Category Archives: naba

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.

The Choice: Celebrity vs. Executive Protection

Quite recently when I read about how World Protection Group executive protection has been taking over the private security of many popular names in various industry, it took me straight back to the first matrix movie.

Everyone’s seen The Matrix right?  Morpheus is standing in front of you, extends his hand and gives you a choice: Blue or Red.  The Blue Pill leads to a stable career in Corporate Executive Protection— more often than not, standard hours, reasonable expectations and a healthy benefits package.   Alternatively, the Red pill takes you down the rabbit hole to the wild and unpredictable world of Celebrity Security.  Long hours, temperamental clients, and a job description that includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink.  For those of us who have entered this industry with the strong desire to apply our skills to protecting others in the most professional manner possible, it’s almost a no brainer, correct?

I mean, give me the corporate stuff, right?  Send me on my way and let me cash my paycheck at the end of the week.  Seriously, who in their right mind would want to deal with actors and their egos, or even worse, musicians with their quirks, or even worse than worse RAPPERS and their entourages, particularly if the revenue generated is the same???

But maybe that’s not the case.   Maybe there are some that find the world of protecting entertainers stimulating in a way that they just would not get in the more subdued assignments that would accompany working day in and out with the Chief Executive Officer of a corporation.   I’m not talking about the “knuckle draggers” or the “buddy-guards” either, I’m thinking of men and women who have the look, training and demeanor to slide right into a “Blue Pill” position and succeed.  They make a conscious choice to work Celebrity Protection and are happy with it.

I’m sometimes referred to as a bit of an anomaly in the fact that I actively pursue and enjoy working with both client types.   I’m able to make the transition between the personalities and protocols, and enjoy the change of pace and variety.  A short time ago I was laughing with my staff that at the beginning of the week I was working with the senior executives of one of the United States largest corporations and by the weekend I was fending off overenthusiastic fans that tried to stop my entertainment client in the middle of a busy street for an autograph.

So having established that there are some Operators who do both, I also find it interesting that in the industry as a whole there is usually an invisible line drawn in the sand and depending on which side of the fence you are on, rarely do the two cross.  A big part of that is perception.  I hope the efforts by others and myself who are involved not only with working with celebrities, but also getting information out about the successes associated with this niche market have helped with that.   The media gives us a steady diet of horror stories; Celebrity X’s bodyguard punches out a Paparazzi.  Entertainer Y’s security has decided to write a “tell all” book, so of course that paints a picture that all clients in this area are extremely difficult or that any agent working with them is little more than an untrained, ex-football player.

Over the years, I have spoken  at major industry conferences (The Protective Security Conference the International Executive Protection Conference, & EPIC) on topics related to Celebrity & VIP Protection, and after each presentation I was greeted by trained individuals who wanted to do more in that segment of the market.   They simply hadn’t thought past the horror stories and stereotypes, and realized that there were great opportunities for Operators with the right skills to make their mark.

Make no mistake about it, I also had a fair share of Protectors who patted me on the back and said, “great lecture, but better you than me.  I just don’t have the tolerance level”.  I understand that completely, and I think that’s much better than the person who says the can live in both worlds but strikes out horribly when given the chance.  I just think the industry is big enough to encompass all facets including Celebrity Protection, Executive Protection, Dignitary & Religious Figures and so on.  Thinking about it, I suppose if Neo had of taken the Blue Pill in the movie he would have had a lot less headaches, but it also would have been quite a bit shorter.

You can read more of my personal views on the Executive Protection Industry in every issue of The Circuit Magazine where I write a regular column entitled, Keeping Your Edge.   Find it HERE.

