Below are a few brief comments/observations associated with each of the EPI instructors and staff members. I tended to make a few more comments about the instructors and staff members with whom I had the opportunity to spend a bit more time with, such as either sometime throughout the 7-day PEP course, or during the PRT and pistol courses.
Ana was the second person I spoke with at EPI during the registration process, prior to attending any of your courses. Aside from all the good stuff I had heard and read about associated with EPI, Ana happily and professionally assisted me with my questions and welcomed me in such a way that made me feel as if I was one of the most important people coming to the 7-day PEP course, which eliminated any doubt I may have had with regards to my choice of EP school.
When I met Ana in person on the first day of class, she welcomed me with a warm, caring smile, asked if everything with the hotel accommodations were in order, offered her assistance if at anytime I needed it, and once again made me feel as if I was one of the most important people in the 7-day PEP course. That was a great feeling to have on the first day of a course for someone who didn’t know anybody, and especially for someone such as myself who is a newcomer to the field. Throughout the 7-days of the PEP course, she treated me just as she had previously, which is a significant contributor to my overall 7-day PEP course experience being truly exceptional! Thank you Ana!
Tony’s calm, caring sense of confidence coupled with his passion, competence, and intelligence, and excellent sense of humor made him an instructor that made whatever he talked about interesting and fun to learn. During his presentations as he discussed his case examples, his passion for the material and solving problems seemed especially apparent, and is what got me really interested in wanting to learn more about security driving and surveillance.
The few times I interacted with Tony he was talking with others yet when I approached him/them, he immediately made me feel like I was a part of the group and their conversation. I experienced this feeling of being a part of a “family” with most of the other instructors as well, but this was especially apparent and strong with Tony. This experience was one of the most impactful and greatly appreciated experiences during my recent two weeks with you guys. Thanks Tony!
Jessica was one of our instructors during our 5-day Protector’s Pistol Course, and like the other instructors we had during our 7-day PEP course, she brought a lot of knowledge and experience to the class. Jessica’s ability to teach was apparent by her obvious competence, excellent attention to detail, her ability to calmly and encouragingly give instruction, and her good common sense applied to facilitating one’s learning.
As I had never received formal handgun training before this class, I was constantly changing the way I was gripping the handgun in an attempt to find what would work and feel most comfortable for me. I had remembered hearing (before I attended your class) that the “correct” way to hold a handgun is with the thumbs “stacked” on one another vertically and pointing forward on the left side lower receiver of the handgun; however, I couldn’t get comfortable with my hands/thumbs in this position. Jessica noted that I was “fumbling around” with my grip all the way from the holster up until I would shoot the handgun. I told her I was trying to get my thumbs both pointing forward, but it just wasn’t comfortable, and she just asked me “what grip feels most comfortable?” I said this one, and showed her what I was doing. She looked at my grip and said something to the effect of ‘there you go.’ Grip issue solved, no more fumbling around! Very cool!
In addition to being an excellent instructor, Jessica was taking care of our logistical needs, such as making sure we had ammo as we needed it, while also being a very squared away range master by continuously making sure the range was safe for everyone and pointing out any potential hazards. Along with the above mentioned qualities, Jessica is a detail-oriented person and overall a person that others, including myself, would in general, feel very safe around – without a doubt an incredibly important quality for a PPS. Thanks Jessica.
Initially, Alan seemed quite different than the other EPI instructors, as he was very reserved and quiet; however, as soon as we got to the business of learning physical techniques, I could see him transform into having a fiery passion for what we were doing, and as with all the other instructors Alan is obviously very competent, intelligent, and appeared truly interested in our learning, and made that learning enjoyable. Alan was also more than happy to assist by giving each of us a “feel” for how the techniques should work ☺ – actually, very important kinesthetic information. Thank you Alan for this and for sharing your incredible experience with us.
As with the other instructors, Tom’s obvious level of competence, intelligence, and true interest in the material came through in his presentation of his modules on emergency medicine, vehicle searching techniques, and LE liaison. His presentations, especially his emergency medicine presentation was very interesting, in large part because it had numerous pictures/photographs that really helped emphasize the importance of being well prepared for the inevitable medical emergency that every protector will face.
