Posts Tagged G4s

Africa: LAPSSET–A Massive Oil Project That Is Gaining The Attention Of PMSC’s

G4S said it was looking at oil and gas based prospects in countries like Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and South Sudan, where a huge oil pipeline could be built through Kenya to a port there in order to bypass bitter disputes with neighbouring Sudan.
High potential mining opportunities are also in countries such as Botswana, Ghana, Namibia and Tanzania.
The company expects to move into Ethiopia, Libya, Somaliland and South Sudan in the next year…-Interview

…To reduce its reliance on Khartoum, the South Sudanese government has announced a 2,000 km pipeline, at a cost of $3bn, through Kenya to its port of Lamu. G4S is one of the companies vying to help secure this vital source of South Sudanese revenue… -separate source–see below

I had picked up on this project through some stories I was reading in regards to the future of this industry. That the companies are looking for business in resource rich Africa, and much of that business revolves around energy related projects.

This particular project grabbed my attention, just because of how ambitious it is and how involved the security for it would be.  Because once this is up and running, all aspects of LAPSSET will be a big target for criminals and terrorists. Especially the 2000 km of pipeline they plan on building.

So this should require the services of multiple PMSC’s to help in all aspects of securing this thing. I also imagine that some kind of oil police apparatus will have to be established, which will then require training facilities with instructors. We will see how it goes, and if any readers have any other details about this massive project, feel free to comment below. –Matt



Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor
The Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) aka The Lamu corridor is a transport and infrastructure project in Kenya that when complete will be the country’s second transport corridor. Kenya’s other transport corridor is the Mombasa port and Mombasa – Uganda transport corridor that passes through Nairobi and much of the Northern Rift.
The project will involve the following components:
-A port at Manda Bay
-Standard gauge railway line to Juba (capital of South Sudan)
-Road network
-Oil pipelines (Southern Sudan and Ethiopia)
-Oil refinery at Bargoni
-Three Airports
-Three resort cities (Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana shores)
The project was initially conceived in 1975 but never took off due to various reasons. The project was later revived and included in Kenya’s Vision 2030. LAPSSET cost was estimated to cost $ 16 Billion in 2009. Recent estimates arrived after studies now put the cost of the project at between US $ 22 Billion and US $ 23 Billion.
The timeline of the project is not clear including when it started and when it should be finished. Some projects like the Isiolo-Merille projects began in 2007. At the peak of the project, between 2013 and 2018, it is expected that the Kenyan government will be spending about 6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product or 16% of its annual budget on the project. The project is in turn expected to contribute an additional 3% increase in Kenya’s GDP by 2020.
Key towns in the project are Lamu & Isiolo in Kenya, Juba in Southern Sudan and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
Wikipedia for LAPSSET here.
Lamu port project launched for South Sudan and Ethiopia

March 02, 2012
There have been protests against the port by some environmentalists and residents of Lamu island
Construction has begun on a $23bn (£14.5bn) port project and oil refinery in south-eastern Kenya’s coastal Lamu region near war-torn Somalia’s border.
An oil pipeline, railway and motorway will also be built linking Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Newly independent South Sudan plans to use Lamu as its main oil export outlet.
A BBC reporter says security concerns for the project may explain the presence of Ethiopian and Kenyan troops in Somalia aiming to pacify the region.
‘Biggest African project’
Kenya’s leader Mwai Kibaki launched the project along with his South Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts, Salva Kiir and Meles Zenawi respectively.
“I have no doubt that this day will go down in history as one of the defining moments – when we made a major stride to connect our people to the many socio-economic opportunities that lie ahead,” AFP news agency quotes Mr Kibaki as saying at the inauguration ceremony.
Known as Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), it is expected to be completed within four years with initial costs coming from the three governments and plans to attract international investment.
Steven Ikuwa, the administrator in charge of Lapsset, told the BBC the scale of the plans was huge.
“I am proud to say this is one of the biggest projects that we are carrying out in Africa.”
The BBC’s Noel Mwakugu in Lamu says there are worries about the impact of the project on Lamu district, which is one of East Africa’s most beautiful and relatively unspoiled environments along the Indian Ocean and includes a cultural heritage site on Lamu Island.
“Lamu is a living heritage. Already Unesco has declared Lamu a World Heritage Site – as an endangered site,” Mualimu Badi from the Save Lamu group told the BBC.
“If 500,000 people come to work as workers, we stand to lose that status.”
Mr Badi also said local residents fear they would be made homeless by the project as most people in the area are unable to prove their right to live in their homes.
In response to these complaints, Mr Kibaki has announced that residents will be issued with land title deeds and his administration will provide training for 1,000 young people to prepare for future opportunities presented by the port.
Oil export alternatives
Our correspondent says Lamu’s 32-berth port will be five times larger than Kenya’s only other Indian Ocean port, Mombasa – which has been struggling to serve the needs of landlocked countries to the south and west of Kenya.

