Learn from the Legendary Tony Scotti
Tony Scotti trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies, and military organizations to avoid vehicle violence. For 5 decades his training programs have been conducted in over 35 countries, students from 74 countries have attended his programs on five continents.
He sold his company in 1997 and in 1999 went into semi-retirement. He became a consultant for Mercedes Benz, assisting Mercedes Benz in introducing the Guard Car (armored car) into the US and overseas market. In 2003 Tony became the Executive Vice President of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (TSVDI).
Tony combined his knowledge of science, (He holds a B.S. in Engineering from Northeastern University) and vehicle dynamics with firsthand experience gained while conducting real-world security operations in moderate and high-risk locales around the globe. The result has been teaching students the critical skills needed to survive a life-threatening situation while behind the wheel.
Transition From Developing and Training Security Drivers to Driver Certification
Early 2012 Tony Scotti created the International Security Driver Association (ISDA). International Security Driver Association mission is to provide and support an international forum of protective services providers who share knowledge for the ultimate purpose of enhancing professional and business standards. ISDA serves the protective services community with an emphasis on secure transportation and security driving. ISDA members are security practitioners who supply protective services to corporate executives, high-net-worth individuals, military personnel, and law enforcement agents and officers.
Tony has authored several books on security and driving available for purchase on Amazon.
Security Transportation Expertise is Top Sought-After Skill in Executive Protection
Tony Scotti is a man passionate about what he does and wants people to know that within all the various aspects of working as a professional in the executive protection field, secure transportation driving skills are paramount. He gets a bit testy when people indicate that working as a driver is a means of breaking into the EP business. He emphasizes it IS the business.
He explains that all high net-worth individuals are in need of secure transportation due to mandates by the IRS Tax codes as well as Kidnap and Ransom Insurance requirements. Top-earners or diplomats are most likely to experience problems while out of their homes, being transported from one place to another; and that’s a big part of what being an Executive Protection Specialist entails.
Tony explains, “Security Driver training and certification is a key component of EP work, and in fact, the corporate market demands a return on the investment; protectees are often paying out-of-pocket for this protection.” To claim a driver as a deductible business expense (in consideration of the insurance and IRS requirements) requires a properly trained driver be employed in the position. For high net-worth individuals, obtaining K & R insurance means there is a need for security. And this is where regulations and certification become so crucial, because K & R Insurance cannot be obtained if a driver is not trained and certified.
It’s interesting to note that few of the top Executive Protection schools include Secure Driver Training in their curriculum, despite the fact that it is the most crucial and sought-after skill set. Some will offer Security Driving at an extra cost. But the majority of the EP training providers offer no security driver training. Tony states the reason for this is two-fold: logistics and expenses. The logistical problem is that schools cannot find a training facility with the correct amount of space. If they can find the space, the cost of renting the facility is exorbitant. And, it’s a cost-prohibitive endeavor; the insurance rates are sky-high because one small mistake in a training program can be dangerous and costly. It’s an expensive risk that a majority of the EP schools prefer not to take.
The Laws of Physics “Drive” the Certification Standards for Security Drivers
Using his background in science and vehicle dynamics, Tony was responsible for creating driving standards using data published by the Society of Automotive Engineers. He explains, “an average driver only needs to be able to use a minimum of 40% of a vehicle’s capability. A security driver needs to be operating with 80% of the vehicles capability. This requires training.”
Tony was instrumental in the development of a set of standard times in which a car has to move away from becoming the target of an act meant to embarrass, harass, or cause harm. He was able to demonstrate via a computer model that measured lateral acceleration, braking, and turning—where even .5 off a second can make the difference between life or death. It was determined that specific actions within a specific period of time need to take place to escape a situation that jeopardizes an individual in a vehicle. This quantifying meant that drivers could be tested and subsequently, certified to meet these qualifying time + action skills.
It’s important to note that meeting these standards is required of drivers by major corporations. So the task of becoming a qualified security driver should be at the top of anyone’s list who is seeking work in the EP field.
Finding Employment as a Security Driver: Something of a Catch-22
Tony explains that the market is driven by the corporate world’s needs.
“I have never in 40 years of doing this work marketed to a person coming into the profession. Most corporations hire a driver first, then put that driver through a credible and professional driver training program to enhance existing driving skills.” The need by corporations is to provide training (and refresher-training) for the drivers they already have. But you can’t be hired as a driver if you don’t have experience, training, or some of the “soft skills” needed. These skills include: Computer proficiency, good health, medical training/CPR, and communication skills. In addition, clients can be very selective when seeking specific personalities with whom they like to work.
So, the trick is to determine which companies might be in need of security drivers, and what skill set is needed to become a driver, and how to get your foot in the door. Most drivers that are hired by corporations already have some background as a professional driver (in the military services or law enforcement, government – high-risk contractors
perhaps in banking or transportation.)
Tony’s association ISDA offers a “Roadmap of Success Checklist,” and provides additional information for those seeking employment. First, he suggests to newcomers interested in this field check their egos. Too many who have gone through EPS coursework come out possessing a “know-it-all” manner. He pointed out there is an overly-confident mindset that a number of people seem to possess, a lack of insight into the business, and an aversion to putting in the work. He points to the role of passion required to place oneself on the path to success, and suggests it is important to find someone to emulate. “Look for the pattern of behavior that got them there.”
Secondly, Tony advises novices to consider paying for their own training and obtain a certificate. A willingness to do extensive research is also key. He suggests reading blogs, following newsgroups, and seeking out all the free knowledge available. A hot tip is to look into the W.P.S. (Worldwide Protective Services) and also Defense Industry Daily to see what is happening throughout the world. In areas like Afghanistan, and Iraq, employers are seeking individuals to hire as security drivers, and paying for their training! Read business newspapers to see what shifts may be occurring in companies that could require a driver’s services.
“Be inquisitive, with a thirst for knowledge, and proactive in your thinking about where your services might be needed. Look beyond protecting celebrities, and be willing to start on the ground floor.” He points out that many who find their way into Security Driver positions (and eventually into a broader-spectrum of EPS work) start as Gate Guards or Control Room Operators at a corporation, and prove themselves to be reliable, resourceful and easy to work with.
Unsurprisingly, most companies prefer to promote from within. Upgrading a known-quantity with whom an excellent working relationship has been established is preferable for most employers. Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com can be helpful resources also, as many companies use these portals to advertise for entry-level positions.
ISDA Membership and the Future of Security Driving
Tony disclosed the problems inherent with ADAS – (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems) vehicles that are leading to the development of a new set of guidelines to train drivers, who need to be able to drive cars with ADAS. “The warning systems can all be very different, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The Society of Automotive Engineers are working to create some uniformity across brands to ensure security drivers (many who are often transporting people in rental vehicles) are able to understand the complexity of “ADAS”.
Additionally, ISDA is helping to develop an online learning program, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2019. Tony is an ardent believer in providing individuals with knowledge, and the plan is to offer some of the course at no charge to ISDA Members.
Lastly, Tony Scotti invites the readers of Bodyguard Careers to join ISDA. Membership offers information on job opportunities, articles by professionals in the field, and the latest trends in the Security Driving and EP business.
There is also a Training Directory available at his website: https://isdacenter.org
This article was written by Bodyguard Careers staff writer Cynthia Uhrich. If you would like to be featured in the series (or know of someone who would make an excellent subject) feel free to contact “Industry Leaders” Editor Cynthia Uhrich at: firstname.lastname@example.org