Tom’s ability to facilitate learning really became apparent during his involvement with us during our protective detail functional exercise (also briefly discussed above). Our initial interaction with him was at the Winchester Regional airport where he discussed tasks associated with the arrival of a principal at a smaller airport such as Winchester Regional, such as area searches, vehicle parking and door opening, to making contact with the airport manager, receiving faxes to authorization issues associated with meeting the principle on the tarmac, etc. Every question I had, Tom answered with straight forward, practical experience-based suggestions and seemed more than happy to answer each of them, which immediately put me at ease with him.
As I mentioned previously, based on my newcomer perspective, Tom, while acting as our principal, did a truly outstanding job of practically engraining the material that had been presented in the classroom during the previous 5 days. Tom made the exercise a great learning experience by challenging our preparedness, our team’s ability to effectively communicate with one another, our team’s ability to be flexible, our ability to make decisions under a little pressure, being punctual (i.e., early), and maintaining a low profile while on a detail. The thing I’ll remember most about this exercise are the “oh crap” moments (i.e., I wasn’t expecting him to ask or do that moments) that I experienced, which really emphasized the necessity of preparedness and being flexible, which I believe gave me a real feel for what an actual protective detail could be like.
During his critique of our protective detail functional exercise, he made straight to the point observations and very practical recommendations on points we could “clean up,” along with acknowledging of the things he thought we did well. Overall, his “critique” was more like an encouragement briefing. It was great learning and a pleasure to have Tom act as our principal during this exercise. Thanks Tom for the great learning experience!
As with the other instructors, Gene is obviously very competent, intelligent, and passionate about what he does. It is interesting that he has spent a career working university campus law enforcement, because his ability to keep his students note taking at light speed, while maintaining their interest, along with his slide-to-slide transition graphics and sounds reminded me of a college professor, only with a lot more practical knowledge ☺. However, I have never seen any college professor (probably no other person for that matter) open and close doors, walk, and in general move as smoothly as Gene does ☺. I can totally imagine Gene having the ability to easily and naturally blend into any environment he wants while working a detail or at any other time.
Pretty much from the first minute of class until graduation, every time I interacted with Gene, even if just passing him during a break, he greeted me by name and with a great attitude, which made me feel very comfortable with being in the class and with the instructors in general, which definitely contributed to my overall exceptional experience. Thank you Gene!!
As with each topic Jerry talked about, such as advances, circles of protection, protector’s role, and social events, it was most interesting to hear him talking about the importance of blending in with corporate and family cultures. The reason for this is that here’s a former Recon Marine that ran protective operations in Vietnam, who has high level dignitary protection experience (e.g., Henry Kissinger!) and has written a practical guide book that is used through the protection industry, and he’s talking about blending in with a family or the cultural environment – which must mean it’s pretty darn important. Jerry, like all the other instructors brought so much experience to the course I attended a couple weeks ago, which has got be one of the reasons your 7-day PEP course is so well known and unique, and why I had the unbelievably good fortune to be a part of that course. Thank you Jerry.
In addition to having the same qualities as the other instructors, of obviously being very competent, intelligent, and passionate about what he does, Jerry seems like someone who could handle any people problem imaginable (and probably any problem in general for that matter), while maintaining an overall great attitude and respect for his fellow human beings, while at the same time being able to “drop the hammer” in less than a moment’s notice if necessary.
Jerry’s discussions on the importance of the mind (e.g., ones belief in self) as it applies to learning a skill, as well as his willingness to share his opinions, even when different from the consensus were very much appreciated by me.