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Industry Talk: US Nuclear Site Ends Contract With G4S/WSI Oak Ridge

Wow, another hit to G4S and WSI. Look folks, I hate writing about these things because I truly want companies to be successful and be shining examples of what is good in this industry. But not everyone can be the Swiss Guards of the industry, and there will always be companies that ‘just don’t get it’.

But I also think it is important to not reward incompetence and poor management. That we need to be reminded what the consequence of poor leadership is from time to time, hence why I post this stuff. So either G4S and WSI learns from this and makes corrections to the way they do business, or they will continue to lose contracts and money. And we should all learn from this, and ensure we are doing everything we can to continuously improve our contract and providing the necessary service that our clients need and demand.  Especially if your client is asking you to protect nuclear materials…..yikes.

Every one of these incidents over the years usually involved one of two things. Either poorly constructed/poorly funded contracts, or poor leadership/management tasked with running these contracts. Sometimes poor leaders are the result of a lack of funding for salaries–you pay peanuts, you get monkies. Or sometimes even with a substantial salary, a poor leader is chosen because of a poor vetting process, which is even worse. That a company has no idea what a good leader is, or they just don’t care.

It is also amazing to me that companies make millions of dollars on contracts like this, but they put minimal effort if any into finding good leaders or training up good leaders or putting together policies that grow good leaders within the company. It is an investment that is essential, and glaringly obvious, and yet PMSC’s continue to screw this up.

I mean McDonalds and it’s Hamburger University does a better job of training and growing leaders within their organization than most of today’s PMSC’s. lol And now G4S, the largest security company in the world, is learning this lesson in a very direct and financially painful way. –Matt


US nuclear site ends security contract following nun’s break-in
Sat, Sep 29 2012
By Timothy Gardner
The U.S. government’s “Fort Knox” of weapons-grade uranium storage has ended a contract with a unit of an international security firm two months after an 82-year-old nun and other nuclear activists broke into the site.
The managing contractor at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site, B&W Y-12, a unit of Babcock & Wilcox Co, said late on Friday it will terminate the contract with WSI Oak Ridge on Oct. 1. WSI is owned by security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at this year’s London Olympic Games.
The move came after the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an Energy Department agency, sent a letter on Friday to B&W Y-12 President Charles Spencer saying it had “grave concerns” about his company and WSI providing security at Y-12, the nation’s only site for storing and processing weapons-grade uranium.
The letter recommended that B&W terminate the subcontract with WSI and work with it to take over security operations after the July 28 break-in.

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Industry Talk: G4S-Wackenhut Replaces Leadership At Y-12 Nuclear Plant After Protesters Broke In

The hits keep coming on G4S…. Wackenhut is a G4S owned company and are currently guarding this nuclear plant in Tennessee. Over the years, this particular contract has had some issues. For example, guards falling asleep on the job–which is particularly troubling when talking about securing a nuclear facility.

But this incident is not cool at all. This is what guards get paid for, their bread and butter, and that is to prevent folks from compromising the security of the facility they are guarding. How embarrassing, and especially since these protesters included an 82 year old nun in their force? lol  Just imagine if these protesters were terrorists, and this embarrassing act would have instead turned into a major national security incident.

