Executive Security Specialists to bring veterans jobs to Missouri


Executive Security Specialists is a veteran-owned and operated security company bringing experienced leaders to the Missouri cannabis industry.

The company is excited to be welcoming Andrew Baptista and his wife, Emilyn Baptista, from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the team. 

Andrew brings over 20 years of security experience to the table, with government contracting experience as well as bodyguarding and the private security sector. He was the security team lead for the Las Vegas properties of Acres Cannabis, which has since been acquired by Curaleaf. Andrew was also the compliance director for a dispensary and cultivation facility in Death Valley, California. 

Andrew’s wife Emilyn is not only a veteran of the National Guard, she is highly trained in security operations. Emilyn worked surveillance in Las Vegas for several MGM Resort International Properties, as well as serving as a Law Enforcement Support Tech for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. 

Allen Fortner, CEO and president of Executive Security Specialists told Greenway the cannabis industry experience they were able to bring in makes the company unique.

We have been able to secure relationships with people in the industry based on knowledge of our core teams prior experience. Our security training and skill set will be tailored to the unique challenges of protecting a cannabis-related facility. Our training will far exceed any Missouri counties’ regulations.”

Executive Security Specialists is also a member of the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association. Fortner said the company has “tapped into the local veterans’ groups in an effort to get these men and women to work after leaving military service. These men and women provide a solid foundation for our training program and are capable, experienced, dedicated, and trainable.” 

The company has already established relationships with many companies in Missouri.


“We have an agreement with Cannabis Security and Technology to provide ‘boots on the ground’ armed security for their transports,” Fortner said. “We are also working with a few other Missouri companies, some of which must remain anonymous at this time. One partnership we are proud to announce for the first time in your magazine is a distributorship with Viridian Weapon Tech. Viridian Weapon Tech supplies us with our weapon-mounted cameras. These cameras provide a 100% unobstructed view from the firearm’s muzzle. This allows for full accountability of any and all instances where a firearm was drawn.”

Executive Security Specialists at MoCannBizCon 2020 – Photo/Chris Smith

Fortner emphasizes the need for a high-quality and dedicated security team at every step of the way in the cannabis business, as well as thoroughly researching and vetting the potential security company businesses may work with.

“Each aspect of this industry provides its own problems,” he said. “In the cultivation facilities, theft is always a problem both internal and external. Cultivation facilities are generally impossible to conceal and will draw attention from the smell. Manufacturing facilities are usually well hidden, but the possibility of theft is high as once the flower is processed, the distillate can easily be concealed for removal. Dispensaries run the entire gamut of issues from break-ins, internal and external theft, issues with securing cash, and customer service issues.” 

He told Greenway it is important for cannabis businesses to ask a security company about their experience, their training, and their transparency before choosing to work with them.

“Security is the one thing you do not want to lowball as it will enable you to maintain a better grasp on your profitability by limiting theft, deterring crime, and preventing unnecessary civil litigation,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this industry, too many times guards are hired with little to no experience and paid $8-$10 an hour. This creates multiple avenues for problems. Some of those I have personally observed such as equipment theft, NDs (negligent discharges), physical altercations with customers, and even verbal disagreements with facility management in view of patients. The brutal truth is, are you willing to put your investment and the security of your people in the hands of an untrained guard making minimum wage or do you hire a trained professional? Remember that insurance companies may not cover loss from theft in this industry.”

Fortner made sure to drive home the importance of hiring an outside security company as opposed to using the company’s internal resources and eliminating the need for an increase in insurance costs. Executive Security Specialists’ services include on-site security, overnight patrol, cash pick-up, armed escort, on-site surveillance, off-site surveillance (war room), investigations, and training.

Greenway asked Fortner what kind of technology and gadgets are required to execute a successful cannabis security business. He highlighted one thing: accountability for guards when using a firearm, especially during these sensitive times.

“This is the reason for the Viridian Weapon Tech cameras,” Fortner said. “This is not mandated for our industry, but we believe in being able to hold our guards to the highest level of accountability.” Fortner also discussed their obtaining of several drones to assist the company in their operations. “Of course,” he said, “there are several other gadgets we use throughout the course of our day, but we will keep that a secret.”