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Category Archives: bodyguard

So You’re a Shooter…

Now I hate to crush a lot of peoples dreams by saying this, but so what if you are a shooter. Shooting is not an essential skill one needs to be successful in the executive protection industry. Time and time again you will hear heads of major companies and  executive services department say, “it is a nice skill, but it’s not what I am looking for”.  I am not saying that employers don’t want you to have a license to carry, it’s more along the line of,  you will rarely ever actually need to use your weapon, cause let’s be realistic when was the last time you heard of an executive protection agent or even a bodyguard drawing and firing their weapon here in the states?

You are ten times more likely to have a medical emergency with your client then you are to ever have the need to draw and fire your weapon. Now I know many of you think this industry is all about what a great shot you are, but it just isn’t. The thought of the possibility of firing your weapon is what makes this industry so sexy to many people. Being a shooter does not make you an executive protection specialist, it doesn’t even classify you as a bodyguard. That’s why here at ESI we place an emphasis on your soft skills. If you think that an executive protection school should be about shooting, you will be sorely disappointed. Get your range time in, make sure you have your license to carry, just don’t think for one minute that the job is going to always require you to draw that weapon and fire.

In this day and age the job requires one to be more observant. To be able to see an on coming attack and prevent said attack without the client ever knowing about it. This skill is known as situational awareness and is a vital tool to your success as an executive protection agent.

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Hard Skills: Medical

Speaking with those who are in the position to hire, I asked what do you believe is the most important hard skill? The response across the board was Medical!  Now what does that tell me, and what does it tell you? That there is not that much emphasis placed on shooting or martial arts. Like I said in a previous post, those skills are great to have but aren’t always what the employer is looking for.

Medical skills that are needed will vary by client.  In some instances a basic first aid certification will be all that you need, that is if your client is young, in fair health and is not susceptible to the party culture.  Now if your client is say middle aged, drinks heavily, is over weight and has heart problems you will most likely need an EMT basic or they might even want someone with nursing experience.  Don’t forget many families with small children are going to want some sort of medical certification as children are prone to injury.

Now here at ESI we make sure each of our 28-day resident students receive their basic first aid certification during their executive protection training as we see it as being fundamental to your career. For those who would like to upgrade from the basic first aid many local community colleges offer your basic EMT certification it can take you an additional six months. I have also had employers recommend everything from your basic CNA certification to a Tactical Combat Casualty Care certification. When you walk into this profession you are generally unsure of who your client will be. So it is recommended to go ahead and seek some extra medical training. 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in bodyguard, ESI, executive protection

 

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Hard Skills: What Are They?

In the Executive Protection industry, we often reference hard skills and soft skills but which skills are what and which skill sets do we really need? Hard skills, what exactly are they? Our hard skill sets include driving, shooting, marital arts and medical, pretty much anything that would be a response to an altercation or incident.

Which of these skill sets are most important to your client or your boss? Your boss is most likely going to place emphasis on medical and driving. Why, you might ask? Well it is more likely that your principal is going to have a medical emergency long before you will ever be required to draw and fire your weapon.

Driving is one of those must have skills. A large percentage of serious attacks happen in and around one’s vehicle, now this not just random statement but rather based on facts.  Just ask the guys over at Vehicle Dynamics Institute, who effectively teach one to stay and maneuver out of “The Kill Zone”.

Shooting and martial arts to hard skills that are your reactive skill sets, very rarely will you ever be required to use them while on the job. I always say that if you have to use your weapon you didn’t do your job correctly in the first place.  There are of course those principals that want you to be a skilled shooter, but the honest truth is you will likely never un-holster your weapon.

Let’s finish this week off by taking an in-depth look into each of these hard skills and find out from the employers if any of these skills are what they are looking for when hiring a new agent.

 

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Lucky Job Hunting by Brandon Delcamp

I was once told that “luck” is defined as the point in time where opportunity presents itself to a person that has prepared through education and training to take on that opportunity.  Further I can attest that the harder a person works, the luckier they seem to get.

Hard work we all get.  It is that first one at the job, last to leave mentality.  It is that drive where we seek to be productive, carry the heaviest load and see all of our tasks to the end.  I have seen a tremendous number of individuals that are this person, and yet when it comes time for the job hunt they fail to execute on the very practices that will make them a great candidate for the job.