IEPCMain

A Day in the Life of a Executive Protection Agent (Excerpt)

A Day in the Life: 

 Assisting On a Protection Assignment

By Edward Nielsen

You are at home getting some rest, and your cell phone rings. It’s the call you have been waiting for. The Team Leader on a Protective Security Detail is telling you they need last minute assistance to provide security for a well known recording artist who is in town during the weekend of a major sporting event.  What do you do? Well let me tell you what I did. I immediately asked where and when I was needed. His answer to me was “now,” and then proceeded to give me the location where the client will be at a few short hours from then.  I quickly got dressed and proceeded to the location, getting more specific instructions while in transit. I arrived at the site and met with the head of security for the venue to see where the client would enter and where his cordoned off VIP area was located. I then contacted the Detail Leader and let him know contact was made with the venue security and all are awaiting his arrival.

A few hours later, and just prior to the Client’s arrival we hit another obstacle – due to the massive crowds, the police officers on site had now blocked off the adjacent streets and would not let vehicles closer to the venue. –No exceptions.  The frustration of the officers was very evident, likely because of the amount of people that voiced their displeasure at them once they learned the routes were blocked off.  I tried a variety of approaches with the officers but they did not intend to change their mind regardless of the VIP.  Of course the Detail leader did not want to hear that, and even in the heavy traffic, I knew they would be arriving shortly and there was no way the client was making the quarter mile walk on foot. I enlisted the aid of the venue security and after putting our heads together, got access to a vehicle from the interior side of the street closure.

Once the Principal’s vehicle arrived, we quickly moved the client and the travel party into the new vehicle and whisked it down the street.  I, however, watched that last part happen curbside, as I was now tasked with parking and securing the client’s vehicle in a location where parking spaces were a valuable but rapidly shrinking commodity.  After finding one, I then knew I had almost a half mile jog to get back to the security detail, all the while keeping in the back of my mind that I am going to have to do this again when it’s time to leave…

…Continued in the Spring 2012 Issue of The Circuit Magazine.   To subscribe to The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards and the Official Magazine of the North American Bodyguard Association, click HERE.

 

The Circuit - The Magazine for Bodyguards (previous Issue)

Armored Men Author Tom Taylor Inteview

 

The upcoming issue of the Circuit Magazine – The Magazine for the Executive Protection Agent takes a moment to speak with noted author Tom Taylor regarding his newest book “Armored Men”.  Having worked on other titles such as the novel “Mortal Shield” and the excellent work “Just 2 Seconds” (with Gavin de Becker), Mr. Taylor has the distinction of being not just an accomplished writer, but also a seasoned Security Operator, having spent many years as part of the security detail for a US Governor.  Below is a excerpt from the interview.

You have had an internationally recognized career protecting the likes of President Ford to Mikhail Gorbachev, what was the motivation behind your career as a Protector?

I saw Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt in 1968 in which he and his team had to protect a mob witness. It planted a seed in me about doing protection work. In 1973, I began working as a road trooper in Kansas City for the Missouri Highway Patrol. Four months later, the Patrol began the first full-time security detail for a Missouri governor, called the Executive Security Unit (ESU), with a sergeant and six troopers. At that time, most states had a full-time detail for their governors. In 1974, ESU had their first vacancy when one of the members transferred out. They asked my training officer if he wanted the slot since he had assisted the detail several times and done a good job. He declined, but recommended me. Within two weeks — at 23 and with no protective experience or training – I was protecting the governor. It would be two years before I got any formal training, when I attended the Secret Service’s week long “Protective Operations Briefing” in Washington, DC. I’ve loved EP work since that first detail.

With such a successful career as a Protection Agent, where did the idea of becoming a novel writer come from?

I’ve always been an avid reader and my favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, and Alex Berenson. I’ve always had an interest in writing, as well. In 1991, I wrote a series of articles about EP work for the Missouri Trooper magazine. I was commanding the division at that time, protecting my fourth governor, and wrote the series because so many officers had misconceptions about protection work. The series won the Article of the Year Award. I began toying with the idea of writing a novel in the mid-1980s. I had worked around all of the other governor’s details for years and heard many great stories. So in the late 1990s, I began writing my first novel. In Mortal Shield, many of the situations in the book were inspired by true events that happened to some protective detail.

