As I went through my iPhone photo album tonight, I relived all the locations I have visited in the last few years on various protection assignments or attending training courses.
From Las Vegas to Boston, and many cities in between, this industry has blessed me with the ability to travel the United States. I’ve never forgotten where my journey began in 2009, as a bouncer at an Irish pub.
A few weeks back, I was riding in the car with a colleague who took a similar path as I did. This was the first time we had met in person, and he brought up the question, “tell me how it all started.” The response lasted the majority of our 2-hour car ride. I had never deeply thought of my journey prior to his question, simply because my journey has no end; I will forever be chasing my dream and living in the moment.
In 2009, I started working as a bouncer at an Irish pub called McNally’s. I worked alongside my older brother, as he taught me how to check ID’s, handle ejections, read a room, and make friends with guests. The 3 years I spent there created a foundation and taught me many learning experiences, both good and bad.
In 2012, I accepted a job offer at a new live music venue called Roxy’s, which later reinvented itself as a nightclub. It was here that I discovered my calling in executive protection. In 2013, we hosted a show for a celebrity from MTV, and I was given the duty to provide personal security for guest entertainment. The event went on without any issues, and the professionalism of our security staff impressed the tour manager, promoter, and our celebrity guest. I was approached by the manager, and personally thanked for being there for their needs, and being within arm’s reach. The manager asked how long I had been a professional bodyguard, to which I replied I wasn’t a bodyguard, just a bouncer. The owner of Roxy’s was impressed and praised the security staff, and suggested I look into executive protection training. My thought was, what the hell is executive protection?
I began researching what was executive protection, and how does my nightclub security skill set transition to protective services? The more I read into the training, I realized this is not only a career I wanted to be in, but it’s also a career that used the same skills that I used every night working security at the club. Skills such as situational awareness, ability to assess large crowds, friendly approach with clients/guests, proactive responding, de-escalation techniques, conflict resolution, risk/threat mitigation, event planning/advances, you name it, and I was using those skills nightly. Now the next step came, chance.
In 2014 my dad introduced me to a friend of his, who I’ll call Scott. Scott owned a successful protection business and gave me an opportunity to work for him. My first contract was a static detail for McDonald’s, observing and reporting protestors. This went well, and I was given a second opportunity to work with Scott, at the 2015 World Series. This time, I was working with Scott, and soaking up everything he was teaching me. This was some of the best training I had ever received, and I gained insight into the protection industry. We went over networking, training providers, ethics, and what to expect from the industry. Months had passed, as I saved up for formal training until I received a call in April 2016. It was Scott, except this time, he was sending me to work a detail that lasted over 30 days, halfway across the country.
When I returned from this assignment, I attended the 2016 World Investigators Conference in Texas. This is where I met Jason McLendon, owner of National Protective Services, who taught a seminar course on personal protection, and conflict resolution. Shortly after my Texas trip, I invested in my future, by attending a 7-day training program with Joseph LaSorsa, of LaSorsa & Associates, in Las Vegas. Not only did this course teach EP, Medical, and Evasive Driving, it taught me how to market my brand, network with other practitioners, and was the vital step I needed in the right direction.
Since my training in August 2016, I’ve worked multiple various types of details all over the country, learning & training with others in the industry as often as I can, and consult, manage, and train nightclub security staffers full time.
The purpose of this article is to share how you can transition from managing/working nightclub security into executive protection, and how fast life can go. The best advice I have for nightclub staffers seeking that next step is to listen and learn. Seek relevant training. Don’t be afraid to take that next step in life. You may never know where it may take you. Find someone in the protection industry who will provide sound, honest, and ethical advice. Read and study the industry daily. If you wake up in the morning and the first thing on your mind isn’t how to become better at your job today, then you shouldn’t be in that career field. Never forget where you came from, and don’t give up on where you want to go. Remain humble and help those who are seeking the same opportunities as you.
Be smart. Stay safe. And own your position.
From Nightclub Security to Executive Protection
By: Mr. Rugen
Mr. Rugen has been in the security industry for over a decade. He began his security career in nightclubs & bars and currently consults/manages security staffs for multiple venues. Mr. Rugen has since transitioned into domestic and international protective services, security consulting, and event management. Enhancing his understanding of the importance of customer relations between security and their clients.
In 2017 Mr. Rugen founded Nightclub Security Services, to increase profits, reduce liabilities, and improve hospitality for all aspects of the nightlife environment.
For more info go to: www.nightclubsecurityservice.com