Prevent Advisors Adds EVP And Board Members
OVG’s security and counter-terrorism firm adds key players
- by Brad Weissberg
- Published: May 1, 2017
Prevent Advisors, Oak View Group’s (OVG) security and counter-terrorism consulting firm for the sports and entertainment industries, has added three highly respected veteran law enforcement and counter terrorism professionals to its roster of security experts.
United States Tennis Association's (USTA) Michael Rodriguez and ex-Secret Service agent Mark Camillo have joined the firm as board members; Michael Downing, former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) deputy chief and law enforcement and counter-terrorism expert, will serve as the company’s executive vice president of security. The new EVP and board members join founders Chris Robinette, CEO, and Ben Tolle, COO.
The addition of Camillo, Rodriguez and Downing to Prevent Advisors enhances a group that already includes former LAPD Chief and New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner, Bill Bratton, and Peter Luukko, executive chairman of the Florida Panthers.
Chris Robinette, Prevent Advisors, CEO.
“We live at the juncture of sports security and world class venues and, in addition to having Bill Bratton on the team, our philosophy for bringing in talent was to look at who had unique sets of experiences and could add value,” said Robinette. “First we added Peter Luukko, who is an industry leader. He’s built and operated hundreds of venues over the years and there’s no one who better understands the special challenges of venues than Peter. The additions of Mark, Mike and Michael is a tremendous honor and gives us unmatched depth and expertise in the worlds of law enforcement, counterterrorism and venue security.”
“We brought in Mike Rodriguez for his expertise in dealing with venue security on a day-to-day basis. Mark Camillo’s duties at the Secret Service and understanding of technology will be invaluable,” said Robinette. “Chief Downing’s 35 years of experience will help our architect security programs tailored for today’s unique threats to stadiums and arenas.”
Ben Tolle, Prevent Advisors, COO
“We’re living in a world where the threats to public safety are evolving in real time,” said Robinette. “Having this level of expertise and resources gives us the ability to create solutions and outcomes proactively.”
Discussions with Rodriguez and Camillo started in October 2016 and both officially joined the Prevent Advisor’s board last month. Downing started May 1.
Prior to his time with Prevent Advisors, Downing spent the majority of his career with the LAPD, rising quickly through the ranks to deputy chief of police over a 35-year tenure. He is considered a leading global expert in both public safety and counter-terrorism. Downing regularly works with the Department of Justice collaborating on projects around the world and serves as a fellow at the George Washington University Homeland Security Institute, Washington, D.C.
“After 35 years with the LAPD and the last 10 in counter-terrorism and special operation I recognize that government cannot do this job alone,” said Downing. "They do an outstanding job with hard targets, but as the terrorists move into soft targets, what I’m most interested in is orienting those targets to look at their vulnerabilities and how to reduce risk.”
“We’re looking at everything from small arms attacks to vehicle-ramming techniques, to vehicle bombs to cyber attacks,” he said. “This has been my background, and I think we can leverage that and build some resilience into targets in the entertainment business.”
Downing is particularly concerned with the advent of weaponized drones. “We have to be ahead of the game,” he said. “How to counter these attacks is something we are taking seriously.”
Rodriguez currently serves as director of security for the USTA and the US Open Tennis Championships. In addition to his over 20 years of sporting event security experience, Rodriguez has extensive operational experience addressing terrorism-related issues. Rodriguez also serves as co-chair for the Department of Homeland Security’s Sports Leagues Subsector Council. Rodriguez retired as a detective-sergeant after serving 23 years with the NYPD. He served as a supervisor in the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) directly involved with majjor international and domestic terrorism investigations where he was instrumental in the investigations of 9/11; The East African Embassy Bombings; The Bombing of the USS Cole; and The Anthrax Attack at NBC in New York City.
Rodriguez said that he is bringing 15 years of know-how at the US Open with him. “There’s a lot of commonality between that experience and what Chris and Ben are doing at Prevent Advisors,” said Rodriguez. “One of the things we are high on is looking at how intelligence relates to protecting facilities and how things have changed in the last two years.”
Rodriguez pointed to the April 11 bombing of a bus in Germany that was carrying a soccer team. “By studying the intelligence around that, we can look at risk-mitigation for something similar happening at a facility here.”
Camillo began his career in law enforcement as a special agent in the U.S. Secret Service where he completed a 21-year career that included three separate assignments at the White House. Camillo continued his advancement in the Secret Service being appointed to the position of deputy assistant director and chief technology officer. Camillo held several key positions during his career in major event planning, most notably the Olympic coordinator for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. Camillo currently serves on Contemporary Services Corporation's (CSC) senior management team and also serves as an appointed member of the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) Global Terrorism/International Crime Council. Camillo’s academic engagements include serving as a distinguished lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City.
“I come to Prevent Advisors after serving 21 years in the Secret Service and then transitioning to the event security industry,” said Camillo. “This is about creating a new standard for our industry and one that is precisely optimized to keep people safe.”
“The majority of the venues are privately owned and operate with minimal regulations,” said Camillo. “This is the environment we work in. There is an expectation that the guests are in a safe environment and we have to make that happen.”
Camillo also stressed that everything they do at Prevent Advisors has to balance safety, security and access, and that they have to constantly keep “the guest experience at the forefront.”
Prevent Advisors currently advises the 24 members of OVG’s Arena Alliance. “They are the incubator for a best practices development pool,” explained Robinette. “They are the first to benefit.”
Services are also available to non-Alliance venues. Robinette said that the company currently has a number of non-Alliance sports and entertainment venues onboard, plus additional clients outside sports and entertainment such as commercial real estate holding properties.
Prevent Advisors tailors a program that is specific to each client. “We look at the environment and the threat profile for where the venue is located,” he said. “There are common threats to all venues but every client gets a customized solution outcome built specifically for them.”
Robinette said that Prevent Advisors is currently exploring additional board members as they move to other public assembly spaces such as malls and hospitality groups.
“What we’re trying to do is architect a series of solutions which are an extension of, and partner to, the venues,” he said. “We are looking out and beyond for new threats and identifying new solutions so the venue staff can stay focused on day-to-day operations and security. This is very much a partnership.”
- by Brad Weissberg
- Published: May 1, 2017