Tag Archives: the circuit magazine

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.

Ethics in the Executive Protection Industry

The Issue of Ethics

 

By Elijah Shaw

 

Recently on the North American Bodyguard Association’s  discussion board (found at either www.AmericanBodyguards.org) I brought up the subject of moral dilemmas and how they affect the security professional, particularly those involved heavily with close protection.  Because we wanted honest answers to the “What would you do if…” question, we even allowed participants to post their answers anonymously.  While the discussion was lively and a lot of good points were made, I had the sneaky suspicion in the back of my brain that while most answered overwhelmingly on the side of “I won’t cross the line for a client that breaks anything other than a minor law or two” I wondered if those that felt otherwise just choose to keep it to themselves? Anonymous feature or not.

There is an unavoidable reality to the situation that clients are hard to find and once you have them we traditionally do everything in our power to hold on to them and keep them happy.   A bird in the hand so to speak.  But when faced with a situation that might be at odds with our individual ethics, do we turn a blind eye to the activity, or do we hold our ground regardless of the employment consequences?  Of course by and large we all consider ourselves honorable people but the reality of life is that each of us has our own internal compass.  Additionally there’s an age old saying “it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.”  Does that mean that allowing a client to “get away” with something is ok as long as there is very minimal chance that it would come back to bite you?

Notice that I have not given any examples of the moral dilemmas that are the topic of this column.  That is intentional because up into this point, I wanted you, the reader, to come up with your own set of circumstances in your minds eye.  What may be a black and white to one protection agent may be a shade of grey to another.  However, for the purposes of this discussion, allow me to pose a few questions.  Answer truthfully, and since this article is not required reading for an Executive Protection oral exam (yet) the only person you have to be honest with is yourself.

 

Situation #1

 

Your client is a wealthy businessman who has always treated you fairly.  At a country club dinner you sit the next table over and hear the client and his associate engage in conversation that includes a lengthy discussion filled with degrading hate speech about a particular minority group.  Once back in the car he asks how you feel about that particular group.  What do you say?

 

Expanding on that: Would your response change if hypothetically your son were now married to a woman in that particular racial group?

 

Situation #2

 

You receive instructions from your Principal that you’re to accompany him on a two day out of town business trip.  Once there you quickly notice that your married client is actually engaged in an affair and that this trip is just a cover story.  Weeks later the Principal’s wife pulls you to the side, and with tears in her eyes tells you what she suspects and begs to know the truth.  What do you do?

 

Would you answer change if she confided that he has physically abused her and that your affirmation of the affair would be grounds for divorce so that she could finally leave him?

 

Situation #3

 

Your client is a celebrated actress and philanthropist who just donated a large sum of money to a reputable charity in a much publicized manner.  You later discover documents showing that someone in the charity has funneled the money back to the client, effectively making it a PR stunt.  Do you do anything with this information?

 

Make the charity into one working on an autism cure.  Now imagine you had a younger sibling with severe autism.  Change anything?

 

Read the full story in The Circuit – The Magazine for Bodyguards by ordering HERE.    You can also receive 1 year’s subscription to The Circuit, by  joining the North American Bodyguard Association.  Click HERE for more info.

Is There a Magazine for Bodyguards?

The short answer is yes.

The Circuit Magazine is THE official magazine for Bodyguards & Security Professionals (*and I’m not just saying that because i’m the US Managing Editor).

*Well maybe I am staying that because i’m the US Managing Editor, but also because it’s true!

Every quarter we (meaning the fine folks at the North American & British Bodyguard Associations) produce a full-color magazine that covers the A-Z of the industry, everything from tips on finding corporate clients to firearm reviews to lessons learned from high risk operators — The Circuit has it all.

We’ve also made it a bit easier to order current and past issues by teaming up with BodyguardMagazines.com, so If you’ve missed any, stop by the site today and complete your collection.

The Circuit Magazine Preview Page

The Circuit is a Magazine co-produced by the British Bodyguard Association (BBA) and the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA) who’s goal is to spotlight the role of Executive Protection & related fields to our community and the outside world.  A full-color glossy with high production values, the publication is truly international, with contributors and readers from New Zealand to New Hampshire.   In addition to being the Managing US Editor, I currently write an ongoing column entitled, “Keeping Your Edge”, which gives my opinions on a variety of topics that affect our industry.  Take a look at some of the past columns from me as well as other valued contributors.

Currently in the library:

Keeping Your Edge

by Elijah Shaw (yours truly)

The Role of Firearms in Executive Protection

by Justin Johnson

To check out the Books & Magazine Page, click HERE.