Job title: Alberta Sheriff Inspector, Executive Protection Unit; Warrant Officer, 15 Military Police; President, SpecVIP Protection Group Inc.
Why he’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: He uses decades of security experience to help everyday people gain the skills and knowledge needed to lead safer lives.
Justin Hanson was cleaning up after his child’s second birthday party when he heard what he initially thought was fireworks. But when he looked across the lake bordering his home, he saw an active shooter.
Hanson is the type of person you want at such a scene. With two decades of experience in personal security, he directed guests to take cover, helped the police control the scene and administered first aid to the victims.
Later, when everything was over, his neighbours remained afraid. Hanson responded by creating the Edmonton Safe & Secure Project — a collection of Facebook groups for neighbourhoods throughout the city — to keep people as informed as possible about safety and security in their area.
“People tend to think it’s all suits and sunglasses,” Hanson says of being a bodyguard. “It’s really not. It’s more about logistics and administration and preparation and discipline.” On this day, he’s wearing the dark suit you’d expect; and while plenty of topics remain classified, he is soft-spoken and friendly.
Through 22 years working with law enforcement, and the military with multiple deployments internationally and domestically, he’s honed both hard and soft skills. He’s trained thousands of soldiers, military police and other law enforcement personnel. Now, he’s passionate about sharing his extensive knowledge not just with those in the industry, but with regular civilians. Through SpecVIP Protection Group Inc., he offers courses covering the basics of personal protection, including self-defence and travel preparation.