Sounds too good to be true – Realities and Pitfalls of Post-Disaster Security

Every year during hurricane season EPI and its parent company International Protection Group, LLC receive numerous calls and requests about disaster assistance/security. 2017 has been no exception. Following the destruction caused by Harvey, Irma and then Maria we have received and reviewed many of these requests.

It becomes extremely important during times like these to remember that scams and scam artists run rampant and unfortunately tend to go on un-checked until it’s too late. Regulations in affected areas tend to be reduced due to emergent needs and there will never be a shortage of those scheming to get a pay day out of someone’s misfortune.

In times like these, due diligence is an art that MUST be practiced by everyone, especially individuals and companies in the security industry. At EPI, we stress the importance of listening, verifying and confirming information. All too often we see “posts” stating “I’m not the POC…” or “send resumes to xx##@Gmail, yahoo or”. As admins of several groups in social media, we tend to allow these posts as this has become the new norm and way of finding qualified personnel. Unfortunately, we also become the recipients of phone calls, emails and messages from our graduates and friends who have been taken advantage of or realized just in time that what they thought sounded like a great thing was in fact fraudulent.

This is a very small community when you dive into the heart of the industry. Typically, everyone knows someone who knows a guy or knows a gal. Most states have online verification systems where you can check a company’s/individual’s licensing/credentials. Most states also have their regulations regarding private security published on their regulatory agencies websites. When in doubt, ask questions. If a company is established and licensed, there should be no issue finding them in an open source search. If you have questions as to the legality of certain aspects of practicing in a particular area, again, most of that information is available in an open source search. Bottom line, don’t fall victim to illegitimate contracts/assignments. Perform your due diligence and when in doubt, ask.

Jessica Ansley, PPS


Risk Assessment

Understanding the factors involved in calculating risk and the process of choosing and implementing appropriate counter-measures may be useful. The following article was written by John Musser and published September 28, 2016 on the Starting Strength website.

The Risk Model I invite you to consider is used by many for protecting people in Executive Protection (EP), protecting information in Operational Security (OPSEC), and protecting a variety of resources in physical security and other disciplines. There are other models than the one we are going to explore, and some of the terms are often defined differently. We are simply brushing the surface of the process, and it can be very involved; however my goal is to introduce you to a simple tool, useful for a variety of situations.

Read more:

5 Quick Questions for Jerry Heying

Originally published on the International Protective Security Board Blog 10/5/2016


1. How did you get started in the security business?

Back in the 1970s when I got my start in security, practically everyone in the industry was a retired something or other, typically guys with a background in law enforcement or the military who were working in security as a second career.

Since I’m neither ex-police nor military (I had a high draft number – if anyone can remember that whole system), I jokingly tell everyone that I’m a retired hippy ski bum. It’s a great way to start a conversation!

Actually, my path into security was a little different than most. I started working in construction management, then transitioned into property management – especially of estates owned by prominent people who had high risk profiles. This led to security management in 1977, and finally into executive protection around 1986.

I started my security company in 1989 with the intent to focus specifically on executive protection and special events, as I had a lot of experience managing security for large events both in the US and abroad. In 2009, I was fortunate to be able to take over the Executive Protection Institute (EPI). This gave me the opportunity to start the EPIC conferences and eventually partner with ESI to co-sponsor them, which lead to the creation of the IPS Board.

2. What is your biggest professional accomplishment? What are you most proud of professionally?

I’m privileged to have a number of milestone moments in my security career.

The first one would definitely be obtaining my Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certification in 1989. For someone without military or law enforcement experience, this was a major achievement that helped me get established as an expert security professional. Similarly, being awarded the Personal Protection Specialist (PPS) certification was an important step for me.

One of my greatest joys, however, was having the opportunity to assume ownership and management responsibility of the Executive Protection Institute. I’m proud that I could take the reins of EPI and continue its legacy.

This has allowed us to add additional training programs and to open the once-closed Nine Lives Associates (NLA) conferences to the public under EPIC in partnership with ESI, which resulted in a joint conference for four years.

All of this got us to where we are today, and led to me being invited to be a founding member of the IPSB, another accomplishment of which I’m quite proud.

3. What was your biggest failure? What would you have done differently?

Crashing a motorcycle into a tree would have to be one of my more spectacular failures. And I sure wish I would have hit the kill switch before hitting that tree.

But as a positive thinker, I don’t like to look at accidents or disappointments as failures.

Yes, I’ve had business setbacks. I’ve won and then lost million-dollar-a-year accounts for a multitude of reasons. And yet, I don’t regard them as failures. For me, they are valuable (if sometimes costly) lessons that have allowed me to learn and move on.