I have also heard from former guards on this contract that DoE and the government is partly responsible as well. That funding for security upgrades has been turned down because of budget issues. That and the government more than likely went with the lowest bidder for this contract.  Although I am not privy to how it was determined that WSI got the contract, or what the contracting mechanism was. My guess would be LPTA or lowest bidder which is standard for the government and how they do business.

The other point here is that the government must do more to get a better value for the money spent. To actually act like a consumer who wants the best service they can get, and acts accordingly when they do not get the service that the contract stipulates. To fire companies who do poorly and replace them with companies that actually care about doing a good job. It is the strength of private industry, and yet government does a horrible job of taking advantage of this.

Perhaps we can also learn a few things from Bruce Power security, and the contracts that they have put together there? Who knows, and I am sure WSI is doing all they can for damage control and getting this contract squared away. –Matt


New security leaders at Tenn nuclear weapons plant; protesters broke into high-security area
August 8, 2012
The security contractor at a Tennessee plant that stores the nation’s supply of weapons-grade uranium has replaced its general manager almost two weeks after three protesters, including an 82-year-old nun, got into a high-security area.
Security firm WSI Oak Ridge confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel Wednesday that Steven C. Hafner is taking over the position from Lee Brooks.
Protesters on July 28 were found hanging banners in the dark, singing and offering to break bread with the security guards at Y-12 Oak Ridge National Security Complex in Knoxville. An affidavit said that before security guards apprehended them, they spray-painted the building with protest slogans and threw blood on it. They were arrested and officials say all nuclear materials are safe.
Afterward, security contractor WSI said it was looking at its procedures and it removed Brooks and Y-12 Protective Force director Gary Brandon from their posts. WSI named John Garrity to replace Brandon. Brooks and Brandon are awaiting reassignments by G4S Government Solutions, the parent company of WSI.
The newspaper reported that the halt to nuclear operations at the plant was still in effect. The plant originally said the stand-down was expected to be lifted by this week and that security personnel would undergo training and refresher instruction.

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Funny Stuff: The G4S Power Ballad!!–Securing Your World, By Jon Christopher Davis

This is hilarious. In my alerts, this just popped up and I had to share. Although if you listen to the words, I kind of doubt that the message had time to sink in with the G4S managers tasked with running the Olympics contract. lol –Matt



Check out the album here.


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Leadership: Curing CEO-itis And Gaining Fingerspitzengefühl

This is a great article. Professor Michael Roberto gave the heads up about this article and I instantly thought this would be some good stuff for leaders of all levels to check out. It is also some good advice for how management/leaders can gain Fingerspitzengefühl or a ‘finger tip feel’ for what is going on within their company or unit. Below is a quick background on the German term and I think it fits well with what is talked about in the article.

Fingerspitzengefühl is a German term, literally meaning “finger tips feeling” and meaning intuitive flair or instinct, which has been appropriated by the English language as a loanword. In German, it describes a great situational awareness, and the ability to respond most appropriately and tactfully. It can be applied well to diplomats, bearers of bad news, or to describe a superior ability respond to an escalated situation.
The word is enjoying a second life in the English language in military terminology, where it is used for the stated ability of some military commanders, such as Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel, to maintain with great accuracy in attention to detail an ever-changing operational and tactical situation by maintaining a mental map of the battlefield. In this sense the term is synonymous with the English expression of “keeping one’s finger on the pulse”. The mental image given is of a military commander who is in such intimate communication with the battlefield that it is as though he has a fingertip on each critical point, expressed in the 18th and 19th centuries as “having a feel for combat”. -from Wikipedia

I also agree entirely with Professor Roberto’s commentary on the article. That these are some concepts that leaders should be practicing in their formative years so that it becomes ingrained into their psyche and leadership style. Perhaps one day a reader here, that has taken these concepts to heart, will apply them to their command as a CEO of a company? Here is Roberto’s quote:

 I think it’s a terrific list.  Moreover, I think it applies to managers at all levels of an organization, not just at the CEO position.   Front-line managers should also cultivate an objective sounding board, encourage dissent, and surround themselves with talented subordinates.   In fact, if people engage in these practices early in their managerial career, they may be less likely to catch CEO disease if and when they rise to the top.

