it makes perfect sense that it would be found at ICON as they appear to be innovators.  Please thank Mr. Shaw, who I found to be a humble individual whose reputation preceded him, along with the staff, guest instructors, and VH1’s, T*** D***.    I promise you I will continue along this path to success in the Executive Protection field and eventually give something back to others.  I see myself doing this both as a Professional Bodyguard and as well as an Alumnus who will donate towards the ICON Academy scholarship providing a rare opportunity for a future student like myself.

Sincerely,

Curtis Greene

ICON 2011 ALUMNI

ICON Executive ProtectionTargets Make TV Debut

…and while it was only for a split second, we at ICON Services Corporation still think it was pretty cool.

It all started when I received an email from Marshall B., an ICON Alumni who was watching the A&E show Storage Wars.  Lo’ and behold, what flashes across the screen when the participants visit a Nevada Gun Range?  Thats right, the ICON VIP Protection Targets.  The Targets, created in partnership with America’s largest distributor of paper targets, were initially designed for close protection bodyguard work, honeing the shooters skills in a variety of true-to-life scenarios.  Since then they’ve expand beyond the world of Executive Protection and have made their way into ranges across the US.  In fact, the target featured in the clip, also has the distinction of being the best selling individual target in the companies line for 2011.

This is following a string of sightings that included, a S.W.A.T member who engaged the targets in a shoot house training exercise at his department.  What made it memorable is because he knew one of the models in the shoot (the hostage, who of course, remained unharmed).  In addition several weeks ago, I received a great email with one of my colleagues overseas in Afghanistan, who mentioned that while he was training with some VERY DISTINGUISHED individuals, he was happy to see the ICON Targets in use at the range.   You can find that story HERE.

If your a fan of the show, you can catch the episode HERE.  (the targets @ 21:15 mark).  Click HERE to see the full line of the ICON VIP Protection Targets.

 

The Circuit Talks to Security Driving Expert Tony Scotti

A short time ago, Harlan Austin of BodyguardCareers.com sat down for an interview with Security Driving Expert, Tony Scotti, President of Tony Scotti Driving for The Circuit Magazine.   The wonderful conversation between two industry professionals, covered Vehicle Dynamics, Executive Protection and Tony’s views on the  current state of the industry.  Read an excerpt below.

Circuit Interview: With Tony Scotti

 

Tony Scotti is considered by many as one of the most influential individuals in the business. Like Bob Duggan and Dr. Richard Kobetz, he is a true pioneer in the field of executive protection. Tony’s niche is driver’s training; he is the most recognizable name in that field. Since the 70’s Tony has catered to the training needs of industry and public service agencies. He has trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies and military organizations to avoid the terrorist threat. For four decades Tony has conducted training programs in over 30 countries, he has trained students from 64 countries, and conducted training programs in five continents. He has conducted more training programs in more locations than any other private training institution in the world.

 

Question: Who or what inspired you to get involved in the field of executive protection?

Answer – It began with a moment of opportunity, which was followed by a life time of inspiration.  In the mid 70’s the concept of training people to avoid an ambush while in a vehicle was not common, and in fact almost unheard of. In 1974 two gentleman, Diego Arguello, a Cuban National, who worked security in Venezuela, and Steve Van Cleave, a security consultant and an original member of ASIS, took a chance on this new concept called “anti terrorist driving”, of which I was offered the opportunity to teach. I spent the mid 70’s conducting training throughout South America and the Middle East. The inspiration came from the positive results of the training and discovering how rewarding it was to apply my education as an engineer to this type of training.

 

Question: Do you think there is a particular personality type that is drawn to the executive protection business?

Answer – In my opinion, it attracts risk takers – not taking risk while on the job but taking the risk of getting into the business. They all seem to have a strong personality, have a high sense of morality and honor, and find that protecting people from harm is noble calling. I have found that the successful ones tend to be no ‘BS’ people and have a low tolerance for incompetence.

 

Question: What is the biggest misconception about executive protection?

Answer – This question includes more than one misconception. First, the misconception of those that hire the EP Agent is that the job can be done by anybody with a law enforcement or military background. Also, I feel it varies in accordance to the market. An example would be corporations who have a handle on what it takes to be an EP Agent. For the EP Agent, the misconception is that you can go to a school and come out and get a job. But by far the biggest misconception is that the job is all about reacting to a problem, when in my opinion the job is more cerebral than most in the business think it is.