4. What is the best piece of advice you every received?

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve”.

This was written by Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”, a book my brother gave me many years ago. This book about positive thinking changed my life. My outlook on life transformed from generally negative to extremely positive. I strongly encourage everyone to read this book!

5. Why are you excited about – and most looking forward in the EP industry?

The EP business is booming and there are tremendous opportunities for everyone. This is a truly exciting development that brings with it great promise, but also great responsibility.

Of course, as the owner of an EP training school and an EP service provider company, it’s great to see such growth in our industry. But this development is about much more than my commercial interests.

After more than 40 years in the business, I’m excited to see how our industry has transformed since I started out in the 1970s. Practitioners are getting more professional. Clients are getting more savvy. Standards are going up across the board.

What’s particularly interesting is that we, as members of this industry, have the opportunity to shape this development ourselves. To paraphrase Napoleon Hill: “If we can conceive it and believe it, we can achieve it”.

It’s up to each of us to get involved and to play a positive role in our own industry. That is what truly excites me.

The Close Protection Conference is a key platform for all of us who care about the industry. It enables us to get together and shape the future of what we love to do. Understanding how we got this far will help to understand why I’m so excited about this year’s new platform.

When I took over EPI, our annual conferences were for NLA members and EPI graduates only. I strongly felt that it would benefit the industry if the conference was open to the public. Although not everyone agreed, we started the Executive Protection International Conference (EPIC) in 2010 and then partnered with ESI in 2012. EPI and ESI co-sponsored the EPIC-Lifeforce conferences for the following four years.

Based on that foundation and last year’s conference record of 175 attendees, several of us who care about the protection industry met early this year and decided that we should form the International Protective Security Board (IPSB) to build on the foundation that EPI and ESI had created with the joint conferences, and expand the conferences even more. I’m happy to see that this is happening.

When you stand on top of a mountain and you want to get to the top of the higher peak on your horizon, you face a daunting task. As much as you’d like to be able to jump from one mountain to the other, you have to leave your mountaintop, descend into a valley, and make another ascent to get to the top of an even higher peak.

While you sometimes feel like you are losing ground as you go down, you have to remember that you are making progress. You have to keep moving forward and maintain momentum. This is the situation we are in with the formation of the IPSB, and this is an exciting time for everyone in the industry.

Jerry Heying CPP, PPS, CST

President/CEO International Protection Group, LLC

President/CEO International Protective Service Agency

Executive Director Executive Protection Institute

Founding Member International Protective Security Board

How to Apply for Bodyguard Work (and how not to).

You’re new to executive protection and bodyguarding or you’ve been working in it for a while and you’re out of work, how do you find work? That’s a question asked by so many in this field. There is no magical answer but I can give you some sound advice.

As the owner of a security company who employs protection professionals, and as the Executive Director of the Executive Protection Institute (EPI), I am often asked to help people find assignments or full time employment.


Let’s start with your resume. Your resume consists of paper with a bunch of words on it, sometimes lies. It’s estimated that over 50% of resumes contain lies, or misrepresentations. So first point; be truthful. Integrity is so vital to our industry that it starts with your resume.

Don’t overstate your experience or qualifications. You’re entry level? That’s ok. It’s the honest truth. One page is best, two maximum.

You can prepare a CV which stands for curriculum vitae, which is Latin for; “course of life” (also resume). Hey, isn’t that the same thing? Generally, a resume is a brief and concise one or two page summary of your skills, experience, and education. A CV is more detailed and longer.

You can list just about everything you have ever done on a CV, but a resume should be limited to the assignment at hand. If you are applying for bodyguard work, then your resume should basically be only about your bodyguard skills, experience, and education. If it doesn’t fit on one or two pages, it’s too much information. Again, one page is best, two at the most.

One of my employees (who shall remain nameless) came in and gave me a 14 page CV. I never got past page 3 (I hired him anyway), which brings up another point: Resumes don’t get you assignments. Your face gets you assignments! Let me repeat that; your face gets you work, not your resume (I’ll cover this in more depth later)!

I literally get thousands of resumes a year. I have a stack of them in my office 12 inches high. When I run an ad for a protection specialist, I will get sometimes over 200 resumes within 2 weeks. Of these 200, about 150 are immediately thrown out as unqualified.

Here’s another clue; if I ask for a 1-2 page resume, and you send me 10 pages with every certificate you ever got including the boy scouts, how do you think I respond? Unqualified; cannot read, understand, or follow instructions. Sounds harsh? That’s the way it is. You have to follow given instructions.

