Show Notes: An International Perspective on Executive Security Operations with Ben Hosking | Episode #33


In this next episode, I was joined by Ben Hosking, executive protection leader, and Business Manager with Panoptic Solutions, who serves as clients’ go-to provider in Australia, Asia, and the Pacific.

Ben contributed great insights to this episode from his about 2 decades of experience, ranging from serving as a Territory Response Group Operator supporting Dignitary Protection, Tactical Medicine, Search And Rescue, and more. Plus, his experience on the security service provider and business operations side with Panoptic Solutions.

Today’s conversation focused on Ben’s career path, moving from law enforcement and protective services to the private side, his thoughts on what makes one successful in close protection roles, the role of emergency medical training, and so much more.

Also, everyone listening is welcome to join Ben and I for a beer at the Executive Security Operations Conference next week at the JW Marriot Indianapolis (June 19-21), tickets are still available.

Ben Hosking, Business Manager

Learn More about Panoptic Solutions here:

Highlights from This Episode

  1. Importance of Soft Skills: Ben emphasizes the critical role of interpersonal skills and relationship management in executive protection, over hard tactical skills.
  2. Medical Training: Highlighting the importance of having medical skills and a medical professional on the team to handle potential health issues of principals.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding and respecting the cultural differences in the regions where they operate, particularly in Australia and Asia.
  4. Blend In, Don’t Stand Out: The need for EP professionals to blend in and not draw attention to themselves or their principals.
  5. Learning from Experience: The value of attending conferences and training sessions to learn and improve continuously.
  6. Building Relationships: The significance of building genuine relationships with clients and other industry professionals.
  7. Economic Engine: The business aspect of EP work focuses on building rapport and trust to generate contracts and revenue.
  8. Specialization and Local Knowledge: Leveraging local expertise and networks to provide high-quality EP services in specific regions.
  9. Continuous Improvement: The importance of ongoing training and upskilling in areas like medical response, tactical response, and client relations.
  10. Logistical Challenges in Australia: The unique logistical challenges of operating in a vast country like Australia require careful planning and resource management.

Memorable Quotes:

  • On being covert: “You either brand out, or you blend in.”
  • About medical: “It’s better to have it [medical training] and not need it than to need it and not have it.”
  • Networking: “Your network is your net worth.”
  • Humility: “Check your ego at the door and face the fact that this is a big old part of the world.”


Use CONTROL + F to search the transcript below if you want to learn more!

Transcript from this episode

*Note: this transcript was generated using automated software, and may not be a perfect transcription. But I hope you find it useful.

Travis  0:00  

Ben, it's great to see you again. I think I last saw you back at a Texas night in Atlanta for GSX, yeah. So thank you for joining me today. And so far on the podcast, we really haven't talked much about executive protection. So I think you're going to bring in some really interesting knowledge for the whole group listening,

Ben 1:54
mate. It was a that was a hell of a night

Texas night. Old Chuck really put on a massive show

for a boy from the bush to come and see the states, that really was a plus size event. So, yeah, that was a hell of a memory. Thanks for, thanks for having us on Travis. Yeah, of course. And think, just to show like how small this industry is in general, I think, I think I first met you back at GSX when you and panoptic had the booth

Travis 2:22
at the last show in Vegas, which had to be like, five years ago, maybe six years ago.

Ben 2:27
Yeah, it's a, I think it is one of those small industries where you sort of, you get to know the people that are in it pretty quick. And look, I think for panoptic we, we've been operating in Australia for, let's say, the better part of a, you know, a bit more than a decade. And the majority of the work that we do is for America based clients. So being present for GSX, ipsb, BPP, the ESOC like these are the critical events for us to grow our business. And it's catch up with blokes like yourself and other fellow sepos or yanks and just spending a bit of time getting know them to sort of say, Hey, we're down here. We're providing a high level or high quality level of service, and we'd love to work with you, if there's an opportunity to do so, but that jet lags a killer. So

Travis 3:23
yeah, and I think I forgot I was gonna say anyways. I think before I had met you at GSX, I think originally, at an intro, I think Ilia manski, one of my good friends, peers, mentors. I think he had introduced me with Troy, and then we had done a pod like we had done a podcast a while, while, while back. So yeah, it really just does show how small the industry is. And also, since you're serving many US clients, I have a feeling you might be extra busy this year during an election season. So hope you all could stay safe.

Ben 3:59
Funny. You bring that up, mate. We've actually got a trip with a couple of delegates coming out, and then next couple of weeks, I'll only, I'll only just be getting back to Oz when that delegation group gets out to Australia. And I think, you know, there's going to be a big push coming out of the state in regards to conservative messaging and progressive messaging on both sides. So yeah, I think it's going to be a pretty exciting year. Which, which for you guys with I imagine in the States, it's like over here, we'll get a flutter of it through the economic winds that sort of come our way as a as a result of what happens in the US. But I imagine things for you guys are just going from bonkers to nuts, yeah,

Travis 4:43
I have a feeling there'll be a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability the closer we get to November. Yep, yeah. And actually, before we jump into your background and the type of work that you do in executive protection, it might be a good place to start. With the executive security operations conference that we have coming up. So the BPP puts on this conference annually. I'm also a part of it. I'm a volunteer board member, and I saw you there last year. Last year, we had a pretty good, pretty good turnout, as far as some of the international folks go. Of course you were there. I think others from Ireland were there. People from all over the US were there. So that was a fantastic event. Ben, for people like for someone like you who's traveling internationally, what are the what are the big advantages that you get out of attending events like that? Well, I