What also came to mind as I read through this thing is that the CEO of G4S, Nick Buckles, was probably the victim of some of this CEO-itis, or basically was lacking in any kind of finger tip feel for what was going on with their London Olympics security contract. The end result has been disastrous for him and the company, and it is still ongoing.

So here are the main concepts, and I will add some points to them that are relevant to this industry. Also note how many of these tie into the concepts listed under Jundism.

#1 Surround yourself with highly capable lieutenants.

This one is commonsense and you always want to bring folks into your decision making team that are smart and capable. But you also want honest folks who will give you the straight scoop. You do not want a team of ‘yes men’ who will never say no or fear giving their advice or opinion. You do not want clones of yourself either just because then you get situations within a team that leads to confirmation bias or group think. So pick your lieutenants wisely, and that goes from the shift leader looking for an assistant shift leader, all the way up to CEO’s of companies looking for a management team.

#2 Encourage dissent, discourage sycophants.

This one is great, and ties in well with #1 . You want folks who will be honest with you and genuinely care about the success of the company or the mission. You do not want yes men or folks willing to step all over others in order to get to a position– that has your ear. The CEO should ‘trust, but verify’ the quality of their management team. They should actively seek feedback and treat that as gold.

Those who are willing to dissent should be heard, and leaders should have respect for those individuals that actually came forward with an issue. A leader should interpret that as someone who cares enough about the company to actually step forward with a way to make it better.(the courage to do what is right) A leader should not look at that as a threat, or be driven by ego to the point where only they come up with the ‘good ideas’. Good ideas or warnings about issues in the company can come from anywhere and anyone, and it is up to the leaders to make sure they are listening and keeping open to that.

This definitely applies to shift leaders and small unit leaders. You should encourage folks to come forward with better ideas, and actually act on those ideas. (People will support what they help to create), so let them help to create a great team so they can feel  part of the process.

#3 Regularly admit and fix your mistakes.

No one likes dishonesty and no one likes folks that do not admit to when they screw up. Take ownership of your mistakes and then fix them–and learn from them. (Continuously improve)  yourself and the company, and don’t sweep this stuff under the carpet.

As a shift leader or project manager, this rule is very important. If you want folks to come up to you and admit some crucial error, then you as the leader must (lead by example) and show by your actions what that means. This process will allow for honesty to surface, which then leads to getting a better feel for what is going on with your contract or the company.

I imagine with this G4S deal, folks were not willing to admit to mistakes at some point along the line. Because if the CEO of the company only found out about the condition of a poorly run high profile contract like this, only days before the media found out and blew it up, then that says to me that some folks were not keeping upper management in the loop. Or upper management was told, but no one wanted to pass it on. Probably so that their leader(s) they were sucking up to would get the impression that all is well and they are ‘on top of it’. pffffft. In the end, not saying something about it or acknowledging that there was a problem, has led to an even bigger problem.

#4  Treat every employee with respect.

This is a no-brainer as well, but CEO’s all the way down to Project Managers seem to screw this one up. Especially in this industry. Our group is filled with Type A personalities who sometimes think it is appropriate to demand the same respect they got when they were in the military or police or wherever. Actions speak louder than words, and in this industry, it is not about what you used to be, but what you are right now.

Private industry also requires a different type of leadership than what was required in the military or police. When PM’s or others fail to shift gears and recognize this new reality, they quickly learn the errors of their ways. Especially when contractors make the mass exodus from a contract because they were poorly treated or disrespected. Remember, at will contracts go both ways, and contractors will just leave. There is no law requiring folks to sit there and take that kind of abuse.

