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BPI Security Specialist Feature – Mustafaa A. Muhammed

A few years back I was invited to attend a high threat protection course by Solutions Group International at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas Nevada.  This course was run by George Holt and Mike Duffy.  This was the course that I blogged about where one of the instructors was Craig “Sawman” Sawyer, who I featured in a previous BPI blog – to read clicke HERE.

During that course I was drawn to one of the students who was just “DIFFERENT” than the others.  He was extremely quiet yet I could tell that Professionalism was screaming through his pores.  he and spoke and I gave him a business card.  He stared at the card and said, “I’ve seen this business card before.”  As we continued to talk he said that he had supported a visit in California and one of the close-in specialists had handed him one.  At that point I knew who he was talking about and the detail he was referring to.  The ice was broken and a friendship was bonded.  Mustafaa is the quintessential professional in all aspects.  He is very outspoken about the industry in a very subtle yet quiet way.

Very recently he contacted me to attend an “Invite only” course by Frank Proctor.  Due to scheduling I was unable to attend but was told that I am EXPECTED to be at the next course that he sets up.  Enough of me and the preliminaries.  I introduce to you Protection Specialist Mustafaa A. Muhammed.

BPI Security-Mustafaa, tell the readers a little about your background before you entered the industry and how you think any portion of
that has helped you in your career?

I was in the Marine Corps from 1982-1990, from there I worked for Coca- Cola Bottling as an Account Manager then I entered the Tel Com industry, collecting on delinquent accounts.  I believe the second part of your question was: Did any portion of that experience help me in my present career? Well I learned a lot from those assignments that I apply everyday as a PSS. How to deal with stress, time deadlines, how to be a leader of men, how to trust others to help you be successful and what proper corporate etiquette is and is not! The Marine Corps and these Corporations taught me how to think independently and out of the box! I can honestly say this would be the foundation that has helped me to continue on the road of success.

BPI Security– Where did you get your training and what process did you go through in order to choose the schools you attended?

I started getting my training while still on Active Duty. As most guys that have serviced in the Military…you work side jobs to make ends meet. I was blessed to be pulled under the wing of some outstanding mentors that were “leaders of men”. The Principal that we protected was very high profile and controversial…but this Principal was well versed in close protection. Something that this Principal said one day has always stayed
with me:  “The security has to be gentle with the people that come to see me. You can’t be all rough with the public.” So in essence, you can protect without being disrespectful, because this is a direct reflection on the Principal! I choose my schools based on my mentors/peers that made an impact on me. And of course having a passion to want to be the best I can be.  An individual by the name of Paul French ran an Executive Protection course; I was told I should attend. So I contacted him, and I’m glad I did…at that time he told me and several other students that “the only way this industry will change is by individuals like you! That have the passion and skillset that will rub off on those that they come in contact with…it is on you.” Next stop:  Solutions Group International HRDP courses (Basic/Advance); I was invited to this course by the owners based off one of my peers who spoke favorably about me. This is where you and I crossed paths and the rest is history in regards to us. But this company has some of the best instructors that are still doing the deal. This course was for vetted MIL/LE and Security Professionals…if your readers every get a chance to attend their course don’t pass it up! Next stop: International Training Group (ITG), this was the (12) day portion of the (21) day full protection course (*21-Day Combined Protection Training includes the Executive Protection, Surveillance Detection, Handgun and
High Risk Environment Weapons Courses). This company/course is overseen by Mr. Dave Johnson, who I am proud to call my Mentor. This course of instruction is so in depth, that yes even a “seasoned agent” will learn something!  And my next stop with ITG is their “Detail
Leaders course” at the beginning of the year. I guess what you see here is a continuous quest to keep the skillset sharp and NETWORK! This is why I will be taking a (10) day course with Trojan Securities in October. We as company owners and Agents in the field have to set the example for our fellow agents.

BPI Security-What area [PSD/celebrity/Corporate] of the industry were you drawn to work in.

Eric, I’m of the opinion…if you are a Security Professional then you are able to work any area of our industry. So I will leave that alone for now.

BPI Security-I personally know that you have worked the entertainment and the corporate side of protection. What, if any, differences have you encountered with the principals you’ve covered?

