Breaking into the Executive Protection (EP) industry, putting in work or sometimes you’ve got to pay the bills.
After a successful career as a military member, police officer, and security professional I made a decision to walk away from my position as Assistant Director of Public Safety at a college to enter into the world of executive protection. Doing EP work had long been a goal of mine and I felt that I was ready and able to make the move.
In order to do this, prior to leaving my full time job I did a few things, I joined several of the Facebook pages related to executive protection and kept my mouth shut and my reading eyes open. I sought out training to give me the ability to use the skills I had acquired through my professional life in an EP position. I finally decided to attend the LaSorsa & Associates 3 Day Executive Protection Agents course, Vehicle Dynamics Institute (VDI) Accident Avoidance course, and later followed up with Direct Action Groups VIP/PSD Protection course. I already had my home state Security Guard license and followed up by obtaining my New York and Florida Security Guard licenses.
While taking care of the above training basics I began networking and making contacts for work. Once I had a some solid contacts for work I left my position and was ready to go out and work. Here are some of my experiences and observations along the way.
First despite many companies claiming to provide EP services I found that what they thought was EP was not necessarily what would be considered traditional EP work. Notification of available work was short to none existent and many of the people running the company’s did not consider advances, threat/risk assessments, and EP training an essential part of personnel assigned to a detail. Note have your resume, bio, headshot in business attire, and licenses ready to be sent out immediately. In this line have a good phone number, professional email address, a professional looking LinkedIn page does not hurt either. Own at least one good suite, three white shirts & ties, and a good pair of shoes that go with the suit. Basic minimal gear IMHO are a flashlight, small low profile trauma kit, smart phone with apps that will help you get the job done, and a small multi tool. A lot of guys showed up with nothing to work with (including knowledge or the desire to actually work).
What some employers consider EP work are workplace violence, high risk terminations, security escorts, special events, strike related duties, etc… as well as the more traditional EP details. Skills that have worked for me are understanding and having the ability to do hasty advances, driving skills, medical training, threat/risk assessments, and communications skills have probably been the most helpful in having positive feedback. Be willing to start from the bottom levels of any detail and give 100% at whatever you do. Bring value to any detail you work. Be willing to spend time doing research into who your principal/clients are, what is happening in your AO. Doing my own advance when nobody else thought it was necessary.
In conclusion to succeed first off have a positive and willing to put in the work attitude. Be professional have the basic tools for your assignment, show up early (on time is late), communications are huge and will pay dividends long term, if you are new to the industry don’t think or act like you know it all, make yourself useful your mere presence will not ensure your continued employment, lastly don’t bad mouth your employer to principles, hand out your personal business cards, and generally cut the legs out from the people that got you your current work. Be professional and don’t burn bridges it’s a small world.