Ben 5:36
think it's the context, right? So if you go to GSX, you've got every supplier in the room. If you go to IPSP, you've got every vendor in the room. If you go to bepp, you've got the managers and directors. You've got the the people that are organizing executive protection. You've got people in high levels of responsibility that are there to do professional development. And I can still remember walking out of the conference room on the second day, I think it was the second day after Rei got up, and one of their technical specialists gave a like an instructional piece. And I'm no slouch when it comes to surveillance or technical surveillance or Intel, but, man, I felt completely blown out of the water and just the level of information that came out during that conference, just in that one session, let alone everything else that was pushed forward, whether it was from family offices or from directors of corporate security and fortune 500 space or even the keynote address, like for all of us in the industry, at a level, I think there is an element or an understanding that we know what we're doing. The reason we've got these jobs, the reason we're in the industry and the positions we're in is because we know what we're doing, and it's been proven by our retainer with our employer, or it's been proven by our constant industry exposure and contemporary practice. When you get a room full of people like that together in an educational environment, it's like reading a good book. It's a shortcut, it's a it's a free way to learn it. It's a rapid advancement. And what I found out that conference at PPP was every person I'm speaking to, whether it's a client or whether it's a vendor down here or it's like another guy that I just know in the industry is, oh, what are you in the States for? Well, first trip I'm going to states for this year is going to be for the BP, BPP, ESOC conference, and you should be there, because if you, if you want professional development, it's a continual element of training. And I know for you, you are a preacher of education, and you're the Forever student. You're the perennial student Travis, which I love because it shows there's no ego involved. And I think that's what people need to have this in this industry, because it's really quick. It's really easy to develop a like a quick complex where I've got this court position, I work with this person, and by proxy on I am this person. I am an alpha one. But the reality is, you just need to keep learning, otherwise you're going to fall behind. Because, like, I got out of that Rei lecture, I was like, there are things going on that I have got no idea about. And I I had a government role in an intelligence agency, and I thought I was relatively savvy, and I, turns out I have no idea, because you're that, you know you're on the learning curve of you don't know what you don't know. Yeah,

Travis 8:44
and I just had this conversation with one of my managers at work, as he was just encouraging people to take more of a active role in learning. And I think really it starts with just being able to go interact with people that are doing your work in a different way, or that are working in a totally different domain. Like, I know last year we had some really interesting presentations, you mentioned Rei, and the REI speaker was awesome too, because he kind of adapted his presentation to a lot of the questions people had in the audience. Like, I think air tags were like, one of the hot topics at the time. Yeah, cool, yeah. So he was able to field everyone's questions there and talk in depth there, and then also everything from, of course, tscm, also Threat Assessment investigations from one of the FBI speakers, drone operations from Kent Moyer, which is another fantastic I would,

Ben 9:39
I would listen to that Again, like I listened to that twice, if I could in a row. That was, that was really cool.

Travis 9:46
And he was giving people the entire playbook that they need to get a drone program up and running. And you can't, I don't think there's any school that I know, any school that I know of, where they focus on security and setting up a drone program. Program, like, that's the kind of stuff. Or you can't just go online and learn it. Well, you can, but it's going to take a couple 100 hours of research to even get started,

Ben 10:07
right? Man, yeah, that, and I think you, you have utterly put what a shortcut is. You know, if you've got an expert up there, an industry acknowledged expert up there, that's already making the plays, doing the things, and they're they're giving you the playbook on how to do it, that that's your shortcut. That's how you get better fast. That's how you get to the top of your industry. Because you are looking for all the clues and all the signs. So yeah, couldn't recommend the learning opportunities enough out of that conference. Yeah. And

Travis 10:38
then not just learning opportunities, but also, I know all of us made tons of friendships. We met many of our industry peers who work in some of these specialized areas, where, of course, we can't all be experts, like I know Anthony Molina. He's one of the speakers this year talking about counter drones. So kind of a different take on, different take on Kent Moyers presentation. So being able to interact with people like him, where hey, when the next challenge comes up at your workplace, or you need to do an advance of some astronomically large space and you need to include drones, or you need to use drones for surveillance, or set up some type of countermeasures. You have someone who you could reach out to, who has very specialized knowledge in that area. And who's going to make sure you cross all the t's, dot, all the i's instead of trouble when it comes to all of the regulations that are involved? Too spot

Ben 11:31
on. Mate, yeah, those networks, right? Yeah. Someone, someone there, someone pretty, uh, powerful of character. Your network is your net worth. Old Chuck, yeah,

Travis 11:42
yeah, I like the way they put that. And then this year we have more cool presentations coming up. I mean, just as an example, we have Stephanie Drysdale talking about cybersecurity operations as it relates to corporate executives. We have Kevin dye talking about advanced operations. He's always good for a presentation, Jackie Davis talking about operations in the UK. So just getting, like, a more international perspective. So we have some really fantastic presentations. So for those listening that haven't got a ticket yet, there's still time to buy your ticket and grab a hotel.

Ben 12:20
And for those that aren't in the know, when you've got someone like Kevin Dyer prepared to get up and talk about executive protection, just from a physical standpoint, from where I sort of sit and work, what he's what he's saying, you can, you can take a lot as gospel, because that man, what he doesn't know about EP probably ain't worth sharing. So whatever he's got to put up there on stage, I know it'll be a like a very, very high value presentation, and I am, I would travel across just for that, just for what he's got to say. Yeah,

Travis 12:53
absolutely. The caliper speakers and the caliber of attendees is just through the roof compared to any other conference I go to, can agree more there? Yep, yeah. So Ben, now I wanted to learn a little bit more about how you got into executive protection. So what was it that led you there? What that path look like? There's

