Every operator wants to treat his VIP clients special, but for Johnny Johnson, Sr. of Carey of Houston in Spring, TX, special just isn’t good enough. Every ride for Johnson’s VIPs must be perfect.
Bomb-sniffing dogs, Secret Service inspections are routine at Carey of Houston
Johnson’s client list has included the Queen of England, president of Venezuela, the family of the president of Mexico, and the Japanese Embassy.
Preparing for VIPs of this caliber is no easy task. Before the client arrives Johnson and his staff meet with the local Consulate officers, local police, protocol officials. Secret Service, and any other people who might be involved.
These meetings cover everything from the logistics of parking at a private air terminal to security at the airport to the motorcade route.
“Then we meet with the local consulate office to get specific itineraries, names and other pertinent details. Here we submit all drivers’ names, driver license numbers, Social Security numbers, and pictures to security for clearance and badges. We also find out what specialty vehicles are needed — armor plate, 50-passenger buses, etc. In some instances we surrender the vehicles to the Secret Service who place them in a compound during the entire stay of the dignitary,” says Johnson.
After these initial meetings, Johnson hires a special coordinator who speaks the language and is familiar with the customs of the specific country. Another meeting will be held with this person and the Carey staff to discuss customs and protocol.
Also, during these preliminary meetings, “command centers” are set up either at the hotel or meeting place. From this location all vehicles and chauffeurs are dispatched. “During the Economic Summit, the Carey command center consisted of three Japanese and five Carey dispatchers working around the clock for five days straight dispatching almost 100 vehicles,” Johnson adds.