The other one that project managers especially screw up is ‘leadership by email’. If you are thousands of miles away and sending out emails to folks on contracts, and you have not paid special attention as to what is said in those emails, then PM’s can do massive damage.  They can be insensitive to the particulars of those who are fulfilling the contract in some war zone, they can sound gruff and out of touch, they can actually offend by saying the wrong things, etc. It all leads to the one thing, and that is having respect for those that you are leading out there. If you cannot show that respect in person in that war zone, then at the very least you should work hard to show respect in your emails as you sit in the comfort of your office.

Besides, those emails are permanent records of communications.  If a disgruntled contractor had received a horrible letter filled with disrespectful items, then that thing could be used in future actions against that sender or the company. Or if a leader wrote an email while they were drunk or during a really stressful time period in their life, then like a bullet leaving a gun, that email is effectively doing damage. It does it’s damage well after it was sent and could passed around all over the place. Subordinates will show others these emails, and have proof of how little the company cares or how horrible a leader is. So sending nasty-grams like that are incredibly damaging to a program and the culture of a company.  Don’t do it, and always watch what you say when you communicate with subordinates.

Treat them with the same respect as if you were face to face with them, and use positive reinforcement versus the negative. And don’t lie or keep folks in the dark, because that can be damaging as well. Especially if folks find out through other means that a leader has purposely done those things.

#5 Find an objective sounding board outside the office.

This last one is a good one. Find someone or a group that will keep you grounded. On contracts, it could be a loved one or a friend(s) you talk with via skype. Or if the job is at home, then maybe you have a group you can connect with that is outside of your gig.

Or, if you are on a contract, then find someone there that you can confide in and talk openly. In the military they call this a battle buddy, and not only are they important for watching your back in a war zone, but they are very helpful for when you need to vent about stuff on the contract and mission. Especially if you are a shift leader or PM, all the way up to CEO.

It is extremely helpful to be able to just talk freely and not worry about command presence or being the guy in charge. To have someone that you can just be a normal joe around and use them as a sounding board is great. Leaders are human too, and you definitely cannot be an island. With that said, I imagine Nick Buckles is venting in private with his ‘sounding board’, and especially after the monumental stress of responding to this crisis every day.

You also need a sounding board at the CEO level, just so you don’t get into the idea that you are superior or the company is untouchable or will never fail. One of the comments in the article over at where this was originally published said that CEO’s need someone whispering in their ear, much like the Roman whispering slave during Roman Triumphs. These guys followed behind generals telling them how immortal they were, as a part of the ceremony. (The words that the slave is said to have used are not known, but suggestions include “Respice te, hominem te memento” (“Look behind you, remember you are only a man”) and “Memento mori” (“Remember that you are mortal”-wikipedia).

Pretty cool and let me know what you think? If you are a CEO or former CEO, or if you have had experience at any level of leadership in a organization, I would love to hear your thoughts on this stuff.  –Matt


Nick Buckles, CEO of G4S.


Finding a Cure for “CEO-itis”
July 12, 2012
Warning: You could be at risk of contracting “CEO-itis.”
An affliction of arrogance that plagues many people picked for powerful posts, its symptoms include a tendency toward isolation, belief that you’re smarter than others, preference for loyalists, aversion to changing course even in the face of failure –and love of royal treatment.
It appears to occur when promising managers reach the corner office or other C-suite spots. Once infected, once-successful executives often underperform and put themselves at great risk of early exits, experts say.
In June, John Figueroa quit after 17 months as chief executive of Omnicare Inc. “He believed he accomplished the goals established by the board,” the nursing-home pharmacy operator announced.
But Mr. Figueroa also acted imperiously, ignored suggestions from colleagues, and made extensive personal use of the corporate aircraft, according to people familiar with the situation.
In short, the CEO title went to his head, one informed individual says. McKesson Corp., Mr. Figueroa’s prior employer, had recommended him as a collaborative team player, another person remembers. Omnicare declined to comment.

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Industry Talk: London Olympics–Britain Adjusts Security Plans As G4S Fails In Recruitment Effort

This is a really bad deal. lol I mean G4S really screwed up on this one, and this is one of those deals where all other PMSC’s and contractors are watching and wincing. I know I am.