Ben 13:15
not as much EP in Australia for most of us that are getting started, we come from a dig pro background, so I'm not sure if it gets coined the same in the States, with EP versus digpro, but digpro Over here is primarily government, so you're in sector, and my my time, or My first exposure to digpro started when Obama visited my pokey little hometown in the Northern Territory, Darwin, in 2011 and I was in a covert unit at the time. I was doing surveillance, and we were tasked with doing a counter surveillance element supporting the President's visit. So that was my the first time I ever saw dig Pro as it were, fully enacted, and being and being a part of a dig pro team, and I was on the absolute outside, you know, I was so far removed from what was going on. Truly, all I was was just some guy on the ground following a bunch of, you know, fixated persons with, you know, mental defects. So wasn't really part of an EP or dig pro experience, but it was definitely something that got my eye in the game. And I'd been the police for no since 2006 and doing primarily just general policing up until I go into that covert unit. And when I saw that, I saw like a whole different world that exists. And I thought that's really cool. So I sort of, I had had my site set on getting into the territory response group. There's in Australia, there's eight Police Tactical groups. I think it is as one for each state and territory. And then there's one federal one as well. They're all nationally into. Profitable. The standards and requirements for each of those units are that they can perform a CQB counterterrorism response for like a domestic siege situation prior to handing over to our specialists in the Australian Defense Force. So whether that's tag East Tactical Assault group east or west, through to commando and SAS. So I always had this idea that I wanted to go into a police tactical group, and the only one that I was able to join because of my affiliation with the Northern Territory police was territory response group, which is a bit of a mixed bag. They've got the responsibility for search and rescue, dignitary protection, tactical response. They've got, they had bombs. They also had diving as well. So they were a bit of a band aid element, because the Northern Territory is a small location, you know, like the capital city's got 200,000 people, but we've got a national requirement and national funding to maintain this capability. So it's like, well, what else can the cops throw in there, or what else can the Commissioner of Police throw in there to get get us busy? So there's a lot of search and rescue. And anyway, so fast forward. I finally get into TRG. I passed all the selection and assessments, and my first tactical job was not dig Pro, and it certainly wasn't room for combat. It was a croc job, because I live in the north of Australia, and everything is related to crocs. If it's not crocs, it's UFOs and aliens. So,

yeah, right. Okay, yeah, yeah. Anyway, so my first, my first taste of tactical policing, ends up being a croc attack in 2014 where a man gets taken from the back of his fishing boat, you know. So it wasn't exactly the entry that I thought I was going to make into the industry. It was a little bit sideways, as I guess sometimes life throws at you, but not long after that, I end up qualifying and then going through a national level of qualification. So in Australia, digpro is fairly, fairly well set. You I know there's a bit of a jovial or friendly sort of competition between Department of State service and the Secret Service. In regards to digpro in America, we have something similar with the plastics. Who are the federal police officers, so they look like cops, but they're not actually cops for any plastics in the audience. You know what I'm saying. But we have it. We have a very strict requirement in dig pro in regards to what we provide. And it comes through the Australian New Zealand CounterTerrorism Committee. They set the standards for what we what we do in Australia and New Zealand. And I was lucky enough to go into the skills enhancement course for that. So sort of the the higher end of dignitary protection, planning and and product. And that sort of led me to running a few decent jobs, getting on the shoulder from a few different principals, visiting rawly heads of state, chief financial officers, major global meetings in Australia, and then 2017 when I was around and I ended up leaving policing and coming across to work with panoptic and and have been with panoptic and working with Troy over here for on and off ever since.

Travis 18:35
Yeah, that's a really interesting background. It it's here to cool. It's cool to hear how you kind of started out on essentially the general police force, and then got more and more specialized as you went on. And I think for people out there in the audience who like, maybe they're working in policing right now, or maybe they're getting ready to start a career in policing, like, how do you feel some of the skills and experience that you developed on the police force influence and make you a better a better dig pro practitioner. For

Ben 19:10
those that are looking into the industry, I think there's a massive difference from what I've seen between the United States and Australia, and it's worth making that point now, because in Australia, it's it's almost backwards to what it's like in the States. A lot of guys will do service, and then they'll go into the private sector, and that's where things sort of improve for them in So insofar as standards and what they're entitled to, it is not a reverse completely. But I think what people see with what's going on in the States, they get misaligned, like, like, I said, there's not a huge EP industry in Australia. The majority of our executive protection is from the West Coast of the USA, traveling out and. So for those that are in the police force, I would say in Australia, stick to your guns and aim for that. Dig pro space. Get some time under your belt. Get on the PMs team. Get on a Governor General's team. Get on a on a ambos team. You know, we've got a couple of high level ambassadors, including yours and the state Israel's ambassador as well. So we've got some fantastic teams out there where you can get those runs on the board. But it's not like the quick jump ship and go to EP because I think you want to go and get a green card and a concealed carry in California before you want to go and do that. But yeah, I think so far as skills and what you take out of the place, it's relationship management, right? If you're on a detail, or if you're doing business, or your whatever, the element is that you're in the security field. Around executive protection, what you take from general duties policing is your ability to manage those relationships. And have almost no resources available at your you know your your level on the ground, if you just work in a paddy wagon or a van or a car, and being able to negotiate with people on the ground and and convince people to wear a set of bracelets and get in the back of your vehicle, that is a skill that you can take anywhere. You're a salesman. You are an absolute salesman if you can get someone to wear bracelets and jump in the back of

Travis 21:20
your car. Yeah, and I feel like, from my experience working with people who are in law enforcement or former law enforcement, whether it's on the EP side or whether it's on the security risk assessment side, like one thing that immediately comes to mind when I'm out working with them is their ability to build rapport with people so quickly, and I feel like it just comes from them having so many repetitions of talking with 1000s, 10s of 1000s of people on the street. It just comes as like second nature and working with them. I just see it realize, okay, there's a giant gap between my ability to build rapport with people and everything that they're able to do. That's one huge advantage I've seen which I think matches perfectly here.

