ABOUT TIMM IRVINE-SMITH
Timm Irvine-smith was born in Zimbabwe, but his family soon moved to South Africa, where he was raised in an isolated rural region of the country (where learning wilderness survival and navigation skills were part of a normal way of life).
After finishing his bachelor of arts degree—majoring in philosophy and law—and thereafter bachelor of laws, he left university in 1993 and went overseas. He stayed in the United Kingdom with his father during 1993 and did multiple close-protection courses with ex-22 SAS (Lofty Wiseman) and Royal Protection Unit (Dennis Martin) instructors.
Irvine-smith was opposed to apartheid, but he was optimistic that change was on the horizon. Not long after he returned to South Africa in 1994, apartheid ended. Irvine-smith joined the newly formed Criminal Intelligence Service, for which he was challenged with uniting two formerly contentious groups into a functional protective detail. After accomplishing that, Irvine-smith worked his way up through the ranks and was even decorated for saving 12 people from a gunman.
In 2005, Irvine-smith was recruited by South Africa’s Special Task Force (Stf)—the country’s most elite police Special Operations force. During an STF training event, he talked with a comrade about correcting the error inherent in the shadow stick method of direction-finding and making it usable on the move. As a result, the idea for the Suncompass was born.
Today, Irvine-smith commands an STF medical support detachment and is the owner of Ronin South Africa. This school teaches a broad spectrum of close-protection disciplines, including pre-hospital emergency care, pedestrian escort, venue security, protective driving, conflict management, and firearms and operational preparedness.