Mike Brown is one of those individuals who has found success as an operator by envisioning where he wanted to end up and trusting the process to take him there. In his time in the industry, he has earned his stripes and now reaps the rewards running a successful business and managing the protective detail for a very well-known public figure. I speak to Mike to learn some of his keys to success.
What would your 30 sec elevator pitch sound like?
Hi, I’m Mike Brown, owner of BV Security. I’ve been professionally working in the security industry for 11 years. In my work as a protector, find solutions that are custom fitted for the client which are productive, sufficient and cost effective.
Describe your time in Executive Protection?
I started in EP at the age of 21. I did EP full time after my short 6 months of doing armed security in Chicago. I then realized security is something I wanted to proceed with. To be honest, I didn’t want to get into law enforcement or enlist in the military. I really truly loved security. I found EP is the highest caliber of security and started to pursue my goal. I took a loan for my parents whom I’ll be forever grateful for. I did my research on EP schools, which funny enough, included the Circuit magazine. And I began my training. Eleven years later, I made it a full-time career and it changed my family’s life. Since that time, I’ve started a business and have employed over 26 people full-time.
How to retain client longevity and different roles in EP?
I’ve been with my current client for 6 years. But the root of that really stems from my time at ICON because that was my first EP school. The owner, Elijah Shaw was impressed with my drive along with a fellow protector named, JD Woolsey who had an Arizona branch at the time. JD called me and put me on my first detail ever. And after that, Elijah gave me an opportunity to gain additional hands-on experience in the field. A lot of people don’t get the chance to prove themselves because there are risks that come with trusting a newer agent.
Additionally, individuals such as Eric Konohia, Avery Mitchell, and Mark James helped mentor me along the way. I was working with ICON for 3-4 years and it was my time there got me ready for my own client. I leveraged my mentorship to aid me in my longevity and I paid homage to my mentors and the industry along the way. A lot of guys take shortcuts and don’t last very long. I learned from my mentors and used that to aid me in my client retention, which has led to 6 years with the same client doing concerts, tours, managing two estate details, and multiple businesses.
Do you have Any Ep roles that aren’t in the job description but still vital to do as a facilitator?
It’s funny because I always think about the guys who say they don’t carry bags… because I carry bags! I assist in personal assistant duties that aren’t in my job description. When the client says, “Hey can you get me food from so and so?” I don’t have to ask because I made a list of what he orders from every fast food and restaurant establishment. Now the client can travel lighter because I can help fulfill additional roles, many of which will save money in terms of client budgeting.
Any Real world vs text book scenarios you have experienced?
In EP school, they tell you to not be a “buddy-guard” and get too close to the client. But in reality, this is a very practical job and you have to learn to have a personal relationship with the client in order to better navigate any hurdles you may come across.
If someone were to follow in your Footsteps what would you tell them?
Be ready and prepare for sacrifices along the road to success. Remember that this career is a lifestyle. I know a lot of people say that as a cliché. But this is a huge time commitment because you’re on the road for 60, 100, 200 days and you may not have time to call much less be with your significant other. Also prioritize your time off, because you’ll burn yourself out always thinking about work. Enjoy your time in EP but have your checks and balances or else you’ll lose your mind.
How did Covid affect E.P in your perspective
The virus made us aware about unseen threats. We mostly think about AOP’s but this has made us aware about germs and diseases. Now we implemented wearing masks, Covid tests. Plus make sure the client’s rooms are sanitized to a much higher degree.
As an Op Manager now what has changed from how you how you did EP before and how it affected your work load as head of security?
It has made it more chaotic, but I had to learn how to be a balanced businessman. I’m still operational 14 days out of the month. And yet, I’m still working 9 to 5 in my house on operational duties. I have to manage the schedule, personnel, coverage, and payroll. If the client is moving, I have to make sure the vehicles are ready and make sure the team in place knows what’s going on. This has also taught me to ask for help and divide the work so I don’t get smothered doing all the administrative workload.
What do you look for in particular when hiring personal for E.P
Completion of a validated EP school, minimum first aid and CPR, but prefer someone who has advance first aid like EMT, Stop the bleed, or TCCC. Someone with experience in surveillance detection and time management is also key when handling multiple tasks and duties.
Why do you specialize in Celebrity protection?
I don’t specialize in celebrity protection. I specialize in Executive Protection. Celebrity protection is just a platform of level of service I provide, but it all falls under EP. Most people get caught up in terms and subsections in EP and think just because you protect entertainers that means it’s less than, or not equal to, corporate level EP. But in actuality, you may be more trained and have more skills than someone who does corporate. It just so happens to be a famous person that you work with. Most celebrities are very business structured so you still have to navigate corporate structures. You need a broad level of EP in order to fit the mold and provide a multitude of services. It really shows how flexible you can be from going to tours and concerts, to attending corporate business meetings and a variety of business collaborations.
Foot Steps: Mike Brown
By: Jose Casillas
Jose Casillas is a Los Angles based Executive Protection Agent who specializes in red carpet events, movie premiers & estate security. He also teaches martial arts and works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).