Ben 22:04
Yeah, look, I wouldn't sell yourself short there, Travis, I think you've got quite the ability to build rapport. I think we all develop our own skills in different ways. But yeah, I think that is probably the one takeaway that I've leveraged to my absolute advantage. Yeah, what about when you're when you're looking at it coming from the private side of things? I know you've got the background with the MPs, right? Like you've done that service, you've gone through the defense cycle like I went for law enforcement. So, you know, hands up, there's no green role. There's no Defense Force Veteran here in my in in me. What about yourself? How do you find the defense? What's the flip there for you? Coming from that background,

Travis 22:46
that's a good question. Yeah, I feel like So of all the MPs that I worked with. So I was out of Miramar in San Diego, California, with the fourth law enforcement battalion, and in my experience, working with all of those MPs? Yeah, I feel like there's just a drastic difference from the military law enforcement training going into anything private sector like I feel like there's probably a direct translation for all of those guys that were also working in border patrol at the same time, or who working in different sheriff's departments, I feel like there's pretty much all those skills translate directly. But then I I think those skills and the that experience and those types of personalities going into the private sector, I feel like you almost need to, you also need to, like, change how half of your brain works like you need to just start prioritizing, really, the it's like the interpersonal, soft, like service oriented skills, like, really the first EP detail that I worked on, it was actually while I was still a reservist, MP, the manager there, he was really more concerned with people's ability just to be good service providers, rather than them having 20 years of law enforcement experience, having the CCW leosa and all these crazy things, because he knows for the most part, like the service aspect is going to be the most difficult part. It's going to be keeping the principals happy when they're traveling at their vacation residences, when they're at different events, it's being able to respond to like a medical incident at the residence. So it's like those interpersonal skills, I think, just become they kind of like float up to the top of the list. Of course you still need, you still need, like, the tactical response skills in like, a life or death emergency, but 99% of the time you're just relying on those interpersonal skills. And just making the life of the principal and their family members easier. So I think that's really, I feel like that's like the one big piece that's that's not a challenge, it's just one new skill to learn and get better at.

Ben 25:16
You couldn't have said it better. I reckon the you know, train, train, hard. Fight, easy. But the reality is, you, you're very rarely fighting an EP, except maybe just to maintain your contract and your client. And that's because people, people mess up in the soft stuff. They don't. They don't. The tactical stuff is fine that the rules are black and white. You know, if the bullets coming at you, you put the bullets back in the other direction. If the principle is there, you cover, you communicate, cover, extract, extract, right? But no one's writing a playbook on social media for you. No one's writing a playbook on how to interact with the principal's kids. It's, it's all that emotional intelligence, and you are bang on man, like you get absolute studs come into this game, and you know, I'm talking, you know, dudes with more metals on their chest than you know, I've got frying pans in the cupboard. They served you well in the past. And it sort of is that whole training is what you do and not what you did. You are who you are today, and you're not who you were before. You're definitely going to carry some of those hard skills over. But when it comes into EP, you're a forward facing, service oriented individual, and I think that's what you're saying about that switch off the other half of your brain, or you've got to switch on maybe another half of your brain. If you've got three halves, you sweep but like they link up. That links up between what my thoughts are on the policing and entry into the EP or pro entry industry, and what you're saying in regards to the defense, it's that, it's that ability to build rapport and have that emotional intelligence,

Travis 26:49
yeah, and for this industry, specifically, like those first impressions are so important because, I mean, literally, one bad impression could be okay, this. This guy's not working here anymore. Now he's on it. He's on a different detail, and it's just really small stuff. It could be just responding to the smallest medical emergency possible, where you're just cleaning a small wound on the principal's child who cut their finger while they were swimming. And if you do something silly and you maybe don't inspire confidence or do something wrong, that's just that impression is everything

Ben 27:29
that I love the way you put that don't inspire confidence. It's because it's not even that you made a mistake, right? Maybe you put the plaster of Paris or the, you know, whatever. I don't know what you put the heat. What do you call them? A band aid on them? But maybe it's just that you didn't inspire the confidence in the kid when you were doing it. And he goes back to mum or dad and then says, Oh, that guy's That guy doesn't know what he's doing, or he's weird, or he said something strange, or like, I've done that, I've done that. I've had the kid that's been surfing and cut themselves and and he's the, you know, he's the better team cleaning out the wound. He's a he's the band aid. You're good. You're good to go off. You go, trooper. But, yeah, it's so funny, because you're on a point 1% margin of error, 100% of the time, and all it takes is a moment, and you've done your number. And it doesn't matter how tactically leveled up you were, you're done, you're finding a new contract. Yeah,

Travis 28:23
absolutely, definitely, like even high stress, when it's something that is very low stress. And that leads me to next. Ben, I was curious, can you share a little bit about the work that you're doing today with panoptic? Yeah, sure.

Ben 28:40
So I transitioned away from an ops role 2022 and went into business management. So along with that came a lot more in the space of sales, marketing, the actual the economical engine side of running an EP business, working with Troy to grow the business in the space of what our primary driver is, so far as our financials and a lot of it's been focusing on the ultra high net worth that we have. So we've got a portfolio of clients that I think collectively equal about $400 billion in net value. And we've been providing services aligned with dig pro at a national level, you know, the skill set and the capabilities of planning the one percenters from specialists and regular military forces, and obviously my PTG background with the ANZ CDC, sort of qualifications for for more than a decade, and that that has stood us apart in the industry. We we maintain the same level of service and standards as what we did with careers, as we do with careers. A big focus for me lately has been not so much. How do we increase our market capture, but how do we better service the people that we work with? How do we better develop our relationships with them? How do we better serve their needs? What is it that they need as an EP company or a contracting team that they lean on when they're coming out here? Because realistically, you're coming out to a completely foreign environment. And I know a lot of guys that operate in the States. You travel around the states. You're good to go. You hit Europe a couple of times a year, whatever it might be, or you bang it down, bang it in, down at South America, or wherever you're traveling down there. You get over here, and it's, it's somewhat disconcerting, because it's a similar nation in Australia and New Zealand. But then punch north up into Asia, and the whole game changes. And it can change, you know, 50 kilometers apart because you got different ethnic groups, you've got completely different cultural sensitivities that you're paying attention to. And so it's, how can we better service and support the people that we do support? We do a lot of white label work for people. We do a lot of logistics, medical risk mitigation, as opposed to EP. So so we've got a lot of work in these different spaces because we're just a trusted and reliable vendor in that people know that they're going to get a high quality service. So that that's been a major focus of mine since moving into that and moving away from the ops role, but lately, one of our big projects has been standing up a full time detail for a family that we've recently been engaged to support. And that's been a it's been a massive undertaking because it's a it's no longer the contingent workforce management. It's no longer just the standard model of panoptic solutions, providing a heavy management level and a contractor workflow. It's, it's working with a full time workforce on a consistent basis, and that, I mean, that's been really good. We've been really enjoying that. We've got some great connections out of the UK as a result of that, some people that we really, really value the relationships with. And we've also been sort of discreetly on the side, building a lot more training into what panoptic is doing at the moment. So I think part of you know we were talking about it before we kicked off Trav we seem to be experiencing this hockey stick of growth. You know that it's not the the sort of steady, slow incline that you might see on an on a normal chart of someone's progress, but it's just been absolutely astronomical in the last six to eight months. So we're now doing training in Drive we're doing driver training courses. We're doing Concealed Carry Training. We're doing CPP movement and flows with the concealed carry stuff. We're doing hostile environment training. That's it. It's just absolutely exploded. And I think probably because the industry down here is starting to really grow. Travels. Travels open up. The borders have opened up. It's been a couple of years. People are starting to really move around again. And the need for quality operators that probably departed the industry during covid Because there wasn't a great deal of movement going on is really ramping up. And yeah, the need to get guys out on the ground is there, and we need to establish a high level of standards in the industry. Or when people come out here, they're not going to want to use the contracting teams that are out here. So if there are guys out on the ground that are looking at getting into the EP industry in Australia, make sure you set the standards network and find out who are the good operators in the room and and try to emulate that, because that'll that'll just help grow the industry out here as well with us. Yeah,

