Denico Gray and Deshun Goldsmith (left to right) are bringing a keen sense of professionalism and responsibility to the private security industry. (Courtesy photo)

As we continue our Black Men in Business series for African-American History Month, this week we’re spotlighting the security industry.

Last summer, following an incident in which an unlicensed security guard shot and killed a Black man at a Kroger Fueling Center, attention turned to the security industry. Kroger said the guard was hired through a subcontractor.

Often, security contracts are subcontracted and subcontracted again, leaving questions and holes about who’s licensed, if their licensed has expired, etc.

For this reason and more (such as being held to a higher standard), Denico Gray and Deshun Goldsmith, the owners of DG Protective Services, a Black male-owned security business headquartered right here in Memphis, stay on top of licensing, training and all things industry-related.

Here’s their collective story.

TSD: What type of business do you own? What do you do?

DG Protective Services: We are a full-service, contract security agency, providing security services for a variety of industries, including commercial, residential, government, faith-based organizations, TV/entertainment, workplace violence, medical, retail, non-profit and special events. We even provide executive protection and consulting services.

TSD: How long have you been in business for yourself?

DG: We’ve been operational since 2019, however, we have a combined 40+ years in enforcement and training in the public and private sectors.

TSD: How many employees do you have?

DG: 30+

TSD: What was your motivation for starting your business?

DG: We wanted to offer personalized and niche security services not typically found in the Memphis area, utilizing technology to further leverage our services. We also wanted to provide an employment outlet for our people, as most of our employees are black. We value our employees as more than just disposable assets. We invest in their training and ensure that they have all the tools they need to be successful.

TSD: What impact does your business have or do you hope your business will have in the future? On your family, community, etc.

DG: When it’s all said and done, we want to provide a quality service at competitive rates and hope to leave a legacy for our children. We believe that being independent business owners affords us the opportunity to positively impact those around us, including our families, our community and our clients. Our passion is protection. Protection is at the center of everything we do, which by default makes our community better.

TSD: What advice do you have for someone who might be interested in entering your field?

DG: Training is the key to success. There is a difference between being a security officer and a security professional. A security officer is someone who puts on a uniform and just shows up. A security professional is a person who knows every aspect of his or her job and takes pride in what they do.

It’s also important to stay on top of technology, industry and crime trends, equipment, laws and training. Things are ever-changing in this industry and a good security professional stays in the know.

One more important note to add: employees can make or break your business. It’s important to hire the RIGHT people.

TSD: What advice do you have for other Black business owner hopefuls?

DG: We want to encourage people to know their worth, perfect their craft and charge accordingly. Good products or services aren’t cheap, and cheap products or services aren’t good.

People also need to learn the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss leads from the back; a leader leads from the front. You should be the hardest working person in your company, always striving for greatness and growth.

Finally, just start. Whatever you want to do, you have to start it. Don’t procrastinate. Just take the leap.

TSD: If you weren’t doing this, what else would you be doing?

Denico Gray: I’d probably be a rancher with a cattle farm.

Deshun Goldsmith: I’d probably still be training and maybe process serving.

TSD: What do think is the most important aspect of the product/service you provide?

DG: Providing personalized service is so important to us. Each client is different, as are their needs and wants. We love being able to meet their needs and provide safety in every sense of the word for our clients.

TSD: What professional accomplishment or major milestone are you most proud of?

Denico Gray: We are proud to employ 30+ people, making it possible for them to feed their families and make a living wage at that.

Deshun Goldsmith: Just being in business. A lot of companies have come and gone. Each time we gain a new client, we are proud of our ability to grow.

TSD: Anything else you’d like to add?

DG: We are here to serve all of Tennessee but have the resources and network to serve clients nationwide. We would love to provide a consultation to those in need. If your business or your family needs protection services, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at 901-250-5445. Visit for more info.