Being alert and on the ball comes easy to Tej Raj Lohia. After all, heading a mammoth security services firm with high-profile clients is tough, to say the least. Yet, it's a field that he is passionate about and he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his clients safe and secure. This second generation entrepreneur is a natural-born leader. Under his guidance, his firm, set up in the UAE over 10 years ago, has grown annually at 15 per cent. Currently, Eagle Hunter Security Services (the security support provider for Masala! Awards, 2011) has over 700 employees with a turnover of Dhs33million and is constantly marching ahead on the growth curve. But growth figures apart, Tej is also deeply attached to his roots in India and is involved in several charitable causes that support rural development. At his luxurious, 'super secure' Burj Khalifa apartment, Tej reveals the challenges of providing security to celebs and why he loves his job so much!
Can you tell us a little about your childhood? Were you born and raised in Dubai?
Well, I was born in Delhi. I was the first-born in the family and needless to say, I have a lot of memories! My childhood was simply amazing, I did what most children love to do – play all the time and pay little attention to studies (laughs)!
Where did you do complete your school and college education from?
My studies started in Dehradun, India. I then came to Dubai for further studies in management.
How did you enter the security business and what strategies did you employ to ensure its growth?
The company was already well-established in India. I wanted to take it overseas, especially to Dubai and, later, to Kuwait and Singapore. I am glad to have achieved most of my objectives. Eagle Hunter Security Services is the only Indian multi-national operating in the uniformed guard industry with an overseas presence. Entering at CEO level, I immediately worked towards ensuring all our clients functioned in a security-enabled environment. I introduced new practices into the company and brought it up to ISO level. However, what was most important for me was to make sure the staff got a feeling of ownership in their jobs. I designed and implemented an incentive and performance programme; since then, the growth has been organic. One service that is particularly close to my heart is the 'dog squad' I set up which is now employed by some of our main clients like DHL.
What do you find most exciting about your venture?
The field of security services is very exciting. I love our clients. The thought that we are looking after the security of so many families and ventures, especially where children are involved, is very gratifying. Moreover, this sector requires you to be up-to-date with technology which is thrilling especially when implementing some of our innovative strategies. Finally, I love the feeling of being part of one big family. I feel satisfied looking after the interests of the team; I acknowledge the strength of our manpower.
What are the biggest stresses and challenges of this job?
Well, this is a 24-7, 365-days-a-year job, so I never really switch off! You can just imagine the stress that builds up but you have to learn to deal with it. On a day-to-day basis, one of the biggest challenges I face is to make clients aware that we are in it together. It requires a certain amount of involvement on their part too for it to be a fully secure environment. Providing security services is also about employing the latest technology.
Can you tell us more about the exciting gadgets that are currently in use?
You are right. Keeping yourself abreast of the latest technology is one of key to growth. In our company, the guard-monitoring systems and vehicle-tracking devices are comparable to the best in the world.
What are some of the most exciting cases your company has handled so far?
There are far too many to recount! Each day is exciting, with a new set of challenges. However, when we have to provide security for events, it's a different feel altogether. We did the Miss World pageant and also provided security for the late Michael Jackson when he was in this region. Another huge milestone was when Virgin Atlantic launched in India and we were called to provide security solutions for the event.
Your home must be extremely secure considering you're the head of a securities firm
I stay in Dubai, one of the most secure countries in the world! And my home is in the Burj Khalifa – it's the perfect combination of electronic and man-managed security. It's my haven, the ideal place for me to live as I can truly relax feeling very safe (laughs)!
What do you like most about your home?
I love the peace around me. The view of the city and the fountains from my apartment is very meditative. I'm a spiritual person and the whole ambiance of Burj Khalifa makes me feel very peaceful and larger-than-life.
What are your hobbies?
Meditation, driving and music are my hobbies. All of them help me unwind.
Are you interested in investigative stories or detective films?
Yes, I love investigative programmes and movies! I try to watch as many shows as possible on TV, especially the CSI series