In this interview and off the back of the recent articles about ensuring preparedness to make market entry into challenging markets, Tim Curtis outlines what ERS has recently done to support clients operational readiness.
Q: Tim, thanks for joining us again. Can you give an overview of what services ERS provides for clients?
A: Thanks for having me. By way of an introduction, our clients span many industries and sectors and hence there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. We have been able to ‘task tailor’ our support to suit clients into differing markets based on the client’s level of experience and awareness and the market challenges itself. We work with our clients’ existing initiatives, analyses and focus to makes sure they can deliver the most effective and efficient operational solutions. Not surprisingly, many of our clients are from the resource sector, but we also continue engineering and construction clients all the way through to the not for profit, humanitarian and development sector.
In that last few months our services have included traveller tracking, detailed analysis, assessments and due diligence tasks, pre deployment training, business continuity analysis and operational support, inclusive of security support tasks.
Q: You have outlined the profound challenges in pre frontier markets and the often aggressive nature of businesses expanding; how important is time and timing?
A: Incredibly important. You can definitely be too early into a pre frontier market. By way of example, in some countries we see laws that have yet to be passed through parliament; thus making firm investment decisions unrealistic. In other locations we see quite profound political risk that would make an immediate commitment pointless. Examples include Mozambique, South Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Myanmar. Finally, other operational risks that emerge quickly also need close monitoring such as the recent coup in Burkina Faso.
But you can be too late as well. Pre frontier markets are not for the risk adverse and the ideal preconditions are seldom set. Hence companies need to have some reasonable risk appetite which is obviously set within tolerances.
Q: Can you give us a flavour of the work that you have been delivering?
A: Sure. Without going into the specifics of some of our confidential engagements, we have supported clients with analytical and operational assessments into Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, Cameroon and the DRC. This included a recommendation against their planned visits programmes. We also conducted ‘deep dive’ analysis in Africa into illicit trade and trafficking origins, cargo destinations and an overview of the network that supports the movement of illicit material.
We have been constantly delivering our Personal Safety Awareness Training to prepare travellers, some of which are very experienced I might add, into Africa, South America. We also have a modular approach, particularly with security awareness, where we have been able to just deliver our Avoiding Kidnaping and Surviving Kidnapping modules as well as bespoke country security assessments.
Recently, we conducted detailed due diligence on business partners in India, Pakistan and the Middle East and called out risks that could be associated with our clients business.
We responded a team into India to support an illegally detained client and their family and business inside 24 hours from the initial crisis call.
In the Middle East and Africa we continue to support high net worth individuals with fully capable security teams that are tracked by our 24/7-response operations centre.
We have also commenced a full programme review and operational continuity plan for a client in Myanmar that we will deliver by the end of this year.
And all of that and more in the last 8 weeks!
Thanks for you time today Tim. We look forward to getting more of your insights on these challenging but promising international markets.
Who is Tim Curtis ?
Tim is currently the Director of International Operations for ERS with responsibility for the Group’s global operations, international outlook, growth and relationships.
Tim has over twenty years of management experience as a strategic planner, practitioner and organizational leader including military experience as an officer in the Australian Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment. Tim has spent time as a principal adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone (2001), during the long period of civil war and raised a sensitive and time-critical national counter terrorist capability (2002). Tim has consulted to major resource and services companies on emergency, crisis and risk mitigation and worked on the leadership team in the United Nations for the Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections (2005). In this capacity Tim led the operational field planning and integration of the functional electoral elements and security actors, which delivered a safe electoral process across 30,000 sites for more than 1 million electoral staff and 14 million voters. Between 2005-2014, Tim worked in Dubai for companies specializing in the provision of operational support to clients in high-risk and volatile environments. He is an influential and sought after thought leader and change agent who specializes in business expansion and sustainable growth in emerging markets and sensitive environments.
Tim has a Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts (History) and a range of specialized diplomas and certificates in organizational leadership and management.
Please contact ERS if you require further advice or if you would like us to assist with travel security +61 8 6109 0115 .