Adam Jarrell of AZ Consulting boasts over 20 years of experience in the military, law enforcement, narcotics detection K-9 handler, executive protection, estate protection, private security consulting, private investigation, and hand-to-hand combat. His father was a US Marine and his mother is a chief probation officer. He’s combined his upbringing with his career path and passion for protection in order to provide services to some of the most delicate and difficult security situations in the world.
As he explained to Polo Lifestyles, the foundational aspect of providing security to a client is the threat assessment combined with the advance work done prior to the start of any protection job. His agents are trained all over the world. “You’ll never hear me say there is any specific school, course, or academy that will completely prepare a person to conduct private close protection operations. These types of skillsets are garnered through real-life experience and training,” he said.
Not every job includes protecting clients. Sometimes, Jarrell is contracted to protect and move high-value items across borders or dangerous parts of a country. “I was asked to transport an item worth a fortune across the country alone. It seemed like an easy task but the planning involved was immense. The fact that you really have no idea how many people know about the transport can be nerve-racking. There are a lot of variables,” he said.
Another variable can be job security. Dealing with A-list celebrities, who are broadly considered the most difficult client to protect, can be extremely hectic, with priorities becoming clouded and re-arranged by the client or manager. The payoffs and experiences can far outweigh the uncertain variables. Jarrell has traveled the globe with AZ Consulting. Recently, Polo Lifestyles’ senior global fashion curator Oksana Toussaint-Vig caught up with Jarrell on a rare day off?
OTV: Who’s harder to protect: princes or princesses? Or... other?
AJ: I would say the most difficult out of almost every type of private client would be some A- List celebrities. It can be extremely hectic and a lot of times your list of responsibilities can become clouded. There also isn’t a lot of job security.
OTV: What’s the best part of your job?
AJ: The experiences!!! The things I get to experience, witness, hear etc.. Hearing music made by some of the world’s most respected artists and some of my personal favorites. I worked around a specific client whose identity I won’t disclose. This person will always be one of my favorite musical artist to ever live.
OTV: Where do your jobs come from?
AJ: I work basically off of referral. Usually either a past client will suggest me to someone, but a lot of work comes from meeting other protection professionals while working. When you network with them and exchange information, they call you when they are offered work they can’t take.
OTV: Have you ever worked with anyone worth over five billions dollars? What was is like?
AJ: Yes, he owned a worldwide corporation. It was an amazing experience! I like to be like a sponge so when I’m around a man like that, I can learn a lot from him just through observation alone.
OTV: You worked as a security instructor? What is one piece of advice you gave agents in training?
AJ: Yes, I worked as an executive protection and estate protection instructor for a private security company with a 33-day academy, GI Bill certified. This way, US veterans can use their college money to attend training. I would always tell agents starting out, “Try your best to become as valuable as possible to your client in every way possible.” Doing that builds job security. For example, if there is a power outage, your client’s estate might need its central air re-started. When you call for the service and the technician arrives, have him teach you how to reboot the system yourself. This way the next time it happens, you can have the air conditioning up and running in no time without having to call for service. Your client will appreciate that.
OTV: What is the most important skill to have?
AJ: Being a great observer of body language and people skills. Being able to talk to just about anyone and using verbal judo and conflict resolution can help prevent physical altercations and lengthy law suits.
OTV: What is one of the most common misconceptions made by people when hiring a “protection professional” or “bodyguard”?
AJ: That size matters – or that just having been a police officer is enough. Some of the most skilled protection professionals I’ve ever met or heard of were of normal size, just extremely well-educated and trained in their craft. And that is what is most important. As for police officers, many law enforcement officers have little and sometimes zero training in executive protection. Most law enforcement officers spend their time reacting to crime after the fact, and later investigating to solve the crime. As an executive protection agent, you do not have the luxury of reacting after the fact. You need to be skilled at reading body language and being able to recognize when a person is going to make a move. You need to have measured reactions and maintain professionalism at all times. Executive protection requires exquisite planning and attention to detail. This isn’t a conversation about 6’8” 450-pound bodyguards with only size as a qualification. I’m talking about career professionals.
OTV: What is one of your biggest frustrations when it comes to some clients?
AJ: Nothing bothers me more than when a client contacts me requesting a protection agent with an extensive background and a list of specifics like law enforcement experience, combat veteran, EMT, formal executive protection training plus plenty of actual experience with many clients. Then I ask what the budget is and they say “$350 per day.” To be brutally honest, in this industry you get what you pay for. But I can tell you right now, no highly trained combat veteran with a law enforcement and EMT background is going to offer all of his or her skills and be willing to risk their life on a daily basis privately for you for $350 per day.
OTV: What is one of your biggest goals?
AJ: To start an accredited executive protection academy. I want a school that you can attend for at least six months. A school that, when you leave, you will be highly trained and walk out of the door with some client experience. I want my school to change the industry standards and make it difficult to even get hired by anyone unless you have a certificate from my school. And I want to have a very successful job placement program for all veterans who graduate my school.
OTV: How do you help protect a client from legal liability?
AJ: I carry insurance through my company, but I also verify that any company I suggest to a client is fully licensed and insured. I make sure that each company and agent is credible and has a credible background. It’s important that whoever physically protects the client documents everything important and can be considered a credible or expert witness in court.
OTV: Is there a specific type of contract you haven’t landed yet that you would like?
AJ: Yes, I would love government defense contract. I think that would be a fun challenge.
OTV: Is it important that an executive protection agent be licensed to carry a firearm concealed?
AJ: I think it completely depends on the client and whether or not there are any specifically known threats. I do not personally believe that carrying a firearm is necessary to protect a client in any modern city. But having the ability to carry a firearm does make you more valuable to some clients; however, some clients will specifically tell you not to carry while working for them – and that, I do not agree with. Usually it’s because of the bad publicity they would get if the protection agent were to ever make a mistake. Not to mention the law suits. But for the clients who hire well-trained agents, they can bet, that, if their agent fires his or her weapon, the only thing hit will be the intended target.
OTV: Have you ever been seriously hurt while protecting a client?
AJ: Not once. I’d like to think my planning and well-executed advanced details have helped play a role in stopping that from happening. But have I been tested by anyone? Many times!
OTV: Do you still personally protect clients?
AJ: Yes. I enjoy protecting clients still. I have a passion for it that will never die.
OTV: If the government of any foreign country wanted to contract you for work, would you fulfill the contract?
AJ: Yes. I have once before. It, of course, depends on the contract and the needs. But as long as it fell within the scope of my expertise, I would welcome the opportunity and the work. If it’s a large contract, the fact that I am a consultant will make it easy for me to choose another company to partner with and subcontract.
OTV: What is the name of your company? And why did you name it that?
AJ: My company is called AZ Consulting and I am based in Burbank, Calif. I named it that because every client will receive professional security consulting from A-Z.
OTV: How can you be reached?
AJ: My name is Adam Jarrell and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org serious inquiries only please.