Of the 50 resumes I deem qualified, we will usually call to discuss working the assignment (no details given out at this time, just basic obscure information). About 30 people will disqualify themselves on the phone just by their attitude and demeanor. Ego, attitude, and bravado play a big part here.

Don’t puff out your chest and pound on it saying how great you are. I’m looking for a professional who is looking for their next assignment, not the World’s Best Bodyguard (besides, that would be me).

We then meet with who we deem qualified and are a square peg for a square hole. That usually narrows it down to 4-5 candidates. If you are not selected, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person; just not right for that assignment. I get a lot of professionals who bemoan the fact I don’t give them every assignment I get. Not every assignment is for you.

If you are a square peg and I need a round peg, I am not going to take a chance and pound you into the hole and see if it works, sorry. Don’t take it personally. Professionals understand this and will not put themselves in contention for an assignment that they know they are not suited for, or they recognize that there are other qualified candidates in the market place and you don’t get every assignment you apply for.

Unsolicited Resumes

Every week, I get resumes emailed to me, unsolicited. This means, I didn’t ask for them, but people are just sending me one anyway. That’s ok, but so is buying a lotto ticket. “Hey, you never know”, right? Rolling the dice. In all honesty, the chances of getting an assignment from me like this are very slim.

Here’s my favorite; I get an email that’s address to 20 or so others, and it says, please find my resume enclosed. No name, And the resume is attached as “resume”. So I’m getting a resume I didn’t ask for and it’s also being sent to 20 others, and it’s completely generic like being addressed, “To Whom It May Concern”. Not very personable.

And now I have to download this resume, and I don’t know what name to give it (resume 23,050?). Not my favorite email. I call it the shotgun approach. Just fire it off in some direction and see it I hit anything (Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard, shooting with his eyes closed-I love it).

Here’s another example: I get a FedEx package, I open it and find a resume. Nice folder, cover letter, photos. Cool. I looked it over and it’s from a recent graduate from an EP school. Minimal experience, so I place it with all the resumes and continue on with my work.

About a week later I receive and email asking if I received the package. Well, here’s another clue; as a company owner, I get over 200 emails a day, and about 50 phone calls, of which I can only handle a small percentage, so I didn’t answer his email (and I might not answer yours either, sorry). About a week later, I get another email that has somewhat of a nasty tone; I sent you my resume, you can see from my resume I’m highly qualified, I sent you an email, why haven’t you responded?

Well, I like helping entry level folks, so I called him up and I let him go on for a while and I finally stopped him and said, time out; your resume was unsolicited, it was weak, I put it with all the rest of the resumes, and why do you think I’m obligated to respond to your emails?

He was young, and he responded to my points of view, so I spent some time with him on what went wrong with his strategy. The reason I’m sharing this is it’s important to consider the right way to send a resume and the wrong way.

Your Face, not your Resume

I’m a strong believer in this, that it is not your resume that gets you work, it’s your face! Let me repeat myself, it’s not your resume, it’s your face that counts! I will more often than not, hire someone because I have met them, then from just a resume. For me it’s a fact.

I do hire as I outlined before from resumes when I’m running an ad or looking for a specific type of person, but more often than not, I will hire someone whom I have personally met, before someone I have not, especially for entry level individuals. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I have discussed this with other people who hire for EP work, and generally they feel the same.

So what is more important; your resume or your face? I strongly recommend that if you are looking for work, get out and meet people that hire. Where? Conferences, Trade shows, local ASIS luncheons, etc. And when you meet people that hire, don’t immediately press a resume into their hands (remember unsolicited?).

Here is another clue; there is something about meeting the right person at the right time at the right place. It can happen by accident (and sometimes that’s how people get jobs), or it can happen because you knew who the right person was, you met him at the right time and place. Which has better odds? You have to find out who is the right person to meet. Then you have to study when the right time is and where is the right place. Then you have to put yourself there at that time.

Let me ask you this; you live in East Cupcake New Jersey and you want to go to Chicago; do you just walk out of your house and start walking north? Your research airfare versus driving, you check routes on maps, you use MapQuest and Kayak and other tools, and you figure out which is the best option based on your available cash, right? Why do so many people just send out there resumes and hope it gets to the right person?

Do your homework, ask around. Meet other EP Professionals and ask their advice. Ask someone with experience to look over your resume. Be humble and don’t be afraid to seek the advice of the more experienced. Write an honest resume and be straightforward with your answers. And for God’s sake, get out and meet the people who hire others. Your odds of getting work will drastically improve. I hope this helps and Good Luck!

Jerry Heying CPP, PPS, CST

President/CEO International Protection Group, LLC

Executive Director Executive Protection Institute

Founding Member International Protective Security Board