Armored Men, seems to have made a splash in the Executive Protection industry as well as the mainstream public, was it your intent to create these “hero-like” character who reach all walks of life?

Absolutely. I’ve had many people who know nothing about protection tell me they loved the book and now have more respect for protective agents. Over the years, one question I heard more often than any other from members of the general public was: “What’s your job like?” They watch Hollywood’s portrayal of protectors and use that as their reference. There is plenty of fiction that portrays realistic situations for military or law enforcement figures. But it’s rare to find a novel that accurately captures a story about EP operations. You’ll find protectors accurately mentioned in the storyline of a Clancy or Flynn novel, but the book isn’t about those characters. So I decided to write that book.

What has been your reaction to how well this book has been received by protection agents worldwide?

As I say in the Author’s Note, the most meaningful feedback has been from other protectors. Especially from other top experts, like Bob Duggan at ESI, Hans van Beuge at Savior Protective Services, and Elijah Shaw at Icon.  The positive feedback from protectors all over the world shows we all face the same challenges.

For the full interview conducted by Derrick “Bear” Collins, watch for the Summer 2011 issue of The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards.

 

 

 

The Executive Protection Magazine

While Blogs & Newsgroups might be the wave of the future in terms of delivering up to the minute news reporting, there is still a place for the printed page.  In the world of Executive Protection, The Circuit Magazine fills that niche offering news, tips, interviews, equipment reviews and more with all things related to the Bodyguard & Close Protection Industry.

Now on issue #10, the fine folks at the North American Bodyguard Guard Association (NABA) also with the long-standing British Bodyguard Association (BBA) produce a full-color magazine that covers the A-Z of security industry.

A subscription to the magazine comes free with membership to either of the above organizations, or you can order individually HERE.

If past issues are what you are looking for, I’d also suggest checking out BodyguardMagazines.com, where you can order, and also find a preview of the articles.

Latest issue of The Circuit Bodyguard Magazine On Sale Now

The latest issue of The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards & Security Professionals is on sale now.

Order yours by clicking HERE.

The latest issue features engaging articles including the effectiveness of the surge in Afghanistan, prepping your “Go Bag’ and a great interview conducted by Harlan Austin of Bodyguard Careers with the one & only Tony Scotti.  These three alone are well worth the $8.00 usd cover price.

To preview or order previous issues of the full-color quarterly mag, click HERE.

Introduction to Executive Protection

The Event:

Icon Services Corporation is proud to introduce our exciting 1 day seminar on Executive Protection held August 7, 2010 in Phoenix AZ.  Hosted by the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA) this class is a must for those seeking to enter the field as well as existing Operators looking to make a bigger mark in the challenging world of Executive Protection.  A fully immersive interactive class, attendees will get a whirlwind overview on the vital steps needed to successfully be a bodyguard in more than just name.

The Agenda:

  • The Business of Protection
  • Client Interactions
  • Protective Formations
  • The Advance
  • Vehicle Dynamics
  • Critical Analysis
  • And more…

The Instructor:

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.  What sets this course apart is the instructor’s proven method of teaching not from a textbook, but speaking as a current operator with his finger on the pulse of the market.

The Benefits:

  • Free 1 year Membership to the North American Bodyguard Association
  • Professional Head shot by Contact Front Photography to market yourself
  • Access to members only job board (NABA)
  • Automatic discount on future courses held by ICON or the NABA
  • Industry useful hand outs and give-aways

The Host:

The North American Bodyguard Association (NABA) goal is to unite and support both trained and aspiring  bodyguards within North America with the larger representation of security professionals around the world via its membership and information programs.  The association is a vibrant networking and resource hub, which provides members with the opportunity to network and actively engage with their peers in the spirit of professional brotherhood.  Learn more by visiting www.AmericanBodyguards.org.

The Cost:

$220.00 investment

Attendance upon pre-approval only.  Limited seating available.  For more information contact (651) 695-8778, email training@industry-icon.com or  click HERE