Travis 33:45
it's awesome to see how you guys are growing everything from training to some of your other service offerings. And you make a really good point when it comes to culture, and just knowing the culture of the area that you're traveling in, whether that's Australia or whether that's the countries in Asia and the Pacific that you're going to Yeah, I feel like that's just a huge part having that local knowledge so that you're not making silly American mistakes when you land there.

Ben 34:15
Yeah, for the most part, Trav there's been some great teams where we've worked with that have got guys from DSS. I mean, one of Troy and I best mates is a guy from DSS and and the places that blokes been just incredible, right? And so many, so many yanks that are that come out here on high level, ultra net worth teams, or fortune 500 you know, corporate teams that they're not just your run of the mill. Flyover states, not carrying a passport, never traveled, kind of guys. There's some really worldly dudes. So I feel like if you're in the industry and you pick up a detail, or you pick up a position on one of these details with a really experienced team leader, like, for instance, if you were to pick Kevin Dyer, who's going to be guest speaking at the ESOC. You know, like that, dude's got a world of knowledge. And it ain't just about EP, it's also about cultural sensitivities. And pay attention to the people that are in the room with you, and learn, learn from their experiences, get the shortcuts they've got to give. And I guess that's why we're trying to do the training a little bit more heavily with it as an emphasis with the company, because we're we're seeing that we want to, we want to have the same sort of standards of dudes that are operating that we can call up and and get on tasks, that know what they're doing, and they know how to interact with clients in an ultra high net worth space, as opposed to, you, P turns up, or your TL turns up, and you're giving direction, if it's a if it's a hostile or if it's an environment where you control the run sheet, or you control the schedule, you're in control of what's happening. And even on our last sdec course, we had a couple of young fellas that had a military background. And in one of the scenarios, we had the two lads come up and and give a briefing to the principal and the DS. We're all sitting there just sort of chuckling to ourselves. We're like, you got them Buckley's lads? That ain't happening in the EP industry. You ain't, you ain't talking to the p full stop, let alone giving them a brief on what's about to happen for the day. So I think it's sort of like what we're trying to achieve in that training space is, here's the reality of what this industry is like, yeah, you've got some skills, but this is what the actual reality is. This is the industry expectation.

Travis 36:33
Yeah, for me, like, the prospect of working with a panoptic type company, for me, it just seems huge, just to have, like, all of that local knowledge for the areas that you guys commonly operate in, everything from just knowing how security services work, health services, I mean being that you all emphasize medical training so much, all that really stands out to me and you, you Make a point two, about the EP operators, about holding training for them, about kind of standardizing or setting a baseline among their training. What are some of the skills and experience that you think make some of those EP professionals stand out, stand out the most or provide, I don't know who's who are more exceptional. Are there any skills or experiences that you think make some stand out more than others?

Ben 37:30
Yeah, totally. And I think it goes back to what you were talking about with the third half of your brain and the softer skills, and that is, you either brand out, or you blend in and it it's really subtle, but you can see it straight away. You'll have someone on the team who might be just coming into the industry, or maybe they've been in it for a while, and the roles that they've had and the positions they've had might have required them to have a higher level of physical presence, and as a result of that, they'll immediately brand out. And you know, they're rocking five elevens, the whatever, whatever the look is that you want some olive drab, a little bit of Molly, maybe a G shock, and some Oakleys, and they brand out straight away. And if we're doing a low profile high like high discretion requirement to provide an EP detail that doesn't exist around a principal on holiday. Because, let's face it, most of our clients, being American, aren't out here living. They're out here holidaying. They're checking out Australia for the beautiful nature and tourism, and they don't want some tactical Tom or Harry hard Charlie standing over their shoulder, making them feel like the kangaroos are going to come down and beat the out of them like that. They know it's Australia, right? It's a friendly place. It's not, there's no it's not a high threat environment. Take over to PNG, or parts of, you know, like Western, Northern, Northwestern Indonesia, and some of the places around, sort of that archipelago, Philippines, Southern Philippines, sure, you want a tactical Tom and you want someone that's going to be there with a, you know, a much more serious demeanor, but blending in and still having that capability to provide executive protection is is, to me, The number one attitudinal factor that will see someone succeed in this industry so far, and by no means am I an expert, right like I have, I've not got the same levels of experience as other people in this industry, but what I have seen bring people undone so far in my short time, is Standing out to the principal and being seen because your ego won't let you, or you can't check your ego at the door, and you feel like you need to be the biggest in the room, which ironically, you end up being the biggest in the room because you get kicked off the contract. So yeah, brand out or blend in boys and girls.