Planning and Preparation: 

We do this every day in nearly every job and yet so often the only planning that goes into a job hunt is opening the classified section of a local newspaper in search of a specific position.  Planning should begin with a definition and identification of your skills.  You need to assess what you do well naturally, what you have been trained to do, what you have actually done, and how you can apply it to make you valuable in what potential positions.  Once you have answered these questions you are well on your way to having some of the content for your resume as well as defining what positions you would be well suited for.  The next piece of the planning stage is to identify who needs these skill sets and find out how to contact them.  In the information age the “classified” section of the newspaper has been replaced in many instances by the on line job board.  It is quick and that one stop shop for all of your employment needs, unless you are looking for a position that is niche in nature which is exactly what the bodyguard/EP/CP industry is.  Yes by all means look at the major job boards for postings.  Then seek out professional web pages, blogs, and groups having to do with the industry.  Once you have done all of that it is time to start looking at companies and corporations.  In some capacity every medium to large company will have a security department and the only place they may do their job postings may be on their own web site.  This can be a long slow process, and you may have to remind yourself right before you give up that someone else just gave up which means that next place you look could be that perfect job, and you may be one of a small group that even found the posting.  It Works!  Now a little hint on job hunter trade craft, when you find a job with a company you would love to work for out on open source track it back to the company and possibly their HR department’s list of job postings.  XYZ corp. may have widely distributed a specialist or management job posting and not the other three available jobs within the security department, and once you have tracked it down, it should go on a list of favorite sites to monitor, keeping an eye out for the one that is right for you.  Keep a tablet beside you as you search or open a word document so you can take notes as to where you found information, what dates you checked a given site and the status of any position that you may have applied for.

Application and Resume:  

Which brings us to the actual application process; you should start by taking a couple of the job postings and truly analyzing the job description, and requirements.   They may be listed as bullet points.  They may be in a run on paragraph of skills required.  No matter the format, mark each aspect or specific skill and take the time to evaluate what skills you have or most closely fill the need or skill set that is required.  Write this down and make sure it is incorporated in your resume.  The outline of a  resume you can find all over the internet, the real work is taking the relevant information requested by the employer and organizing it under headings of education, training, work experience, special skills and possibly introductions or closing that features your strongest skills or experience that will make you perfect for the position.  These skills are not going to be required for every position, and in some cases you may include them, just not highlight them.   I advocate never doing the same thing twice, so save every “Specialty Resume” you write and I have often taken the pieces of a given resume and copy and pasted them into one word document so that they can be easily accessed and reused in other resumes that you may need to create.  Another suggestion is that many companies use an individual application process where you fill in this very information in a formatted way.  Look at the format after you fill it in and use that as a model for your own resume.

Tracking and Follow Up:

This is a process, so be patient.  I have seen companies take weeks from posting a position to the first time they actually contact anyone.  Every company has a different policy on how they respond to potential candidates.  Some have a stock email that goes out immediately thanking you and letting you know they will call you if you are a good fit.  I think it is acceptable to send a follow up email and in some settings if you have a phone contact it is also acceptable to call.  I would also suggest you keep a list of all of the positions that you apply for.  The list should include the date of the job posting, the date you sent in your application/resume, any responses you have received.  It is difficult to get real feedback on why you are considered, and why you were disqualified so you will have to try your best to do some self-evaluation.  Is the resume/application presenting me at my best?  Are my skills fulfilling the requirements for the position?  Did I get better responses from a particular resume I am using and can I tell what is different about it that I can capitalize on and implement on other specialized resumes.  Once again in all honesty researching, writing and maintaining a great resume is a job in and of itself.  There is no quick fix beyond investment of time and self.

The Interview:

The interview starts the first time you hit send with a document you have prepared.  Be aware if there are special instructions as to how to send your application or resume then follow them to the letter.  I have heard of companies that throw out every applicant that did not put the correct reference word in the email they sent.  Every phrase, skill and statement will be analyzed for value, content and organization.  If you provide a contact phone number make sure you answer it professionally.  “What up Dude?”   Will definitely fall into the unprofessional category and reflect poorly on you.   Please think of your answering machine message as well.  It is a reflection of you.  Potential employers do not want to listen to your favorite music star or adult cartoon character while they are waiting for you to answer and they definitely do not want to leave a message concerning a job opportunity in this business for someone that has an unprofessional message on their answering machine/service.  Get a professional/basic email address for business use.  DynomiteMan127@xyz, or 1coolkitty@xyz may play well on the social scene, but they will fail miserably in the professional world.  The next hurdle is social media.  More and more employers are taking a look at the online profile of applicants.  If there are things that you would not want a potential employer to see make sure access is blocked or the content is sanitized.  Even better would be to keep a separate account strictly as a reflection of your professional image.  I recommend Linked in.   It is the social media of the professional, and a great place to network.