Yes, this is correct. I would describe the (2) like this: Entertainment, they operate on being
“fashionably late”. Corporate, “time is money”! And know your job and have answers.

BPI Security– As a follow-up with question #3 what differences have you seen in the personnel [protection specialists versus bodyguards] have you noticed from one side to the other

The majority of the Protection Agents in Corporate that I have encountered have a government background (DEA, USSS, FBI, US Marshals or Military specialized). And LE, that had worked on a Mayor or Governor Protection detail.

BPI Security-What, if any, issues did you have transitioning from one to the other?

The biggest issue that I encounter: If it is known that you have worked Corporate, the first thing that is said, “This isn’t Corporate”. Well my response is always the same “the fundamentals are the same”. This entire means is, you do not want to do your job or you do not have
the knowledge. They just want to wing it and do not want change!  Does that mean you change? Hells no, remember:  you rub off on them and they will change.

BPI Security– Okay-from your perspective what are the top 3 things wrong with the industry today?

Money: Too much focus on the paper…don’t get me wrong, I want to get paid also. If you are worth your salt and you have a good rep, you will be compensated. Don’t chase the dollar and be a “money whore”.

Passion:  There is a lack of “Passion”! If you love what you do, then you want to be the best. And when you have the passion for
this job, believe me everyone from your team to your Principal will know.

Training: Every day we see individuals that come in this industry, and think all you got to do is “look cool and hard”. And it is not just Cops, its Military guys and regular civilians. Being a Cop or Military is totally different from being a “World Class Protective Specialist” (A phrase used by Thomas A. Taylor).  If these individuals are on your detail or employees of your company…YOU must encourage them to invest in themselves. If
not for themselves then for their team members. And if not for them, then for the Principal!  And if encouraging them doesn’t work then DEMAND they get vetted training. Remember, they are getting paid what you’re getting and they have no vetted training.

BPI Security-You reside in a state that is very competitive in this industry, how do you stay busy all the time?

Networking – Reputation – Being a Team Player – “Your word is your bond”

BPI Security-You are constantly putting together training courses for select persons to attend.  Most recently you hosted a course by Frank Proctor, that, by the way, I was invited to attend.  What drives you to do this and what is your selection process of the instructor and student cadre?

First we, and when I say we I mean “Valor Resource Group” wanted a Guest Instructor that mirrored what we are about regarding training. And Frank Proctor (http://www.wayofthegun.us/) was that and more. We felt that Mr. Proctor being a Professional that has “was there done that” had a lot to offer the Valor instructor cadre and the students to make them better at their craft. What we are striving to do is get those Professionals that carry a firearm for a living to see the importance of training and investing in themselves. For example, I read a quote from, Ken Hackathorn: “But, about 4% of cops practice on their own.” And if you depend on the agency to provide the training, you’re out of luck. In tough times, like now, training’s the first thing they cut. (http://www.thetacticalwire.com/features/226318)

We have to remember that we as protection are carrying these tools of the trade every day.  And every day around our Principals and their
families. And these types of classes are a good way to access potential agents and network.

BPI Security-Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you’d like to say?

Yes, I just want to stress the important of training and not just guns! Things like an etiquette course, Surveillance courses, EMT or languages.
Also, attend some of the conferences out there.  Invest in some great books out there for example: Dodging bullets by Thomas A. Taylor, Advance by David l. Johnson, Corporate Executive Protection by Christopher “Doc” Rogers.  There are so many good books out there… maybe one day ask the readers to suggest a book that has helped them in this profession. And last thing, Mentorship:

If we are successful in this industry, it is because you had a mentor/mentors! It is on us to mentor those that come into your circle. I know I would not be where I’m at without those that mentored and are still mentoring me. And reach out to those that you respect for advice. They will not steer you wrong. And yes, on many occasions I have called or emailed Eric for advice. It has been an honor and a pleasure to sit down and speak with you and your readers.

Here is the course Mustaffaa hosted and I missed:

1 comment

  1. Arinel Greene

    I am so impressed with the interview responses. As with anything that is important, we must be fully prepared and passionate about what we do. I can see from the interview, Mr. Mustafaa has dedicated himself to becoming the professional he is.
    I congratulate .him in his endeavors.

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