Travis 39:59
Yeah, that's great advice. And then I even saw, I haven't saw an article this week. It was more talking about low profile security officers in San Francisco, one of the major AI firms, they had hired some plainclothes security to, I don't know, operate security out, inside and outside of their office, and, yeah, just them kind of, I think, a mix of their attire and just the way that they talk to people, just gave a just left a bad taste in the mouth of all the people that are in the community surrounding there. And, you know, it's really as simple as attire and maybe having, like, a very simple script that you could speak to when people come up and ask you questions, because you can. You can always play stupid. You don't have to look like the know it all, cool guy, bodyguard, like you can. There's definitely an alternative approach where you could just blend in and kind of remain under the radar.

Ben 41:03
Yeah. I mean, look, I've been working on my blended approach for a long time. I managed to get my dad bought in really good dad bod shape, you know, I rock some loose clothes and got a ginger beer, Ginger beard and ready, big ears so, like, it's quite easy to hide in plain sight and still be a lethal tactical operator. That was sarcasm in an Australian time.

Travis 41:28
Yeah, blending in, definitely a very important skill. And speaking of skills, I know medical training is something that panoptic really emphasizes. What could you tell me about the role of medical training in close protection?

Ben 41:45
Think Remington said it best and funny to quote a gun guy for a medical scenario, but it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. And by no means am I a surgeon. But if, if, you're on an EP detail and you're working with an ultra high net worth individual, the biggest risk to them in a permissive environment is not going to be a gunshot. It'll be either a breach of integrity, so their reputational harm, or it'll be a medical incident. You know, let's just take the standard CEO, you're going to be looking at a 50 plus male with comorbidities. They're working 16 to 18 hours a day, and they are probably not eating as healthily as they might want, or they're traveling for extended periods into foreign locations, or maybe it's recreational, and they're diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and they get bitten, or they get started by Stinger, or they get a barb from a stingray. It could be anything, but if you don't have a skill set to cater for the medical emergency that comes on, then for all those tactical Tom drills that you've done at the range where you were cracking rounds off and you were looking like a Harry hard Charlie, then you, you're useless. You are as good as a set of on a ball because you are doing nothing positive in that situation except holding the phone and and maybe getting a drink of water for someone. So we, we have got a medical director that sits over the top of our capabilities, Dr Kieran McCarthy. He's a former Special Forces doctor in Australia with two commando did a number of deployments overseas, runs now one of the largest veteran services clinics in Australia, and is an all around legend. He's also another ginger. So good dude obviously has no soul, but he, he, he sits atop our medical director requirements. So we're able to operate with schedule four, schedule eight, substances to support medical requirements, with paramedics, doctors, nurses. We do a huge amount of work in that space, specifically with Kieran direction under the adventure medicine stuff. So, you know, there's volcanoes, there's Arctic regions, there's some of the most amazing places in the world or in our region. And we, as panoptic solutions, stay in our lane in the APAC region. We don't try and venture out to Europe or to America or South America. We we stay in our lane down here, because this is what we know. And there's a reason we put it it because we don't try and spread our attention and focus too wide. And we get a lot of clients that are coming down here looking for, you know, the exciting stuff in life, whether that's surfing some of the best waves in the Pacific or adventuring up volcanoes and falling down manholes and breaking their legs like whatever it might be, we're there with the capability to respond. And when we're looking at operators that want to come and work with us, we're looking for people that have got some capability in a medical sense, and if it's not self trained, if. Is something that we want to look at doing with them. And

Travis 45:02
you make a really good point there too, talking about, like, some of those situations that are going to be high impact, high likelihood, yeah, if you're working with an executive male female doesn't matter in their you know, mid 60s, you already know, like, what the potential health issues are like here in the US, cardiovascular issues are definitely super high on the list. And then, of course, like each individual, each individual, each executive, they're going to have, you know, their own health protocols, their own health conditions, or maybe they need, they require a special medication, or, you know, some special medical intervention. And I feel like for those specific situations, some of those things that we know are going to be, you know, more common, like a heart attack or a stroke, okay, stroke definitely requires something more advanced, but um, for some of those high likelihood ones. Like, really, the solutions, the interventions are so simple. Like, you could go out there and do your CPR ad training. You can go do your stop the bleed training. So you could, you know, generally, stop, like, any major hemorrhage, like a lot of

Ben 46:16
some T, Triple C under your belt. Like, it doesn't take long to upskill on how to plug a wound, and look, here's the soldier's five on MediCal. Blood goes round and round, air goes in and out. If you've got a problem with either of those, your principle isn't going to last, and neither does your career. So if you can't fix those two things, start there,

Travis 46:35
right? Yeah, that's a great way to think about it. And I remember we had another podcast with Dr Michael girgis, and he just described it as, hey, it's just like Plumbing. You know, you have you have you have circus, you have circulate, circulation, you have tubes. You need to plug them up, you need to keep everything running. So, yeah. So, yeah, some of these very basic skills are just that. They're basic. They're easy to find. You can easily go out and find a course and get some practical skills on it, and you don't necessarily have to be an EMT like you. Most likely are not going to be delivering a baby or doing some, you know, obscure, obscure medical intervention on the team. So yeah, just those skills are just so available and so high impact and so important for the client.