Wow, I want to take a second to point out that there are at least four areas where you may have put forth an image that would eliminate you as a potential candidate for a position and you did not even realize you were in the interview process!!!

Be prepared to speak with someone that would potentially call to do an initial phone interview.  Some companies like to make this very impromptu and informal, and others like to schedule a block of time and conduct a much more formal interview.  Either way take the time to look up “job interview questions”, there are many resources so that you can see what are likely the questions you will be asked and understand what they are looking for in an answer.  If possible role-play with a friend or family member or at the very least the person in the mirror so that you are prepared to field the potential question.  If the interview is unscheduled and informal, the interviewer should ask if this is a good time.  If it is not, be honest and let them know it is a bad time.  Then suggest a time that would be better.  You will not do a good job presenting yourself, and they will not want to listen if your children are playing loudly, or if you are in the grocery store.  If you set a phone interview be prepared just like you are about to walk in their office.  Have any reference material you may need close to hand, prepare any questions you may have about the job or company and I always keep a copy of the actual job posting as a reference as well.  At that point relax and be yourself.  You want to be prepared, but you want to let a little of your personality come through rather than just repeating the canned answers that your internet search produced.  Finally you may be invited to come in for a face to face interview.  Follow instructions, confirm a contact number for the interviewer, and write down the time and place.  Get an address and confirm the location in the building or complex.   Dress accordingly.  A neat, clean appearance in professional attire is a must.  Remember if you are applying for a position in this industry you are applying for a position of Trust.  You must in every way look the part of the consummate professional that can be trusted with the lives and safety of those around them.  Hold yourself to a higher standard than they will and you will be fine.  The actual interview is no different than the phone interview; they just want to see who you are and how you represent yourself, and how you will represent them.  Keep that in mind.   How you handle social interaction and what is appropriate is what will often make the difference.

These concepts are simple and because in many cases we look for a job for a relatively short period and then we are employed for months and even years before we go on the hunt again it is easy to lose sight of how much of a full time JOB, job hunting is.  We also forget that it is a process that requires planning preparation, active search and perseverance, follow up and execution.  None of this will happen while sitting on the couch with a TV remote or Xbox controller in your hand.  So we have come full circle.  If my theory that “The harder you work the luckier you will get,” holds true, then I hope you are all very lucky in your present or future job hunting endeavors.

As a quick disclaimer, if you find a job posting for a company you are unfamiliar with you must engage in a little due diligence.  Find out if the company exists, is it licensed, or incorporated in the state where the job op is.  And most of all if it seems too good to be true it probably is.  We plan to produce another article on this very process in the coming weeks.

Brandon J Delcamp

 

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Concerning The New Gun Legislation and PSD Training Here at ESI

We have had a number of questions concerning the effect of the new gun legislation on our classes.  ESI would like to address the new gun laws in Colorado and how they will affect students, and our training programs.  Bottom line is, in most cases it will not.   Magazine capacity as the legislation reads is not to be implemented on any existing magazines, or on those coming into the state with grandfathered magazines.  I will add that if that changes in the future we will continue to train using smaller capacity magazines and become more proficient at reloading!  Yes, we will adapt and overcome!  Next, ESI is not a Public College or University.  We are a Private School and the law to allow/disallow concealed carry did not affect us, nor will it affect us if the law is changed back.  The other two pieces of legislation are focused on sales, transfers and funding the background checks.  Both scenarios, though potentially more costly and time consuming in nature will primarily effect residents of Colorado.  Otherwise both of these can be addressed by planning ahead and dealing with the fees/paperwork etc. involved in purchasing weapons.  So at this point there will be little or no effect to the students of ESI, and how we conduct our training.  I would also offer that this legislation is a ways from implementation so it is likely not of immediate concern to anyone currently enrolled in the programs.

 

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To The End Of 2012 And To The Start of 2013 Here AT ESI

Where can I begin? I have been overly quiet as of late and have fallen behind on many duties here at ESI. There are a couple reasons behind the silence. We are one of the few schools in the industry where all we do is training, and that means for us here in the office  we must keep things running smooth, and boy was it ever chaotic towards the end of 2012! With fully loaded classes running through the fall and the First ever EPIC-LIFEFORCE CONFERENCE in December we had our hands full!  We have officially reached our calm before the storm and have a few minutes to relax and reflect.