As to why this was such a screwed up deal probably rests upon a poorly written contract, and poorly managed recruitment/vetting effort–because of a poorly written contract. Everything from the appropriate amount of time to do this, to resources, and anything else that could have and should have been included in this contract.  And pay is the one thing that the company should not have played games with.  Check out this quote:

A former police sergeant who signed up to work for G4S at the Olympics has told how he withdrew his application over fears the recruitment process was “totally chaotic” and the firm was simply looking for cheap labour.
Robert Brown, who served for 30 years with Kent police, claimed he knew many other retired officers who had decided against working at the Games for the same reasons.
He said he had been given verbal commitments that staff would be paid £14 an hour, but that the contract he received said he would be entitled to £6.05 an hour for working outside the venues, and £8.50 for working inside the stadium.
“It is actually very sad,” Brown said. “I was looking forward to working at this historic event, but it would have been a waste of my time. The public needs to be aware of this.”

All I have to say is that if you mess with pay and break promises like that, then of course no one is going to sign up.  When the final report comes out as to what exactly happened, I would be curious as to how many experienced security guys said no thanks to this one because of pay?

What is equally sad is that in one breath they attracted former police officers like the one in the quote and yet jerked him around on pay, and in another breath they sent this memo out looking for other police officers to help save the contract. Unreal….

G4S has got a £284m contract to provide 13,700 guards, but only has 4,000 in place. It says a further 9,000 are in the pipeline.
G4S sent an urgent request on Thursday to retired police asking them to help. A memo to the National Association of Retired Police Officers said: “G4S Policing Solutions are currently and urgently recruiting for extra support for the Olympics. These are immediate starts with this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday available. We require ex-police officers ideally with some level of security clearance and with a Security Industry Association [accreditation], however neither is compulsory.”

The other one that came out was the vetting and recruitment of folks with no security background, and how chaotic and dumb that process has been. How embarrassing? I guess the G4S Facebook Page on this deal is littered with complaints from applicants on how terrible and inefficient the process has been.  Like I said, the devil will be in the details of the contract signed and how this was managed, and the report that comes out on this will be very revealing. I understand G4S’s share price has been negatively impacted, and their reputation will take a huge hit because of all of this. How they deal with this crisis and the impact on the company will be interesting to watch.

If anyone from the company, or anyone that has experienced the recruitment process described has any insight as to ‘why’ this might have went so wrong is invited to share their comments below. –Matt

Edit: 07/12/2012– Apparently G4S had some issues with the computer program running the show. Kind of weak if you ask me, and that sounds like management trying to blame technology for their poor leadership and organizational skills. That and they under bid everyone else by %25.  Here is the quote:

* An insider said the root cause of the problem with G4S was its internal computer system which had failed to calculate staff rostering.

* G4S won the security contract with Locog after submitting a tender at least 25 per cent lower than any other, which would have been hugely attractive to a British Olympic movement paranoid about going over budget.


Britain Adjusts Security Plans in Tense Countdown to the Olympics
July 12, 2012
With 14 days to go before the opening of the Olympic Games — and more than 2,500 days since the Games were awarded to London in 2005 — the British government acknowledged on Thursday that it had been forced to deploy an additional brigade of troops to save its security plan from falling apart.
To cries of “shambles” and “international embarrassment” in the House of Commons, the government of Prime Minister David Cameron said it had issued an emergency draft for an additional 3,500 troops, many of them just returned from Afghanistan — on top of 13,500 already committed for the Games — after broken commitments by a private security company. The government will now field a total military force of 17,000, who will outnumber civilian security details at Olympics venues by more than 2 to 1.
The government move came after what some infuriated Olympics officials described as overly hopeful and ultimately misleading exchanges involving organizers, the government and the G4S security company in recent months. This week, G4S officials finally conceded that the company was far behind — by a head count of several thousand — in its contract under the Olympics’ billion-dollar security plan to produce more than 10,000 fully trained, security-cleared guards.

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