Ex serviceman Troy Claydon tells Jonathan Jackson about the correlation between Airforce disciplines and how his business Panoptic Solutions is meeting the security needs of vulnerable businesses and individuals.
The harsh, military environment has been a breeding ground for many entrepreneurs. As Bill Murphy Jnr says in an article for Inc. Magazine, “veterans bring amazing advantages to the entrepreneurial game – things like discipline, perspective, leadership ability, and the learned skill of seeing problems as opportunities – to say nothing of having accomplished ambitious goals with the weight of a gigantic bureaucracy on their backs.”
Troy Claydon is no exception and has built an exceptional business on the back of his military training. Claydon spent 14 years with the Royal Australian Airforce as an Airfield Defence Guard (RAAF Security and Ground Forces).
“During my military service I completed the Australian Army’s Military Police Close Personal Protection Course (Military Body Guard training) and deployed Operationally to Dili, East Timor with our unit,” Claydon says.
This experience provided near-perfect grounding for a tilt at business. However, if there is one more lesson the military teaches it is to be thorough in preparation.
Claydon had been thinking about starting his own business during his time in the Airforce, but before he made any attempt he would make sure that he had all his ducks in a row.
This meant a further four years as a Private Security Operator working in Iraq, providing personal protection and ultimately operational oversight to construction project managers, journalists, DOD personnel and communications project personnel. He then spent a further six years as an on-road Paramedic with the Queensland Ambulance Service. This combined with his training in South Africa at the internationally renowned RONIN gave him the skillset he required to start his own business.
“RONIN was my first real exposure to realistic and relevant medical training for working within a hostile environment. This training ended up being an invaluable skill, which I took back to Iraq. From that point on, I was much more confident in situations requiring medical treatments.”
Panoptic was founded in 2012 after Claydon identified a shortfall in the security services for professional companies.
“After completing RONIN and working in the Middle East I saw a great advantage to having two capabilities integrate together,” Claydon says. “I wanted Panoptic to be more than just a security company, but rather a business that could also offer health solutions.”
The word Panoptic means all encompassing. It was a well-thought out name for a business that traverses the world and offers a complete form of protection that includes physical safety, health and security.
In its short existence it has become trusted by some of the most influential organizations and individuals in the world to prepare contingency plans for potentially high-risk situations.
“In the early days I was still working on the road as a Paramedic, attempting to build a business and deliver professional services to our clients,” Claydon says. “Initially I was augmenting security teams by myself, however, as the combination of security and medical support was recognized as an advantage I was able to bring on more personnel. I was also taking small jobs providing medical support to events. I started with a single 4×4 vehicle that I outfitted with advanced medical equipment including a defibrillator, ECG Monitor, oxygen and trauma stores. Our event medical capability has now grown to provide support on a national basis with multiple vehicles and contractors. The personal protection, travel health, safety and security capability has also grown to include a core group of managers with contractors both domestically and internationally. I knew that the product we had was a great one and it was all about getting in front of the key decision makers to inform them of what we are able to offer.”
That combination of security and medical support is what makes Panoptic unique.
“When clients contract the services of a bodyguard or a protection detail there is an automatic assumption that the bodyguard will ward off any harm, this is not always the case. There is always a chance that some harm may come to the principle no matter how much planning or protection is in place. This may not be the cause of an attack, it may be from a motor accident i.e. Princess Diana, it may be from a simple fall at a public event, (think Madonna’s recent fall off stage) or it may be while conducting physical exercise and exerting oneself i.e. chest pain. Having a bodyguard or close protection operator who has three black belts or is an expert marksman is all well and good, however, this won’t help when there is a critical medical incident. Furthermore the care we provide extends not only to the principle, but also their family members including children. We have had need to treat family members with Asthma and one who was having an allergic reaction. First aid training only goes so far and when working overseas or in remote regions advanced health care is not always available within a suitable timeframe. Having a highly trained Executive Protection Paramedic provides real time instant medical response while ensuring safety and security. At the end of the day, we provide a holistic approach to safety and security and peace of mind for clients.”
The business grew through a combination of word of mouth and a small amount of marketing. So much so that Panoptic has been employed to look after families and businesses in relation to events as large as the London Olympics.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to work with a multinational team made up of US and UK security professionals for a HNW family over multiple locations across England. Panoptic Solutions was not the lead contractor on this, but rather augmented the team with both security and medical support. I believe that it was the security team who was required to adapt more than the actual family. We had to become familiar with routes, venues and train the drivers who were allocated to us. The entire team worked in unison and provided a seamless delivery to the principle.”
Working in foreign environments isn’t easy. Each region has its own complexities, including cultural and language barriers, as well as legal differences. The Panoptic team researches each environment it goes into to ensure that their preparation is watertight.
This attention to detail has attracted clients including Fortune 500 companies, top executives and High Net Worth Individuals, who feel they are in reliable hands. This is testimony to the way Claydon has built the business and a reflection of his own thorough approach to life and business.
Claydon now has his sights set on South East Asia expansion as well as being the go-to security service for high net worth individuals and corporate organizations.
“I am interested in steady and sustainable growth where we can provide full time employment for a large team of professionals over multiple locations,” Claydon says.
Meanwhile Claydon wants to expand Panoptic to the point where he can draw back and have his management team run the daily operations, with Troy providing the strategic leadership.
No doubt, this will be done with military precision.