2012 was a great year for our graduates and us! In addition, we know it will continue into 2013, as this is our 33rd year in business. We had one of our best instructors retire, Tony Pagni.  After 30 years of teaching, Tony Pagni resigned from ESI’s Shooting Staff. Tony learned his craft from some of the best in the shooting world: Lance Weber, Dick Barber, Clay Owens, and John Farnam. The last fifteen years with ESI, Tony was the Range Master and developer of ESI’s Course of Fire. His contribution to the quality of ESI’s shooting program is immeasurable and he passes on a great legacy for which he will be remembered. We will miss him dearly and wish him the best!

ESI’s Distance Education program went on-line at the beginning of the year thanks to the loving care and technology development from Brandy Erdman. With the CPS and CSS going on-line, we were able to reduce the price of the cost for our students making it easier and more convenient for our students to complete their goals.

Finally, I believe the most exciting event of the year took place, EPIC-LIFEFORCE. The conference was the first of its kind, uniting the two oldest and most recognized schools in the close protection industry Executive Protection Institute and Executive Security International and their Alumni! This year’s conference was held in Las Vegas and hosted by ESI, the focus this year was Security Response to Global Crisis. The keynote speakers included Cynthia Hetherington, The Hetherington Group; Filippo Marino Director, Executive Protection & Intelligence, McDonald’s Corporation; Beth Brown Manager, Corporate Command Center, Target; Charles Randolph, Director – Executive Protection & Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation; Rick Sweeney, President of Secfor International; Peter Dordal, Senior Vice President, Garda World.  These speakers brought us invaluable knowledge of how today’s security is changing to a global view and how we not only have to face man made threats but we must also have the proper responses to threats from Mother Nature. One theme that carried over from speaker to speaker is that critical thinking is a must for those working in this industry, being a great shooter is not enough. I will have video of the conference up here within the next 24 hours for those of you who were unable to attend.  In 2013, it will be EPI’s turn to host the EPIC-LIFEFORCE conference and they have chosen San Antonio as their location. It will be great to network once again with our brethren at EPI.

W e began building an electronic database of all of our graduates and anticipate we will have it finished here in the next month. Our hope is that with this database we will be able to assist our Alumni with networking and employment opportunities. We also decided to make ESI Alumni Association a free service to our graduates and students; the on-line network is full of job postings and great information about the security industry. If you are a graduate and would like to sign up for this now free service apply here .

The start of our training season will be here in less than 3 weeks! Opening up with Corporate Security and Threat Management on March 3rd. CSTM really focuses on the issues of Global Crisis Management. The Program will cover Best Practices in a wide range of issues confronting corporate security personnel: Monitoring, Tracking and Responding to Global Crisis whether human or natural, Managing Threats to Employees, Property and Executives; strengthening the understanding of corporate security personnel of the core analytical concepts of criminal patterns, Link Analysis, Association Matrix, Time Lines and Flow Charts; learning interview skills of Deception Detection and Statement Analysis as well as clues to personality profiles and Handwriting Analysis; developing policies to mitigate Workplace Disruption and Violence and Managing Aggression and Pre-Indicators of Dangerous Behavior; finally, students will be introduced to Kidnap & Ransom practices. Mr. Duggan touts this course as the best course here at ESI. Immediately after CSTM begins our world renowned Executive Protection course which is followed up by the PSD Protective Operations.

 

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Buddyguards, A Dangerous and Growing Trend by Brandon J Delcamp

As the sales and marketing director for Executive Security International I have had a number of conversations with protective agents working in the industry that have little or no formal training.  They are filling the roles of close protection agents for celebrities, ministries, music artists and for the most part are getting by, but the, “what if” factor is frightening to say the least.  I queried one of these agents concerning the application of an “advance” his reply. . . . “An ad-what?”