Ben 47:25
I think for a different perspective on that as well from a like managing teams space is if you don't have a health professional or someone with a health background on your team, and you've got a principal who does have a health condition, consider whether or not that principal is going to actually reveal that to your team or not. If you're just some tactical Tom, it's very unlikely, if that principal's got a more discreet personal rep, potentially reputational medical issue that they're dealing with, that they're going to reveal it to you. And if that's something that is going to have an impact on your detail or your operation, it's really worth considering whether or not you're putting forward the option of having I mean, we call them paramedics, I believe yours is EMT, and they've got different categories, but even just having an EMT on board with your detail opens up a raft of information that was otherwise unaccessible through the principle that you can then obviously that they're not disclosing anything, but you can at least be aware that there may be an issue that you need to take into consideration for your planning. And that's you know, that that's another consideration around medical that I think people don't look to, because we do just get caught up in the in the plumbing situation, where it's like playing a tourniquet on high and tight and start pumping the chest right. There's, there's a lot more. There's heaps to it,

Travis 48:51
yeah, and that's a good point too, because you know, every principal is going to be concerned about their privacy. So it's not like they want, you know, all their health issues to be known to the team, but yeah, having someone who is a specialist who is more in the know about the principal's health, I could definitely see a giant advantage there, because, for example, if they have a health condition and they're not allowed to take aspirin, or they can't take some other medication, right? These are things that people have to know. You can't have one of the EP guys handling and the principle of medication that very may well injure them even more. So, yeah, having that specialist

Ben 49:28
makes a big difference. Makes a big, big difference. I don't think I really appreciated that until and because I think in Australia, dig Pro, dig pro don't do as well of a job, I think, is what the Yanks have got with the Secret Service and how you guys deal with medical. I think it's late to the piece in Australia with digpro. It's something that it's a bugbear of mine. I know a lot of the teams are starting to implement the either the tactical medic through a PTG space, or then. Our bringing in paramedics from our ambulance services. But I think it's something that is definitely a little bit too slow, considering what you're dealing with, especially with politicians, right? How old are your current candidates for the presidential

Travis 50:14
they're up there. What mid 70s on average man,

Ben 50:18
if they get shot, they're lucky. I reckon they're more likely to die of a heart attack,

Travis 50:22
right? Right? Absolutely.

Ben 50:23
And I'm not, I know you guys have got a bit of a history with presidents being shot at, but so I'm not really trying to make that as a tongue in cheek joke. I'm just genuinely like, it's more likely going to be a medical incident for these lads than it is for a critical assault. Yeah,

Travis 50:38
absolutely. Yeah. Can agree more there. Yeah, they've both had, yeah, a number of health issues. And the current president's had brain surgery, like some serious medical intervention. So yeah, you have to be aware of of all that stuff. And Ben, you mentioned another, or you mentioned a big part of your current role being kind of like the economic engine behind the behind the services that you're providing for your clients. What are some of the important business skills that you find useful in that role? Because I feel like that's kind of like one of the it's like one of the natural progressions for a lot of security practitioners. Almost doesn't matter what, like, what flavor of security you're in. Like, eventually you kind of end up in one of these roles where it's essentially part of your responsibility to go out and bring in business, bring in projects to the business. So like, what have you found useful?

Ben 51:37
Well, I think to clarify that, I think our economic engine at the business is talent, so we can't do anything without the good people that are around us that provide the services. So I think, like our economic engine with monopoly solutions is definitely EP. It's It's executive protection, it's residential security, it's security, like risk management and logistics and medical that's, that's what's driving our company forward. What I bring to the table there is, is, is probably that rapport building trust that we spoke about right at the start, and being able to connect with people on a on a more personal level than just, hey, I'm a tactical Tom. You're a tactical Tom who's the Harry, hardest person in the room, and let's talk about my rates, and you talk about your rates, and then we'll talk about all the jobs we've done, and we'll find out in about 15 seconds who's more of a dead being able to genuinely build relationships with people is such a critical, critical skill when you get to the point where you're trying to generate contracts and revenue, because there are heroes everywhere in this industry. And I'm not saying that lightly. I'm not saying that to take the there are genuinely heroes. There. There are guys and girls that have served on the front line of law enforcement, defense, corrections, government, private, whatever, and they you cannot trifle with them, because they genuinely have the reps on the board to be heroes and and that relying on that will only get you so far, because even though you might be a hero, even though you might have done something great and amazing in the past, in your career, if you can't form relationships with people, then no one wants to work with you. And I certainly learned that from stepping out of police where I had I'm still penning a piece at the moment about this authority dynamics. And you know, I had, I had lawful authority as a police officer. I didn't have to be worried about whether or not someone agreed with me or not. I could tell them what to do, because I had a badge and a gun and, you know, I'm the law and I won. But now it's, it's totally different, right? It's implied authority. Sorry, it's assumed authority. So it's charismatic in everything, whether it's on the detail on the shoulder and getting the principal into the restaurant. You know, you might use a bit of greenback charisma sometimes, but for the most part, what you're trying to achieve is done through being a nice guy, being a good guy. And and and working the magic of rapport building and relationships and understanding what someone's issues might be, their pain points and and trying to solve them for them. So I think it's absolutely rapport building when you, when you, when you're trying to generate revenue, just just being a hero. Won't, won't, won't get you there yet, you have to actually be a nice guy.

Travis 54:43
Yeah, that's a good way of putting it, too, because definitely, like the individual practitioners who are out there, who are the face of the organization, yeah, that's really going to be, like you mentioned, that's really the economic engine, because without them setting the exam. And holding a high standard. There is no contract renewed. There's no one out there talking about, you know, this team that I worked with out in Australia. These guys were awesome. They don't have that kind of thing. So, yeah, that's a great point about the people who are the face of the business, being the engine. And then, yeah, like you mentioned, relationships also very important, picking up the phone. Stay in close contact with the people you're serving, seeing what you could do for them, and then even getting out there and traveling, going to conferences, going to meetups where you can catch up with more of your fellow practitioners and the groups that you're serving.

