Protecting The Legacy of World Changers…
During a recent staff meeting, the subject of who are guest would be on Living Vertikal Radio the following Wednesday evening. The program coordinator said, “CEO Terry Brown of Armor Bearer Protective Services! Whoa, Powerful! Was the consensus around the table. Usually, in these meetings, we are thinking of our promotion tag line. What immediately came to mind was, “Protecting The Legacy of World Changers!” When you read about CEO Terry Brown and hear the radio interview you will understand why.
With an A+ Team, Armor Bearer offers protective services in the areas of Threat Assessment, Personal Protection, and Residential Protection for clients worldwide. The demand for personal protective services has increased with rising crime rates, and cyber attacks the protection of assets, and family becomes more important.
No longer the sole domain of celebrities and the super-rich, in fact, what comes as a surprise is the variety of people who take advantage of protective services. CEO Terry Brown offers a service in demand with Armor Bearer Protective Services.
Growing up on the Westside’s University District area of Detroit, Michigan, Terry Brown quickly learned the importance of integrity, work ethic, and loyalty. His mother, Joyce, and father, Kenneth, were instrumental in the formation and development of these values, while the working-class community he grew up in prepared him for life beyond the confines of Detroit.
With integrity, work ethic, and loyalty shepherding his personal evolution, Terry double-downed on that momentum to drive his professional ambitions and fulfill his purpose of protecting, defending, and fighting for others. Terry was born and raised to “fight the good fight.”
Today, Terry’s company, Armor Bearer Protective Services, protects the lives and assets of the number one Venture Capital firm and the number one entertainment star in the world.
Terry’s relationship with Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz began organically in 1998 as the only agent responsible for their personal security. As those two icons have grown individually and as a team, Terry and Armor Bearer have been and continue to be right by their side as Andreessen-Horowtiz enters a new era with their company.
Developing organic relationships comes naturally to Terry. In 2009, one of these relationships led to a last-minute, one-time opportunity to protect a young comedian at a comedy show and red-carpet event. From the outset, Kevin Hart was impressed with Terry’s professional demeanor, dependability, and commitment. Eleven years later, Terry remains by Mr. Hart’s side through thick, through thin, and through it all. Terry applies this dedication and commitment to serve all our clients at Armor Bearer Protective Services.
From Detroit to East Palo Alto, to Menlo Park, to Los Angeles, to all points in between and abroad, Terry Brown is known in the personal protection industry as anyone else (being 6’4”/235 pounds don’t hurt). Yet, it isn’t Terry’s physical stature that separates him from the pack.
What is the one thing your parents taught you that still gives you strength?
My mom & dad were very good parents and supportive parents, and I took different things from them individually. My mom always preached among other things, be honest, and do the right thing. My dad taught me to look a man in his eyes, be confident, stand tall, and fight for what you believe. He also taught me to be proud of the last name and don’t screw it up! Both, I learned to develop a healthy work ethic. I saw both of them go to work every day and they didn’t make excuses. I seriously don’t ever remember them taking a day off!! In fact, Proverbs 12:24 teaches us…Work hard and become a Leader, Be lazy, and never succeed. (failure). I draw two conclusions from this passage: Leaders work hard, and Successful people are never lazy.
What values and work ethics have you instilled in your children?
Pretty much the same as I was taught. Of course, there are generational differences and gender distinctions, because I have a daughter and a son. That being said, my daughter, I wanted her to simply be a lady, but a strong, independent woman to never rely on a man and be a self-thinker, but certainly wanted her to find love. My son, I wanted him to be strong, confident, fight for what he believes in as well…with a caveat, for him to use his intellect. I also wanted them to put God first in their lives. Having God as their belief system, I know they’ll be alright and that’s the ultimate gift I could give them as a parent.
How do you stay grounded considering the hours and days you may be working?
In the age of technology, I can stay in touch with my loved ones much easier than we could when I was younger. I remember the letter-writing days when it would take a week to get a letter, another day or two to respond to the letter, and another week before the originator would get back the responding letter. So, you’re looking at, at minimum, two weeks. So, I stay grounded by talking to my wife daily, if I can and my kids and grandkids, at least once a week. Friends, I have to get better at. My team, I have to talk to daily because some things are time-sensitive, and quite honestly if I don’t respond in a timely fashion, or not as accessible as I need to be, I’m going to hear from it, especially from my COO, Will Goldsborough. Our interchanges are dynamic & legendary, we’re like competitive brothers. It’s great because we challenge one another.
What is your Kryptonite and how do you overcome it?
Time. There never seems to be enough of it. I wish I could bottle it and keep it for myself!! In my business, your time isn’t your own. You’re not in control. You’re at the whim of your client and their schedules. When your client moves, you move. So, things like, lunch, dinner, seeing an old friend, shopping, a movie, working out…I don’t indulge, but I’m ok with it because it goes with the territory. No complaints! It’s the type of industry that requires your being dependable. The client has to trust that you will always be there, ready, willing, and certainly able.
What have you taught family or friends in regard to protection?
