Yes, they ride the rides in Disney. No, they don’t eat with their clients. Yes, they always have a spare change of clothes with them. This is the life of private security professionals.
“If my life is a movie, sometimes it is a fairy tale and sometimes I feel like it’s a horror story,” Shawn Engbrecht, President of CASS Global Security, told Fox News.
“Change is constant in my life.”
When most people think of private security, they think of a 6-foot, muscly, tight-T-shirt wearing guard with dark sunglasses and a walkie-talkie.
“If someone refers to themselves as a body guard, those are not people you want to work with,” said Paul Michael Viollis Sr., CEO of Viollis Group International.
In the age of escalating violence at home and abroad, more and more people are turning to alternative security solutions. A $34 billion a year industry, according to research firm IBISWorld, Engbrecht and Viollis say business has been booming.
“I think insurance is a good analogy, everyone who buys insurance buys it on 'what if'… and people and don’t’ really want to roll the dice anymore. There are so many things that have raised the risk level and raise the concern… to absolutely take certain measures,” Viollis said.
From intel gathering, kidnapping, stalking, fraud and foreign leader protection, private security services extend beyond just following around an A-list actor to the red carpet. Clients include government officials, fashion designers and business leaders.
“The first rule of thumb, like when you are collecting art, [is] if you have to ask how much it is, you probably can’t afford it,” Engbrecht said. “Most of our junior level folks, first assignment out they are clearing approximately $20K a month.”
And those agents are always on the move. One day they can be in the U.S. and within 24 hours be flown across the globe.
“You have to accept the fact that you are living perpetually in limbo and you adapt and the key to that is to not let anything really rattle you. You can be packed to go to the oil fields in Northern Alberta, Canada and you get on the Gulf Stream and they say ‘Surprise, we are going to Singapore…’ and you just accept and the key to that is to not worry about the little stuff and stay focused on the mission,” Engbrecht said.
From an outsider point of view, the life of a security professional may indeed sound like a Hollywood movie, but Viollis and Engbrecht say it’s really about life and death.
“There is nothing that is better than bringing people home safely that have been in harm’s way… There is nothing better than bringing a kid home to their parents or reuniting family,” said Viollis.
Be sure to watch the full video above to learn what it takes to be a security professional.