 

Question: Tony many clients believe you can put anybody behind the wheel of a car; from your perspective how important is it to have a qualified driver on your detail?

Answer – I’m a bit prejudice about this subject. Driving is a measurable skill, and statistics point out that the likelihood of a problem occurring while the person is in the car is very high. For reason of safety and security, it is imperative that the driver be trained and their skills measured.  In fact, corporations now demand in their job descriptions that a driver must attend a training program that measures skill – it is a liability issue.

 

Question: What tips might you have for new people trying to break into the executive protection business?

Answer – Training, Determination, and Perseverance. Attend a recognized training program, one that has a good network of former students and teaches the core skills: driving – advancing – surveillance detection. These are the skills that show up on job descriptions. Be willing to start at the bottom. Become a student of the profession – learn as much about the business end of the industry as you would about the operational end of the industry. Network – network – and then network some more. Emulate those who are successful in the business – do the right thing and pass it forward.

 

Question: How has Executive Protection evolved over the past 25 years?

Answer – This could be and will eventually be the subject of a book. The first issue that comes to mind is that there are more people and training companies than there have been in the past and I’ don’t think the number of jobs have kept up with the pace of people entering into the business. There are new markets available that were not available as little as 7 years ago. Iraq and Afghanistan have changed the landscape of the business. As the threat evolved so has the skills and training needed to defeat the threat. The market is much more diverse than it has been in the past, but it is much easier to network and communicate with others. The job is much more sophisticated than it was in the past and those that hire are more demanding.

 

For the full article grab back issue issue #9 of The Circuit at www.BodyguardMagazines.com.   To pick up the latest issue of The Circuit as well as subscribe to future editions click HERE.

Celebrity Protection: How Not to Go Overboard

 

I know it might sound odd, but you can do effective VIP Protection for recognizable personalities without having to resort to tactics that would paint your Client in a negative light.  We’ve recently seen some horror stories about what happens when a bodyguard is overly aggressive.    Executive Protection Agents can most effectively ensure the safely of the VIP by remembering that one of the most important pieces of the puzzle comes in the planning & preparation stage.  In industry lingo, we term that the Advance, which includes  anticipating encounters  before they happen and having effective systems in place to negate or counter them.

While some view the fans, the press and the paparazzi as a major problem, we have to be aware that, particularly in the arena of Celebrity Protection, those three are a constant.    Taking the wrong approach in dealing with them could have a negative effect to the client, and one that could also affect security.  (Insiders tip, managers and agents don’t like bad press, if the Protection Agent is responsible for it –even if they thought they were doing the “right thing”,  they could still be on the unemployment line).

I try and stress this fact during the Celebrity & VIP Protection Training Course that I teach at ICON.  “Verbal Judo” is sometimes more effective than taking them to the floor.  With that said, it’s always nice to hear it from someone else:

Via the Star Tribune

“The security guys with Kim Kardashian garnered praise for being impressively un-heavy-handed.

Although Kardashian was in a VIP section, the security was not pouncing every time she was approached. One excited woman was gently asked not to rush up on Kardashian but to give the reality star a few minutes to adjust to the scene.

As you can see from my video, the security guys were calm and civil and not shoving people out of the way as she and her fiancé arrived at the restaurant.”

full story HERE.

 


 

ICON CEO Elijah Shaw to speak at ESI Conference

 

Ask someone familiar with the Protection industry and Executive Security International (ESI) is sure to make the top 5 list pretty much each and every time.  Refereed by some as the Harvard of Protection schools, the well respected academy is hosting their annual International Executive Protection Conference August 5-7, 2011 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

As their past line up of speakers have included Tony Scotti, John Wiesman and Tom Taylor the conference has a reputation for being multi-dimensional and engaging.  With all that said, I was deeply honored when asked to be a speaker at the upcoming event alongside a distinguished line up that includes Pete Dordal, Massad Ayoob, and Chris Parkerson.

Join me in August on the topic of Celebrity & VIP Protection, hosted by a fantastic organization that puts the N in Networking.

For more information on the conference as well as biographies of the speaker line up, click HERE.