As I as mentioned above, prior to your 5-day Protector’s Pistol course I had never received marksmanship training for the pistol, and had not shot a handgun for a number of years prior to the course, and here I had the opportunity to learn from a guy who not only has 25+ years of protection experience, but also has 30+ years of firearms experience! How cool is that! Throughout the course, as I was learning how to grip, shoot, load/unload, draw and shoot the pistol from my holster, etc., Jerry continuously gave me suggestions, one at a time, so that I could remember and focus on improving one thing at a time, which was a significant help in not making me feel overwhelmed with things I needed to work on/implement. Jerry’s input (using this approach) is what got me overall feeling comfortable shooting a handgun as quickly as I did. One of the many teaching points he made that will stick with me, and one that I know will improve my shooting ability in the future, is the idea of not just focusing on the front site to get the final sight picture, but focus on a smaller dot (“gip”) or possibly an imperfection within the front site. Early on in the course, the instructors offered to apply a small dot to the front site of those who wanted it, but for some reason I didn’t have them apply a dot to the front site of the school gun I was using. Looking back, at the time I was probably thinking I had so many new things to think about such as stance, grip, trigger pull, reloads, handling misfires and malfunctions, etc., which were all things I felt comfortable with by the end of the course. I must have been thinking that adding a small “focus dot” would have been just one more thing I had to think about, besides the front site already had a dot, granted a pretty large dot. Had I had that dot applied, I would have likely felt as comfortable with it as I did my stance, grip, etc. by the end of class. My shot placement was not as consistent as I would have liked it to have been during the course, and I believe that one of the biggest reasons for this was my sight picture focus, which that little dot may have very well improved it. Hindsight….., tools for the future.
Throughout the 7-day PEP and 5-day pistol courses, Jerry made suggestions to me in such a way that it provided encouragement and instilled confidence at the same time – something every student should be fortunate enough to experience. His relevant experience-based examples used to engrain concepts and ideas coupled with his great sense of humor and natural ability to facilitate learning created an ideal learning environment for me in both the pistol course and the 7-day PEP course. Jerry is without a doubt one of the instructors that has truly inspired me to be excited about, never stop learning about, and pursue working in this the field of protection. Thank you for this Jerry!
I only interacted with Bill while asking questions during the module he presented and working on our CPR and AED certification practical requirements, but I can say without a doubt that his brief history of where the 7-day PEP courses have been taught, put him at the top of my funniest story teller’s ever list. This was a very welcome moment, especially since it was late at night (morning ☺) and I was seeing more than one student yawning due to lack of sleep prior to his story. Bill did an excellent job on presenting the CPR and AED information and getting us through our certifications and practical exercises. Thanks Bill!
I only was able to briefly talk with Elliot, but he had the same “feel” of competence, caring, and “get the job done right” as the other instructors had. His module on sense-making was interesting and not something I had thought about before, but can see it being something extremely important to think about and practice. His module blended well with John Musser’s discussions associated with the same topic, and helped ingrain the importance of expecting the unexpected. Thank you Elliot.
Louis’s module on interview techniques was interesting and had me shaking my head and smiling in agreement often throughout his presentation. Based on my experience interviewing candidates for consulting engineer positions (positions that required engineers to interface with people), it is really interesting to see the numerous similarities between interviewing for a protection job as presented by Louis, and the engineering jobs for which I’ve conducted interviews. As with Louis, I have seen on a number of occasions well qualified candidates (on paper) totally lack in some of the most basic interview “to does,” and has always surprised me that someone can spend the time and money to go through any school, yet not spend an hour or two learning, and possibly even practicing for a few minutes, the absolute basics associated with how to interview for a job.
I can say that I very much appreciate Louis’s efforts in maintaining a level of professional standard for those that he employs in the field of protection, efforts I’m sure his clients appreciate, and efforts that will no doubt assist in maintaining the professional reputation of protectors in the eye of the public. I can say that I did not meet a single student (or instructor ☺) that I thought couldn’t easily “pass” the interview basics – another testament to the caliber of student that your 7-day PEP program attracts. Thanks Louis.
David’s technology, open source intelligence, counter-computer hacking, and encryption technology module was probably the most “eye-opening” for me. The reason for this is that as I was listening to him talk I was thinking of all the ways I was currently vulnerable to attacks with my home and work computers, my cell phone, and the use of public computers. Great module on understanding how technology can be used in our favor as well as against us – information I personally needed to hear! The natural ability to facilitate learning and make it interesting and fun must run in the family ☺. Thank you David.
John is not only a very competent and talented instructor, he has presence, intelligence, passion, and is physically fit, all of which make him an excellent protector role model from my perspective. His presence, strong passion for the material (and seemingly, life in general), and his very interesting and relevant experience-based examples, made me, and I’m sure each of my fellow students, see him as a leader and want to catch every word he said.
