Former soldier, Ted Jones, runs an international business that rescues people from super high threat circumstances such as terrorist attacks, kidnappings, civil unrest and medical emergencies.
Ted started his military career at Sandhurst in 1997 and travelled around the world with the British Army before he returned to civvy street in 2004.
While working as a medical evacuation (medevac) specialist in 2009, he saw an opportunity to revolutionise the international emergency response industry.
From The Army To Kidnap Insurance
After beginning his Army career in the late ‘90s, Ted rose through the ranks during his seven years and was deployed to locations such as Macedonia, Kosovo, Canada, Kuwait, Iraq and Northern Ireland.
He left the military in 2004; the transition was challenging but, he says, making that move is tricky for most veterans.
However, Ted believes that former service personnel are in demand among commercial companies – there’s no need to worry about finding employment. He says:
“There's a huge number of jobs out there. The civilian market is very keen on employing soldiers. That goes up and down, but at the moment is great.”
His first civilian job was with a kidnap insurance company which involved frequent trips to Latin America, where he would often be “traipsing through jungle”.
Three years on, he moved into the less adventurous world of insurance for the construction industry.
Next, he helped to set up a medevac company in Oman and Jordan focusing on high threat environments including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bomb Attack Inspired Business Idea
During a visit to Iraq in 2009, a major incident pushed him to set up his own business - to provide specialist evacuation and support for people in perilous situations. Quoted in an Evening Standard interview, Ted said:
“I was in a bombing myself at the time: the car got a bit knackered but I was fine.
"But the US military pulled back from doing medical evacuations, so anyone who got into trouble was left with a model designed to look after first world holidaymakers. It was failing spectacularly.
“My military experience taught me that medevacs in such places needed awareness of security, maritime, diplomatic, legal, cash movement, tracking, and intelligence issues.
"I thought that I could do it better, hence Northcott Global Solutions”
Military Skills Are Priceless
Northcott is now a decade old with offices in central London and a huge global network.
Ted has grown the business from a “bunch” of military medevac specialists to a workforce of more than 50 – including other veterans.
Medevacs in just one area of work; Ted's firm also covers foreign military invasion, civil unrest, natural disasters, business continuity experts, and more.
Reflecting on the skillset learned in the Army, Ted is sure that what he once took for granted has been invaluable in business. He says:
“There are all sorts of skills that people in the services don't appreciate they even have. You have to get on with people in the services much more than you would in a civilian trading floor. And there's a much clearer understanding of the hierarchy.
“The reality is, if you're working on a difficult project, there has to be a hierarchy. Someone has to be in charge.
"And whether you're a Lance Corporal, whether you're a Commanding Officer, whether you're a General, you have to know how to treat different types of people differently.
“That's a skill set that doesn’t come naturally to many people who haven't been in the services. And it's such a straightforward thing for anyone who has.”
Burning Shoe Leather
Although it’s daunting moving from military life to civvy street, Ted is adamant there are lots of opportunities for veterans.
However, he advises people to try to find a job before they leave. He recommends networking “like mad” and adds:
“People who have left the Army will usually bend over backwards to help.
"And your average civilian does hold the military across the board in very high regard.
"Just get out, burn the shoe leather, speak to as many people as you can, and it'll all work out well for you.”
This story is part of Life After Service, a week-long campaign where BFBS will be running positive stories about ex-service people across all its media channels.