Initially I was shocked, but after some consideration I realized that the people doing the hiring are not always educated as to what skill sets a protective agent should possess.  When hiring someone to protect them they rely on superficial skill sets.  These skills can be summed up in three questions that describe the base needs that most clients seek to fulfill.  Can I trust this person?  Will I feel comfortable with this person being around me at all times?  Do I “feel” they can protect me?   This is a trifecta of emotional motivators.   If the principal, or the person doing the hiring for the principal can say yes to the three questions above the person is likely to get the job, and as long as there are no incidents, they may even keep the job.   Look closely at the last question.  Does the client “feel”.  There are many reasons that the client can and will say, “Yes I do feel the person I trust will be able to protect me” regardless of whether that person actually has the training and skills to protect them.  Most commonly the agent may have known or had some connection to the client as a friend or family member.  Thus there is a personal connection or trust built into the relationship, and undoubtedly the associate hired as a body guard would do anything they can to protect the client.  The issue at hand is not the willingness, but the knowledge of how to protect a client.

Many of these protectors may have the reactionary hard combative skill sets that the public at large believes a bodyguard must have, but know nothing of the soft skills used by a Protection Specialist that will ideally mitigate the need of ever having to use their hard skills thus limiting exposure for the principal both physically and legally.  I have an example of a retired police officer that was the first choice of a new music artist to come on her first concert tour and provide her with close protection.  The retired police officer was her uncle.  He filled the basic needs of the client, he was her uncle and therefore trusted, and because he had law enforcement skills it was assumed by all that he had full knowledge of the protection business.  The uncle is the one that called me half way through that concert tour.  I truly admire the man, he did not let pride get in the way of admitting that his LE skill sets may be a great foundation for a Protection Specialist, but they were only a portion of what he believed he truly needed to operate within the EP industry and properly protect his niece.  After working with other protection agents and teams during the concert tour it became clear to the uncle that he did not fully understand the planning, coordination, protocol, and etiquette of the industry.

This would bring up two points that I feel we can all learn from.   Those in the industry that are struggling with finding a niche on a detail may bear in mind that; although they have a myriad of skills which appeal to those of us who are in the know, client relations and the ability to quickly develop a rapport with the client that is both comfortable, and professional while making them feel secure may be the missing ingredient to your success.  These clients are clearly placing great value on the trust and comfort level they have in an individual.  So much so that they are placing value on the base needs illustrated in the aforementioned questions without the knowledge of what skill sets are truly required.  Which brings us to the second point; there are many clients and untrained protective agents that need to be educated in the intricacies of protective services.  We should all be aware of the fact that there are those who simply do not know any better and it is the responsibility of everyone in the business to push education and training to promote the highest level of integrity and professionalism in this time honored industry.

In today’s information age people can go from average Joe to celebrity overnight much like the young lady on her first concert tour.  These individuals find themselves in need of many services that they have no experience in dealing with, overcome by events; the immediate need for security is often times filled by a close friend or family member that is “trusted”, but not trained.  The friend or family member that assumes the role of protective agent is well meaning and truly has the clients best interest in mind, but is also caught up in events and  doing their best.  The other situation that I have encountered was growth.  In one situation a prospective student called to council with me.  He was working (as a volunteer) at a mega-church.  When he started as an usher, there were only a few hundred people in a congregation that grew to nearly ten-thousand over a few years’ time.  He was an avid hunter and held a concealed carry permit and most importantly he was there and willing to take the position of protective agent for the pastoral staff and run the event security.

These scenarios may work out for a period, but it takes only one incident for everyone to realize that the well-meaning “buddy guard “needs training.  In some of the situations an “incident” has been the catalyst for them to seek training.  In other scenarios working different events and mixing with trained protective agents, the buddy guard/protective agent comes to the realization on their own that they are lacking the skills to give their principal the best.   The former police officer uncle and the gentleman working for the mega-church as a volunteer are both examples of this.  The intent was truly to provide the best service possible for the clients.  Fortunately they both realized that the responsibility had grown beyond their ability to deal with the potential threats and negative situations that could arise.

Some of you who read this may be in a similar situation where events and opportunity came before you could prepare yourself.  You realize that the threats are real and the scope of your job description may be greater than you ever expected.  Yet you may hesitate to pursue training wondering if you will be too far behind the curve.  The fact is that you have some real field experience and will get more out of whatever training you do because you immediately see how and where to apply the knowledge you get from the training.

I am sure that others of you have come across clients and agents in similar situations.  The fact remains that information and education is a critical component in elevating the standards of the protection industry.  Sometimes the cold hard facts are what these individuals need to hear.  This can be an unforgiving business with harsh, if not brutal learning curves and each of us walk out the door every day not just responsible for ourselves and the tasks we are given, but for the safety and security of human life.  We train seriously, and take our jobs seriously because it is not just what we do, but who we are.

Brandon J Delcamp

 

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