Ben 55:39
Spot on. Follow Follow up. The people that you're serving. Touch base with them. Reach out, treat them like humans. Think of them. Think of the other people, not just yourself. You know, you might be at the range and be able to do one handed drills on a 45 Canton. You know, act like you've got no fingers, but still get rounds on target at 10 meters with your Glock cool. But if you can't think to maybe send a legend that you know who's introduced you to people a pack of Tim Tams, then what good is your firearm serials. Everyone can do. Everyone go to the range and learn hard skills. But not everyone can think of other people selflessly. And I think if you can think of others selflessly, then you can, you can stick it out in this industry. Yeah,

Travis 56:27
I think that's a great way to put it, just being selfless. I mean, it's going to work in leadership on your team. It's going to work in business development. That's, that's a great way to think about it. Ben, before we wrap things up, were there any other topics you wanted to talk about, or anything else that you wanted to share? I'd

Ben 56:48
love to give some sort of anecdote about the Australian bush. One of the biggest challenges, I reckon, for people when they come over to Australia is, I don't realize the the the pure size of this place is actually a challenge when you when you're operating the states, and you've got three, 30 million people, and you've got an expert in every town who's got 10 to 15 years of service, and you can literally drive from town to town. You can pick up a guy who's worn a beret, or he's, you know, being badged up. You're sweet. But here you've got a, you've got, like a, a condensed pool of high level humans in certain pockets of Australia, and then for the rest of Australia, you've got crop bears, hoop snakes, yaois and desert. And I can remember driving for two days to get to a location, two days, two days of like, 10 hour driving to get to a location to support a principal for a day, and then driving for two days to get back because they were flying in, and we had to get a team there, a team of four operators there. It's, I think, for the consideration for people that are planning troops out here, be prepared for the logistic nightmare, logistical nightmare of getting troops on the ground in Australia, because you are genuinely coming to a nation that is mostly desert with condensed pockets of population, and there are not operators everywhere for you to lean on. And when, when we get requests, and it's like, we're going to Cairns, and we need a team of 10 people, and they've all got a BSF background. You're like, Okay, we're going to fly everyone there, because there's probably not that many dudes that are ready and current and contemporary, that know the industry, that are going to support your needs, that the logistical nightmare that is Australia is worth taking into consideration. And it's it's similar all through Asia. It's condensed pockets of population in well known locations, and then the rest is really, really sparse. And so if you're coming out here and you're planning a higher level operation, lean on the people that you need to who have got the expertise in the area. And you know, like panoptic has been operating in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, or through Asia for years and years and years, we've got a great network of contacts throughout the APAC, and that's the reason we stay in our lane, because it is so vast and there is so much work here, but Philippines, if you're traveling around the Philippines for a dive trip, give us a call, because you don't want to turn up and be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. That that is a no go environment for some people, some people. So you know, like, leverage the network. You've got talk to the people that are the experts. Don't be afraid of looking silly. Check your ego at the door and and face the fact that this is a big old part of the world.

Travis 59:49
Yeah, I like the way you put that of just check your ego at the door. Like, admit that maybe, maybe you don't know as much about Australia as you think you know. Like, especially you. Mentioning that logistics trip. I mean, that's basically like driving from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, like that. I mean, if you don't take that into account when you're planning all of your logistics and all of your operations and putting schedules together, yeah, something like that could be huge

Ben 1:00:17
spot on mate. I mean, just the timing, right? Like, I mean, the timing on getting something dialed in, like, that is really important, and when it gets left to the last minute, you're like, Oh, we're going here. It's sometimes there's just no other option. And then it if we're providing tier one services for an ultra high net worth individual who expects the absolute best and and this is for the people that are visiting and your reputations on the line, and you're not considering the impact of logistics. It won't be me that loses my job.

Travis 1:00:50
Yep, that's a great point. Yeah, if you're going to put your faith in someone, you want to put your faith in the people that are established, that have the network, that have the existing relationships. And

Ben 1:01:02
it goes, it goes both ways. Travis, we like, we traveled over to the states just recently, and it was, you know, it was a matter of linking, linking guys, up with people in the States. Do I know what EP is in the States? No, would I begin to imagine, sure, I've got some hard skills and I can, I can talk to people, but am I licensed, insured? Am I the right person to be doing the task? Yes, in certain environments. But should I be leaning on locals that know the industry you know inside and out? Absolutely, yeah. Would I try and drive a principal around? No, not a chance.

Travis 1:01:37
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Much easier to rely on the specialist and just be humble with what you do know and what you don't know. I like that. Awesome. So Ben, before we go, how can people How can people follow you and follow panoptic, and I know you have the newsletter podcast, and there's other other things you're involved in. So how can people find you?

Ben 1:02:04
Mate? I am a pest on LinkedIn, so if you relentless person posting what they think about link, sorry, executive protection, jump on LinkedIn. I'm on LinkedIn and heaps. We've got the wheels up newsletter that's on LinkedIn. We've got the panoptic solutions site there as well. We're on Facebook and Instagram as our panoptic solutions No, we're not millennial enough to be on Tiktok or YouTube. Oh no, we are on YouTube as well. We got a couple of little videos on YouTube, some warm up clips, which are pretty so there's certainly no show reels for some of the stuff that you boys in the states do. Damn. They're cool.

Travis 1:02:43
Awesome. Yeah. And I'll definitely leave links in the show notes so that people can check out the newsletter. They could find out where you are. They could go to the panoptic website. Unfortunately, no panoptic Tiktok dances, maybe next year.

Ben 1:02:59
Yeah, mate, when I get to, when I get to GSX, I like chucking a few videos up when I'm at the conference, and we'll get a Tiktok here. If there's anyone in the EP industry that's a that's listening to this and you're a tiktoker, I'll be impressed. But, yeah, please show me some moves. I'm happy to jump on board and make a fool of myself. I'll check my ego in the internet.

Travis 1:03:18
Yeah, we'll see you. We'll see you there at GSX, and then I'll also see you at the upcoming executive security operations conference. So Ben, I appreciate it. We talked about some really cool topics, everything from your background in digpro, the work that you're doing in panoptic, why we should consider hiring a specialist when we're going out to Australia, regarding the logistics, the medical, the local Intel, the deep knowledge across Asia, and then, of course, like some of those more some of the more important skills and experience that are going to be important for EP operators out there supporting high net worth clients. So yeah, this was all fantastic info. I know listeners are gonna really love it, so really appreciate it...