CNBC had an interesting article today about Warren Buffett’s security. Reporter Eamon Javers spent some time interviewing Buffett’s head security man, Dan Clark, and it sounds like it was a pretty extreme time.
He’s the kind of guy who throws around phrases like the “muay Thai clench with a double knee strike,” and who, when he emails you to invite you to his training session, reminds you politely to bring a cup.For those of you who’ve been to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B) meeting and seen Buffett walking the floor of the convention center, or perhaps strolling through Borsheims, Clark is the guy striding next to him, making sure you don’t get too close.
All of it — the gym, the training, and especially the punch — combine to send a clear message: Don’t mess with Buffett, or any of Clark’s other clients. And that’s kind of the point.
Cindy Gonzalez of the Omaha World Tribune offered more details about how the relationship began. Susie Buffett approached Clark in a bagel shop nearly 20 years ago demanding to know why the Buffett family hadn’t been notified by the police of a threat involving a plot to kidnap Buffett. Clark didn’t have the details, but he did have an entrepreneurial spirit. Before leaving, Clark offered to provide private security, and the Oracle soon took him up on it.
Clark continued to work for the Omaha Police Department through 2009. Protecting Buffett was a side job, though apparently a lucrative one.
Public reports show increased investment for “personal and home security services provided for Mr. Buffett and paid by Berkshire.”Not all of that goes to Clark alone. While in the beginning the security gig was a one man show (In fact Clark would carry protein bars in his pocket because refused to take a meal break), his company eventually grew to include 150 guards, most of who are contracted and off duty policeman. In 2006 Clark’s firm began protecting Buffett’s house. Good thing too, since a man carrying a fake gun, but a real weapon, was disarmed by one of Clark's guards trying to break into the house in 2007.
In 2008, Berkshire paid $315,709. In 2009, that rose to $344,490; and in 2010, the amount was $349,946. The company didn't list that expense before 2008.
In a nod to how work used to be done, Clark says that he doesn’t need a contract, “Mr. Buffett and I have always done business on a handshake based on trust.”
To read more about Dan Clark, click on the following articles:
Billionaire Security: Behind the Scenes with Warren Buffett’s Bodyguard
He follows Buffett's every move
And here’s a video of Clark demonstrating his work: