When YOU have attended EPI’s (Executive Protection Institute) world renowned seven-day program the networking opportunities are all around you if you take time to take advantage of it. Don’t stop training, attending seminars, and EP social events. Many employment assignments come about because of personal relationships developed over time. During the seven-day program you will be partnered with other students from around the globe. You can learn from the real-life experiences of professionals from entry level attendees to 20+ year professionals. It is amazing how a small 20-minute conversation can lead to a lifelong friendship and make connections to new professional experiences and long-term friendships.
As a security professional on the other side of my career, I would like to share parts of my professional journey with you. I thank Nine-Lives members and my time with EPI for contributing to my career and providing the long-term relationships I will forever be thankful for in my life. Don’t underestimate the power of networking.
My EPI experience began after I spent 7 months in Iraq on a department of the state contract. During that time, I began to get acquainted with other contractors while I was there. I remember, one night, at 0300 while out on a mission, one of the team members began talking about what we would do when the contract was over. As the time passed, he talked about some training he had attended and thought it might be something that would help me advance in my career back home.
When I returned home, it was difficult to find employment. While our people were grateful for those who were helping protect our country, they weren’t as open to hiring those who were doing the work. However, thanks to my network, I was able to find a job as a corporate security officer for a leading financial group. After a short time, I was offered an opportunity to attend the seven-day training program with EPI. The training program was nearly 100 hours of classroom and practical exercises that were both mentally and physically challenging. It is something I have never forgotten and has continued to be useful in several professional opportunities over the years. What made it even more memorable is that my son, and my best friend’s son went through it with me. My best friend is also a graduate of EPI.
The connections I made in EPI have led to other professional relationships that ultimately provided me with new opportunities. I was able to serve as a security advisor to a top 10 Fortune 500 company, protected leaders of businesses globally, and be part of security details that most only dream of doing. One of my most rewarding experiences was being part of the Western and Southern Open Tennis Tournament in Cincinnati. I started off serving as part of the player security for over eighty-two tennis professionals and moved into the Director role. Over the years, I trained other young professionals to serve in the role as was done with me, and I officially passed the torch to the next in command last year.
I contribute all my successes in life to those who helped lead me. I have gained knowledge and wisdom from so many over time. I only hope I have been able to pass along that to others.
The following list is only a fraction of the individuals who have made an impact on me over time from EPI and beyond.
- Dr. Kobetz
- Jim and Josh Burdick
- Chad Wylie (my son)
- Ken Wheatley
- Brian Leak
- Jerry Heying
- Gene Ferrara
- Tony and Ana Alfonso
- Jessica Ansley
- John Musser
- Jeff Burson
- Greg Schnell
- Matt Warken
- Karen Patterson
- John Rogers
- Harry Mundy
- Jonathan Havens
Don’t take for granted the power of a conversation, the opportunities of learning new skills, being a lifelong learner and embracing the relationships you develop. Those connections will serve you a lifetime if you allow it to happen. Spend time nourishing those connections and thank those who have made an impact in your life. Just for the record, this was my way of showing my appreciation for all these individuals did for me in my lifetime. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without them!
Michael Wylie is an Executive Protection Institute graduate of class 58, a member of the EPI faculty, and a member of the Nine Lives Associates.