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CEO Transport in 2022 – EPW Interview With Trevor Canfield

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For a unique sit-down in our ongoing EPW interview series, we talk to Trevor Canfield, an executive protection manager at Procter & Gamble. Trevor has an extensive background in corporate security, CEO transport, and maintaining records on EP vehicle fleets — to mention a few of his fortes.

Common knowledge in our industry suggests that the principal is most vulnerable in and around the vehicle. Since you have been prominent in providing CEO transport services, in which ways has the threat landscape shifted in this regard over the past few years? Can you describe the latest trends?

As you pointed out, it’s common knowledge in the industry that the principal is at one of the most vulnerable points during transport services. I can’t stress enough the importance of advance work. The most vital concern when transporting a protectee is to limit static and exposure time. You accomplish this through advance work.

Transportation advances should include predetermined primary and secondary routes between all sites you plan on visiting, including:

  • Hospitals,
  • Decontamination, and
  • Safe houses.

This not only allows you to have alternate routes to maneuver through congested traffic. It also gives you the ability to evade a tail, threat, or demonstration and end up in a safe environment. Having the ability to keep moving is a must in protection even if the route becomes longer.

It is always harder to attack a moving target. Therefore, when possible, you should cover arrival and departure areas. Moreover, there should be secondary arrival and departure areas in case exigent circumstances present themselves. Lastly, when possible, the CEO’s schedule should not be published and should be considered for need-to-know use only.

Residential Threats

A recent trend in the past few years is threats to CEOs at their residence. Residential addresses of CEOs are easily obtained from open-source searches and can be a hotspot where threats can potentially have success. Therefore, executive protection managers and agents are not just worried about physical threats that could incapacitate a protectee. We must be on high alert to prevent any embarrassment that can come to an executive during CEO transport or other situations.

In today’s highly charged political atmosphere, activists constantly devise plans and plots to make political or environmental statements. Thus, EP personnel needs to counter these plots through proper advance work.

I could talk about the ins and outs of advance work for days, but I’ll just hit a few main advance techniques to implement to proactively protect your CEO from threats and embarrassment while at his private residence.

  1. Contact your protectee’s local police department and keep a working relationship to share identified threats and suspicious activity noticed in the area. Ask LE to log your information into their CAD system so they contact you in the event of an emergency.
  2. Implement spot checks of your protectee’s residence when they’re on vacation. This allows your EP team to clean up activist flyers, as well as gather intelligence on the group, report suspicious vehicles/behavior, log license plates, ask law enforcement to contact suspicious vehicles/persons (trespass from the property), check for damage of the residence and safeguard any mail/packages being delivered.
  3. Monitor your CEO’s security system if allowed. If not, leverage open-source social media and applications to keep an open ear and eye on the property during non-business hours.

EP teams should constantly research new technology and applications that can assist in providing a safe environment for their protectee.

I’ve read articles where EP managers or agents refuse to carry a protectee’s bag or belongings because it’s considered degrading or they can’t provide quality protection with something in their hands. In our profession, we should be a jack of all trades and a master of them ALL.

Set your pride aside and assist your protectee with bags and other items. This will help you to streamline exposure time and keep company information from being left behind in vehicles or sites.

According to McKinsey, electric vehicle sales in the United States have climbed by more than 40% yearly since 2016. With the advent of technology in EP vehicles, what preconditions should any security professional in the corporate sector meet to be able to provide bespoke CEO transport services?

Reducing your carbon footprint is a socially optic issue today. Accordingly, companies are trying to practice what they preach by transitioning to electric vehicles. However, having experienced going through an electric vehicle purchase process recently for EP use, the biggest issue is availability.

CEO transport usually happens via luxury sedans or SUVs. Most of these vehicles are equipped with some type of aftermarket protective armor that adds extra weight to the vehicle. There are a lot of unknowns regarding fully electric cars for EP. When these vehicles become available, will they have the capability to be upgraded to aftermarket armor, mylar film, and run-flat tires?

If so, how will this extra weight affect the battery life, 0-60 speed, and handling? Other issues include:

  • Availability of charging stations,
  • Limited drive distance,
  • Maintenance,
  • Cyber-attacks, and
  • Privacy concerns.

Also, the issue lies in using additional electric equipment typically used in EP operations that can affect battery life. Finally, if the car requires maintenance, how long will it take for a technician to inspect and repair the vehicle?

All these factors will change how we advance sites and complete route checks. Until electric vehicles are routinely used in the EP industry, nobody will have answers to how they’ll perform. Presently, I’d recommend continuing the use of gasoline-powered cars until the market and manufacturing of these vehicles meet industry standards.

I also recommend that EP teams continue educating themselves on the EV industry and the capabilities of these vehicles because it’s only a matter of time before EVs enter the EP industry.

ceo transport

Over the decades, we have seen countless failures of EP teams in protecting their protectees at embus and debus. What are the most obvious pitfalls that security drivers can easily avoid during their next CEO transport task?

I touched on this in the previous question regarding trending threats when I stressed the importance of advance work. Still, I’d have to emphasize communicating potential hazards to your protectee so they know the reasons for an arrival pause.

Protectees letting themself out of the vehicle before EP is in place could be detrimental. It never hurts to take a second to scan your environment before opening the door.

Depending on how many EP agents are in your detail, the driver should not leave the vehicle or turn it off. If it’s just one EP agent working the protectee, you have a few options to consider.

