I’ve been active in the Executive Protection Industry since 1984.
I’m not a huge fan of celebrities and as a Nashville area resident, my
friends can tell you I’m not real good at recognizing musicians, NASCAR
drivers and other celebrities from stage and screen.
What I’m good at is Threat Analysis. I’m fast and I’m usually correct at making sense of someone’s intentions. If you want to check out a great book on gut feeling, read Dr. Malcolm Gladwell’s book titled Blink.
Some of my principals include President Clinton in Warsaw Poland, Madame Secretary Albright in Jerusalem and Arafat’s HQ in Ramallah Palestine, Admirals, Generals and the Under Secretary of State in Sicily, Italy.
Here in the US, I’ve worked with Alan Jackson in Nashville, Don Shula and Bob Griese at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Ozzy, Gene Simmons, a stud show horse named Ebony’s Pride and many others in Nashville.
These are all great but they’re rare. The meat and potatoes of the industry are High-Risk Terminations where a potentially violent employee is going to be fired. Yes, you will be there when they’re fired and you will stay with the executive for about 4-7 days.
Let’s distinguish between body guard and executive protection. What do you think when you hear “body guard”? Cheesy movies, rent-a-cops, an ill-fitting sport coat with a sewn on badge and $10 an hour!
Executive Protection goes way beyond trading punches or taking a bullet for someone. The term “Executive” should be taken literally. How many 6 and 7 figure income earners hang out with $10 an hour guys? None! It doesn’t happen!
If you are going to provide Executive Protection, you had better speak the language of executives. This isn’t limited to what you say or how you say it. It’s more how you listen and how you make the executive look good and present no possibilities of embarrassing the principal.
Your job is to keep a watchful eye and a way to escape while systematically conducting threat analysis on everyone that is in the office, hotel, traffic, restaurant, bar and home.
Fight or Flight? A natural question that has plagued man since the beginning of time. It’s easy in the Executive Protection arena. It’s Flight! Here’s why: You’re at dinner with an executive, politely keeping your mouth shut, you’re dressed in an appropriate suit, long sleeve blue or white shirt, jewel colored tie and shined shoes. You notice a guy at the bar that has is drinking a bit too much for the environment and even notice a shot of tequila.
The guy comes over and starts harassing your principal verbally! What do you do?
We can “what if” scenarios to death but this what you have to be thinking. If you try to take care of the situation yourself, you’ve now exposed the principal to a third party that may have hired the guy to come over and start trouble or simply identify you for the next time.
As the principals’ “Personal Assistant” you should know the Maître D and have him be aware that you are concerned about making sure any unwanted guests are quickly and quietly ushered away.
If it reaches an unacceptable threshold, leave the premises. My recommendations to enter the EP community are to be very fit. It’s not that you’re going to be fighting or running long distance. It’s that you’re in business and you need to sell yourself. Highly compensated executives don’t waste time and thus make time to be fit. You may be tasked to be a tennis, golf or racquetball partner.
While I was protecting the Under Secretary of State in 1994, I had to go for a run with him and his 3 (jerks) US Secret Service body guards. I was carrying a 1911 with two magazines and a Motorola radio. Thankfully, I was very fit as I was training for Navy EOD.
I’m 6’5” and was going around 245. He was 6’ and about 155 pounds. He was a runner. I ran because I had to. About 3 miles into the run, he asked if I wanted to pick up the pace a bit! After about 5 minutes we’re going down the center road at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily and passing my Chief who’s standing outside our office.
Big cheesy grin and a wave! About 2 minutes later here come the 3 Secret Service guys!
My point is that you have to be able to communicate and relate to your principal and once in a while, at their request, you need to bring you’re “A” game.
When the 3 jerks showed up at the gym a bit later than me and the Under Secretary, they complimented me and bought me a bottle of water. Sucked to be them on the flight out. If I wasn’t prepared, it would have been me on the receiving end of a not-so-pleasant conversation.
The Executive Protection field is in dire need of articulate, fast-thinking, business-minded people. Ladies too!
Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!
Check it out at EOD Gear!
Find a book on Business Etiquette and read it.
Men’s Wearhouse is my favorite place for a suit. They’re in most major cities, will press your suits for free, lifetime alterations for free and they keep your suits and sizes in a database in case you forgot something while traveling. Fit the suit for a concealed weapon.
Take lessons from a professional shooter and practice shooting in your suits. Any town has a gun shop and shooting range whether indoors or out.
Buy a latte’ at Barnes & Nobles, sit down and read Inc., Fortune, Money, Fast Company and the Harvard Business Review. Subscribe to the Business Journal. I buy the Nashville Business Journal all the time. Not only will it bring you up to speed on business but also may provide you a way to find your next client.
Find an executive training seminar close to where you live. After you’ve taken a local course, then start looking around the country for other courses. BEWARE of ass-clowns selling you on a DVD course or promises of working overseas. You'll lose your money!
I only endorse EPI's training. They're the Harvard of Executive Protection!
Take an MMA or Krav Maga course for a couple of months. Remember your job is not to fight but to be aware. Start watching people in bars or other high-stress environments and begin predicting their actions.
Drive your car intentionally. Always be in the present. What if you’re sitting at a red light and … you get my point.
I make $400 a day minimum plus Per Diem, rental car if I’m traveling and am staying in the hotel the principal does. The deal is done when I get my flight confirmation.
If you make the decision to enter the Executive Protection Profession, we look forward to hearing from you and possibly working with you in the future.
If you have any questions, please feel free to use the "Contact Me" form on this site.
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