Pay attention to your instincts!!! In today’s culture, everyone is quick to want to purchase a firearm because they view that as their safety blanket, but the problem with that is in a crisis situation, you’re going to revert to your level of training…or lack thereof, and there have been many incidents where the gun owner’s firearm had been turned and used against them because they weren’t prepared AND they weren’t prepared because they lacked the proper consistent training.
What is the driving philosophy behind Armor Bearer Protection Services?
We’re pretty fortunate in our ability to select the right clients. We are a boutique personal protection firm. So much like our clients doing their due diligence in selecting the right security practitioner, likewise, it behooves us to be selective in our clients.
We protect clients at the top of their game, therefore and equally we must be at the top of ours. The only way to do that is to set your standards high, have high expectations, and be accountable within our protective teams. We always have room for improvement because people, laws, technology, circumstances change. We always have to stay ahead of it by our hiring practices, our evaluation process, our empowerment, and leadership strategies. And even then, make sure these standards and philosophies are living and breathing programs to accommodate the change.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have had to consult with a client about maintaining the plan of protection?
I’ve been doing this discipline for more than 20 years. I’m a consultant. My job is to provide my clients with information to keep them safe and secure. My clients, typically, are very intelligent people and will take what I say and make an informed decision. Over the years, there have been instances where they considered my advice but ultimately chose to follow their own instincts and I had to adapt or be flexible in what was to follow. In this business, much like when I was in law enforcement, you have to be flexible. I learned that way back in the academy. It’s not personal and it shouldn’t be taken as such. More often than not, my clients have followed my advice, but that is built on time and trust.
Your thoughts on what is happening with the police force today?
Aside from the small minority of criminals that wear the uniform, much like sheep in wolves clothing, there are honest, service-oriented, and brave men and women who serve and protect our communities with honor. The other is only a small percentage. I see five (5) issues that could be changed/implemented promptly:
- Law enforcement, whether they own up and admit it, there is a legacy of systemic racism. You see it in there hiring practices where I use to hear often, “we can’t find qualified blacks or Hispanics”. Well, what’s qualified? Are you looking for individuals that are angels? No life experiences or minor adolescent mistakes? Are you judging white recruits by the same standards or differently than Black recruits? I venture to say yes.
- The second is in the promotional process. Black officers are promoted disproportionally than that of white officers. Even the best or high-profile jobs go to the white officers and not black officers. High-profile positions are valuable because they typically lead to promotions.
- Police Reform: It has to start with ownership, accountability, and transparency at all levels. Body cameras – there should be legislature to make it a crime for officers who turn off their body cameras & audio. De-escalation of force training and policies at all levels, Fed, State, County & City should be implemented immediately.
- Removing the investigations of all police misconduct complaints out the hands of the agencies and into the hands of a private, yet public organization. At all levels! This is the beginning of transparency and hopefully accountability. This is one way to eliminate bad cops. Certainly, people who don’t want to serve in a community that doesn’t necessarily look like them.
- All police murder investigations should be tried at the Federal level to remove the bias that comes with the prosecution of friends and associates.
What do you want your legacy to be in terms of your business and life?
Personally, I’m on the journey, or that ship of trying to make a difference, affect change. Now that might mean something different to different people. I want my life to mean something. I want to be remembered as a person, a man who stood up for people who couldn’t stand for themselves. That I was a kind and a giving man who cared about people. That I was a good husband and a good father, a good brother, uncle, son, and friend.
I want the legacy we’re building at Armor Bearer Protective Services, to live on beyond my lifetime. I want our company to be home to those who want to affect change for humanity. I want us to be an agent for change.
What do you do outside of armor-bearer that strengthens your body, mind, and soul?
I love to train, workout! It’s been a great remedy for reducing stress. I’ve been in this business, both in the public and private sectors for nearly 35 years!! I’ve been exposed to some of the most horrific things you can imagine in this lifetime. I never brought it home. And by the way, we’re taught to deal, or solve the problems of others, yet ignore your own.
I have a great support system in my family. We have these wonderful, funny, and enlightening interactions. And my grandchildren…there’s nothing like being a grandparent!! Additionally, I’m a Christian, so I try to pray every day. I fall short of course, but I try to live a faithful and purposeful life.
What books are you reading now or on your list and why?
I’m currently reading Dr. Todd Boyd’s book, The New HNIC & James Patterson’s Target, an Alex Cross saga book. For years I’ve read nothing but industry-related books. I believe we should be a student of our industry. So now, I’m trying to read for pleasure. I picked Dr. Boyd’s book because I’m a fan of his and Michael Eric Dyson. I resonate with them. I identify with them because, like me, they grew up in Detroit in relatively the same time frame as I. Also, back to working out, my distance run days, I’m listening to Kevin’s (Kevin Hart) audiobook, The Decision. I’m listening to his book because I support ALL my clients in what they put out, whether a service or product, and Kevin is genuinely interested in helping people by being positive.
What would you advise a young entrepreneur about building a business?
One of my favorite quotes was made by former 1st lady, Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “Do not let anyone tell you no, who don’t have the ability to tell you yes.” No one can champion your vision or dream better than you. Bet on yourself! Also, the entrepreneur game is a game of consistency and longevity. Do the small things consistently and master them!
Hear our interview with CEO Terry Brown
Terry Brown, Thank you from the Vertikal Family
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