2017 Articles Published
2017 Speeches Delivered
2017 Countries Visited
2017 Miles Flown
Boston Harbor, Boston
1445 hours local
I am spending the afternoon in Boston with some of my colleagues. After a wonderful seafood lunch with clients at the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America, we decided to kill a few hours by walking the Freedom Trail – the historic path of landmarks which cuts through the middle of this great city. It is a perfect Spring day and conversing over a nice walk is the perfect way to bond. Our journey concludes at the USS Constitution a.k.a. “Old Iron Sides,” the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.
East Coast Strongman
0630 hours local
I’m on a project in New England. Being on the road for consulting engagements or business development meetings can easily take up half my year. Therefore, it is important to stay in shape while traveling. I have found this local gym, which specializes in powerlifting. It’s early in the morning but my fellow meat heads and I are “clanging and banging” as Metallica blasts over the speakers. Never underestimate the power of a good workout to start your day.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
0900 hours local
It was a quick 24-hours in Dubai… one of the most interesting cities on the planet. I flew here for a business meeting and am now headed back to Washington DC. Since I was only in town for one night, I opted to stay at the “Middle East’s most luxurious hotel”, Palazzo Versace, located just ten minutes from Dubai International Airport along the Dubai Creek.
I must say, it lived up to all the hype. From mosaic tile floors and marble columns to purple carpets and gold ceilings, this hotel ranks as one of the finest in the world. In fact, each of the 215 rooms was individually designed and decorated by fashion icon, Donatella Versace.
I’ll admit that a lot of the glamour may have been wasted on me (I ordered a cheeseburger by the pool rather than eating at one of the eight fancy restaurants), but I have a strong feeling I’ll be back here soon with my wife… who will surely appreciate the style more than I can.
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
1500 hours local
I just concluded attending the 18th Exhibition and International Conference for Industry Security (ISEC) in Riyadh. The event was hosted by His Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayif and organized by the Higher Commission for Industrial Security (HCIS). It was great to reconnect with many of my old friends and colleagues in the global security industry. In addition to learning about the latest infrastructure projects unfolding in the Kingdom, the venue also served as a great networking opportunity. I visited with government officials, other security providers, as well as representatives from large organizations, such as SABIC, Saudi Aramco, and others.
My trip was made all-the-more interesting with the coinciding visit of President Trump. In fact, Air Force One (both them) landed just 30 minutes prior to my flight from Bahrain and was parked nearby on the other side of the small runway at King Khalid International Airport.
Regardless of whatever the western media was reporting, the electricity and excitement of Trump’s visit was highly evident. The streets were lined were dual American and Saudi flags, and billboards of President Trump and King Salman were splashed across town. A giant image of Donald Trump’s face was projected against the side of the Ritz Carlton. A baby girl born that day was named Ivanka! The local newspapers heralded Trump’s speech against terrorism to the GCC. He was rewarded with $250 billion worth of American contract guarantees.
Regardless of the differences between Americans and Saudis (and I will admit there are lot – and rightfully so, in many cases), it is good to see the Kingdom slowly becoming more progressive. As one of the few – if only – Americans to attend the ISEC Conference, I must say the Saudi hospitality did not disappoint.
0807 hours local
Sitting at the airport in Manama, preparing to fly to Riyadh. I had a great week in Bahrain. It was my first time visiting this small kingdom, which is located just across the King Fahd Causeway Bridge from Saudi Arabia. Despite its proximity to KSA, it is certainly much less conservative. There are no shortage of great restaurants and wild nights condensed within a few square miles of this island nation. In fact, Bahrain seems to exist purely to allow Saudis a weekend escape from the strict rules of day-to-day life.
In addition to being a Saudi party spot, as well as home to US Naval Forces Central Command, Bahrain has the unique distinction of being the first country in the Middle East to strike oil (way back in 1931). In fact, “Oil Well #1,” the site of the first oil rig in the region, is a popular tourist attraction.
Even after traveling to over 130 countries, it’s always nice to be surprised by a new destination.
0834 hours local
I find myself, once again, in Frankfurt Airport. Over the past two decades I must have transited this mega-hub for Lufthansa Airlines over a hundred times. I’m inside one of the many business class lounges, watching numerous people of various nationalities, interact in what can only be described as a petri dish of diverse cultural backgrounds. I watch as a German businessman eats a pretzel with beer at 8 o’clock in the morning, while an Indian family tries to nap in the chairs beside him. The British woman next to me is video conferencing with her young children. In the corner of the room, a Muslim traveler is praying. At the same time, an American is flipping through a copy of USA Today, glancing up from time-to-time to follow the ticker on CNN International. As usual there is one obnoxious person talking too loudly on his cellphone (this guy’s from Africa). The one thing we all have in common is that we’re all trying to temporarily “gather ourselves” before heading off to somewhere else.
I’m traveling for business and need to be sharp for my upcoming consulting engagement. As I have done so many times before, I grabbed a quick shower and changed clothes in one of the private shower rooms, and am now enjoying a cappuccino from the instant coffee machine. My next flight departs in a few hours, so I have decided to catch up on emails. I have an important proposal to write, but have opted to save that for the next leg of my journey.
Frankfurt Airport is always chaotic… that’s why I much prefer transferring through Munich, whenever possible. Today is no exception. Anyone who has ever worked in the global security consulting field will tell you, Frankfurt Airport is like a second home (or maybe more like an orphanage) that nobody wants to live in.
2230 hours local
Just wrapping up a quick 48-hour trip to Miami, where my wife was a featured speaker at the Latin America Regional Council conference for OSAC (the security council for American businesses with operations overseas). The event was held on the campus of Florida International University (FIU) and was attended by numerous corporate security directors, government agencies, academics, as well as security vendors, all of whom have operations in Latin America.
Despite the quick trip, I was able to reconnect with colleagues in the security industry, as well as enjoy a couple of nice dinners along Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
We are flying back to Reagan National Airport in DC early tomorrow morning. When we land, I have roughly two hours to go home, grab a quick shower, re-pack and then head to Dulles Airport to catch my next flight to the Middle East. These are certainly busy times in the global security consulting field.
São Paulo, Brazil
0951 hours local time
The past 72 hours have been a blur. I traveled down to São Paulo for a quick business meeting with a Fortune 500 company, which has operations in Brazil, plus to visit my newborn nephew. My wife and I are headed to the airport in a few hours to catch the red-eye flight back to Washington, DC.
As one of the most populous cities in the world, São Paulo is the engine that drives the economy in both Brazil and Latin America. Besides possessing one of the most impressive skylines of any city on the planet, it also hosts some of the finest restaurants. We had the opportunity to dine at D.O.M., which was named the number four restaurant in the world (while Alex Atala was voted as the number one chef). Between the gourmet cuisine and the traditional Brazilian hospitality of keeping guests well fed, I’m sure that I put on a couple pounds during the trip.
Although Rio de Janeiro gets the tourism headlines in Brazil, there really is no other city in the world like São Paulo. However, be warned. São Paulo is not for amateurs! In addition to serious crime, it is a busy city that doesn’t sleep, and traffic is horrific (in fact, many business executives will helicopter to their meetings, between office buildings, in order to avoid the gridlock!). Rookie global travelers should avoid this metropolitan juggernaut until they become more comfortable with international chaos. Nevertheless, for those who are ready to take the plunge, São Paulo is one the best destinations in South America.