As with the classroom modules he taught, in addition to his numerous years of experience and attention to detail, John’s incredible ability to facilitate learning, and making it interesting and fun came out during the practical exercises as well. John did an outstanding job of emphasizing the critical components of an exercise, such as “Positive Control, Grip, & Space” during the principal transfer – from one vehicle to another – exercise, and does it in such a way that they will be remembered long term. His passion, interest in wanting the student to learn, and willingness to freely share his experience was hugely appreciated, and made me want to sign up for any of his classes. Thanks for the great learning experience John!
In addition to his obvious competence, intelligence, and significant passion that he brought to our 7-day PEP course, John has a whole lot of knowledge, experience, and a very funny sense of humor, which together with his natural ability to facilitate ones learning and service oriented approach, made for a great learning environment in both the classroom and during the practical exercises at the shooting range.
As I as mention above, I had never received handgun marksmanship training, and had not shot a handgun for a number of years prior to your 5-day Protector’s Pistol course. Throughout the course, as I was learning how to grip, stand, shoot, load/unload, draw and shoot the pistol from my holster, etc., John continuously gave me encouraging suggestions, and made sure that whatever I was doing, I did calmly and with good control, which I believe played a large part in what got me overall feeling comfortable shooting a handgun as quickly as I did.
In addition to this, John went out of his way to ensure I had every question answered and request met. For example, as I was looking through my notes an hour or so before the 7-day PEP course written exam, I realized that I had written down the heading “the 7 signs of terrorism,” however, I hadn’t written down the “7” signs. I saw John and asked if he knew what they were and he said there were 8 signs, but he would check it out anyway. Unexpectedly, during our last module before our test, he came up to our table and handed me a piece of paper which contained a list of the 8 signs of terrorism, which he had hand written out! I was thinking, wow, he did that just for me? It felt like he gave me special attention, and yet I was just one of the 50+ students, and someone he didn’t even know, which made me feel really good and was very unexpected.
Another example is when we were at the range, when after the second day my unaccustomed thumbs were getting a little sore ☺ from loading rounds into my magazines and I asked John if he or anyone he knew had a pair of gloves that I might be able to use while reloading my magazines. He said he’d see what he could do. Literally, less than a minute later I found a pair of gloves sitting on my ammo box, another wow. Not only did he very rapidly get a pair of gloves to me, they were his personal pair of gloves! I can’t tell you when the last time someone that barely knew me did something like that for me. As with the hand written notes he gave me earlier, it was a really cool feeling, one that I wish we could all experience more often. My experience being around John is that he is really good at what he does by having a great attitude, paying attention to details and making sure the needs of those around him are being met. With all his years of experience, knowledge and positions in the field of protection, and being on the receiving end of this service, especially being someone who is a total newcomer to the field, is a truly humbling feeling. John is one of the instructors that has very much inspired me to be excited about and pursue working in this field. Thank you for the exceptional service John!
Sheriff Roper immediately struck me as a very “squared away” guy. His uniform was impeccable, he had strong presence, and spoke with the confidence of someone who knew a whole lot about the U.S. and its legal system, while at the same time seemed like someone who would provide anyone in true need with whatever assistance they required. His module was very informative especially with regards to how both federal and VA state laws apply to the PPS. Sheriff Roper is an excellent speaker, and an excellent representative for EPI and the protection field in general! Thank you Sheriff Roper.
Austin’s LE liaison module was of special interest to me because from the few books I had read prior to coming to your 7-day PEP course, and throughout the course up to this point, I knew that having a good relationship with local law enforcement and having their support/assistance could potentially be hugely beneficial. However, at the same time I had been wondering how I would go about doing this when I don’t have an LE background. The information that Austin presented was very informative and gave me a sense of relief, by leaving me with the feeling that I now have tools with which I can use to build a successful relationship with various law enforcement agencies.
Throughout the LE liaison, emergency medical module exercises, and module on business intelligence, Austin’s competence, experience and intelligence were apparent, as was his “realness” which was especially apparent when he talked about what it’s like having a family and working in this field and gave his thoughts on the media and security. This is much appreciated as it assisted me in improving my “picture” of the realities associated with working in the field of protection. Thank you Austin!