  1. Is the arrival/departure area going to be clear? Have greeters, foot traffic, etc. Will the site security assist in your protectees’ arrival?
  2. Drivers are to always remain with the vehicle. It is vital to communicate your wishes with contract drivers. Properly vetting security driver firms is paramount if you use members outside your team.
  3. Upon arrival, ensure your protectee has enough space from the curb to step out of the vehicle comfortably and discreetly. Part of your duties is to prevent the embarrassment of your protectee and ensure safety in and out of the car.
  4. Always ensure a clear drop area if you must depart because of a security incident.

Site dynamics are always different, and you can use multiple techniques. This isn’t EP law, but you should keep it in mind. Always contact the site security director and ask for secured parking for your vehicle.

Suppose you have a driver supplied by a contract transportation company. In this case, make sure you have their contact information and that you’ve informed them of secondary arrival and departure areas and preferred routes. Always ensure the gas tank is full before beginning your assignment and complete a safety check, including vehicle tires.

Where do you see the difference between providing CEO transport on the one hand and transportation services for government officials on the other?

Resources are the most significant difference when comparing CEO transport to government official transportation. In my experience, most EP teams have only one, maybe two EP agents assigned to a protectee during an assignment.

These agents must take on the responsibility and workload of a full protective detail, which could be well over 100 agents in the government, depending on the threat level. When I worked for the U.S. Secret Service, resources were unlimited, and teams were formed to:

  • Advance sites,
  • Logistics,
  • Operations,
  • TSCM,
  • Counter assault teams,
  • Protective intelligence,
  • Magnetometers, and so on.

That’s not to mention the assistance other federal and local law enforcement agencies provide, which is critical to the mission. For example, government officials have police escorts that can shut down roads, restrict airspace, and implement ramp freezes at airports. As a result, it was almost mandatory for high-level protectees to cover arrival and departure areas.

CEO transport services is an entirely different ballgame. Vigorous planning and communication must constantly occur between each aspect of the assignment. For example, pilots must be informed of protectee meeting departures and ETAs to have the plane ready for departure. Likewise, drivers need to be prepared at the drop of a hat to depart.

Executive protection for corporate America requires soft skills and relationships. EP agents won’t get anywhere demanding a parking space for a protectee or arguing with a driver. There are no badges or flashy titles like U.S. Secret Service Special Agent or Diplomatic Security Special Agent to wow people.

Most EP agents are a one-person show. Hence, you may be unable to implement every protective measure you desire. Still, that’s where knowledge, experience, and research on new techniques and tools can compensate for the lack of resources. In addition, applications such as WAZE, findERnow, and GeoSure are free. But, more importantly, they can be another set of eyes during your assignment.

WAZE

WAZE is a navigation tool that has a social media aspect to it. Users of this app update traffic as it’s happening and add notes to hazards, broken down vehicles, traffic congestion, etc.

findERnow

findERnow locates and gives directions to the closest emergency room to you no matter where you are in the United States.

GeoSure

GeoSure rates neighborhoods you are in by providing a safety score of 1-100 and then breaks down the crimes happening in that area. There are numerous other technologies out there that can assist an EP agent during a transportation advance. These are just a few free applications I like to use to help me when resources are low.

SamDesk and DataMinr

A few other applications that come in handy for my company’s EP team is SamDesk and DataMinr. I use these two applications more for protective intelligence as they comb the internet to locate real-time threats in your vicinity.

ceo transport

You have had an eventful career, to say the least – ranging from deputy sheriff to special agent to EP manager. What words of wisdom would you share with up-and-coming security professionals looking to you for advice?

Join a professional organization such as the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS), and take advantage of free webinars, certifications, and message boards. And also attend ASIS chapter meetings to network with other security professionals.

Enroll yourself in a protection school. I promise it will pay dividends in the future. How to complete a proper advance is critical in this field. I was fortunate enough to learn from the U.S. Secret Service. Yet, other schools teach the same concepts (LaSorsa and Associates, Gavin de Becker and Associates).

Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask questions if you’re already with a company and are a newbie in the group. Learn from the seasoned professionals around you. My company is immersed with some of the industry’s top security professionals, and I never stop learning from them.

Step outside your comfort zone and volunteer. Suppose an assignment becomes available, no matter if it’s an EP assignment, security presentation, investigation, leadership session, etc. Make yourself available and take the job. I am constantly looking for ways to better myself. In fact, I make myself available even if I’m not comfortable with it.

Take advantage of your company’s offerings. For example, my company offers to cover 80% of its employee’s college education. I just completed my MBA from Northern Kentucky University.

Take some advanced medical courses besides basic first aid. For instance, my company’s EP personnel must be nationally registered EMTs.

On Getting a Job

You’ll never get a job you don’t apply for. I hear many people who want to enter this industry talk about how they aren’t qualified to apply for a position, so they don’t use it. My advice would be to apply anyways. You’ll never know what big corporations want in an applicant if you don’t ask or go through the interview process. Some turned me down before, but I learned from my experience and ended up with my current company.

Continue to research certifications and continuing education opportunities. Currently, the Board of Executive Protection Professionals (BEP2) is in the process of creating the first Executive Protection National Standard for the industry. It will be registered with the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

This new standard will change the course of the EP industry in the United States. It will lay the groundwork for increased industry performance and future training. Additionally, subsequent certifications with a basis on this standard will elevate end users’ knowledge, skills, and abilities and create an elevated working environment within EP.

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