* Clark got the gig protecting Buffett after meeting his daughter buying bagels.
[Seventeen years ago] Dan Clark was a young Weed and Seed officer patrolling Omaha’s north side. He happened to lunch in the same spot as Buffett’s daughter, Susie, who was bothered by breaking news that Wisconsin bank robbers had plotted to kidnap her father. Susie Buffett asked the uniformed Clark why police wouldn’t have informed her family earlier. Clark recalled telling her that he was not privy to details, but that the Buffetts should have been contacted. Before he left, Clark offered his private security services — and shortly afterward, he was hired to protect the famed CEO of Omaha’s Berkshire Hathaway.
* He’s “a buff martial arts practitioner”
* The early days on the job were rough.
“The first year it was me, with a protein bar in my pocket, with Mr. Buffett,” Clark recalled. “I didn’t take a meal break, and I didn’t sit down. By the end of the weekend, I was dog-tired.”
* He’s a great defensive driver
Another time Clark swerved to avoid a car running a red light. “It was one of those reaffirming moments,” he said, “that you can never let your guard down.”
* His biggest threat? The animals in the press.
“The reality is I have protected him more from the press and crowds than from assaults.” He recalled a backpedaling photojournalist who, in his persistence to get a good shot, rammed into and broke off the side mirror of the CEO’s car. “Mr. Buffett just shook his head.”
* He’ll do anything for a job.
In 2008, Clark was named Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year for his role in taking apart two large narcotics operations. Road Trip II had him in deep disguise, gaining the trust of drug lords. He once engaged in a semi-friendly coin toss to settle a negotiation over the price of an assault weapon. (Clark won the flip, reducing the cost by $100.) Clark had so changed his appearance for that bust — his red, short-cropped hair was dyed dark, and he had a beard and extra weight — that his own daughter backed away when he showed up to drive her home from dance class.
* He made $349,946 last year, versus Buffett’s $100,000
* He can’t get over Buffett’s reflexes (like a cat) and speed (of a mongoose)
This week’s Berkshire meeting, however, presents Clark with his largest annual task. His associates are busy climbing through ductwork, examining catwalks, sweeping meeting rooms. Security guards will be dispatched throughout the city. Clark also coordinates with area law enforcement agencies. The pre-planning phase grows each year with the crowd. But one thing hasn’t changed, Clark said. Buffett, now 80, still walks quickly, “can change directions on a dime” and keeps Clark’s guys hopping.