From the Street to the Suite

Let me begin by simply saying that I am a very fortunate individual.  I will not say lucky because I don’t believe in luck.  It was more like perfect timing or as I will later explain “redundant effort”.  I know many in the security industry are trying to move up or in some cases maybe move in and I hope my story gives you some insight into ideas on how to accomplish that or at least gives you a perspective of someone who was outside the EP industry that made it in.  I spent a career in government service.  25 years to be exact before transitioning to corporate security.  In fact, I had no understanding about the “C” suite until I got here.  I can honestly say that after 2 years on, it was the right decision and a good fit for both me and the Fortune 200 company.  What I like is that the private sector can make immediate decisions, has better leadership, has less bureaucracy, and the decisions made are usually based on logic and reason.  I did not often find this in the government sector.

I started like any young and eager 21-year old and after applying with a few agencies, got hired on with a municipal department of +100K population outside a major city in Texas.  After being Class Valedictorian and Recruit Officer of the Year, I figured I was on the right track and my plan was to retire at that location with a pension but reality came and I soon learned that bucking the system can be detrimental to your career.  Being an Association President and speaking to the Brass and City Manager about issues within the agency did not help.  I left after nine years and started with the DA’s Office as a Criminal Investigator for the second largest county in Texas.  Again, I loved it and planned to retire there but after a decade, politics again reared its ugly head.  A new DA came in and fired a ton of people.  I belonged to the wrong party and was not the right color and well I guess I should be grateful I was given 2 weeks’ notice.  Some of my colleagues were not that fortunate.  I ended my government career at Child Protective Services as a non-LEO Investigator.  I banged my head against the wall for 5 years and I was constantly at odds with the managers there who had 0 experience running credible and sometimes, dare I say lawful investigations.  Threatened many times with termination (they just could never find a reason), I began looking for another job.  Most other local and state agencies saw me as a pariah and I was too old to go into Federal LE.  I had no degree and no skill sets other than patrol and investigations.

After numerous applications, the redundant effort I spoke about earlier, I got a call from a recruiter with a company that recently relocated to Texas.  The company had a driver for 30 years and was looking for a new one at the re-located HQ.  The fact that I carried retired LEO credentials and could be armed interested them and after several interviews, I was hired.  The main reason for the article is that I have often read that former police officers are a poor choice for the EP industry.  I think that is doing a great disservice to the individual and to the industry.  Everyone has different characteristics and skill sets and to summarily dismiss someone because of a prior bad experience with one cop is really a mistake on their part.

That is the back story but what has happened in the past two years to encourage me to write this article?  Well, I hit the ground running and have searched out many articles online about chauffeuring, corporate security, surveillance detection, hospitality service, and the security industry in general.  I have joined ISDA and try to attend classes or conferences when scheduling permits.  I have joined the Downtown Security Director’s Association, and network with them monthly and liaison with local LE at the meetings.  I was no doubt a complete newbie to Executive Driving and the Security Industry but what I found is that the leadership abilities and professionalism as an LEO easily transcends into the current occupation.  “To Serve and Protect” is a very valid statement in my current job.  I serve by stocking the C Suite Fridge and running errands for the CEO.  If you think that is menial, then the job of Executive Driver is not for you.  Driving an 80K vehicle might seem glamorous but you better be on your game in the driving department because the two most important things are getting them to their destination safely and on time.  The vehicle also better be gassed and washed and you better have some alternate routes in mind just in case, (the whole pro-active policing).  I protect every time someone from the Executive Leadership Team steps into the vehicle.  Am I armed?  Sure, but it is much more than that.  The skills used from patrol are being used now.   Awareness of your surroundings, “if-then” thinking, and effective communication with the executive, their assistants, and even those outside the vehicle are crucial skills that are used daily.  Let’s face it, if I need to shoot someone, I have failed in effectively doing my job.  I am fortunate the Global Security Director didn’t say “we aren’t hiring cops for this position.”

 

Stay safe, stay hungry, and embrace the grind.

Chris

You can connect with Chris via LinkedIn


ESK career success triangle isdaThis post is brought to you from the International Security Driver Association (ISDA) Membership. ISDA is an association comprised of protection professionals, who represent all slices of the profession, Corporate, High Net Worth, Private Security, Entertainment, Government and Law Enforcement from all parts of the globe.

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