Twenty-two years ago or so I was at a Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce networking event (SMCoC). I had just opened my law office about 6 months earlier and was still in the process of becoming a real business. I had a phone system with multiple lines and a FAX MACHINE, and my name on the window, it was all very exciting.

I was told early on in life that you should only trust a computer guy who had a ponytail, it was some secret personal grooming choice they made that told the world they were capable. At this particular meeting of the SMCoC there was a burly man, with a full beard, I think he was wearing shorts and a flannel shirt that betrayed his Massachusetts upbringing. He was exactly the type of man that gets my attention. So of course I was hitting on him and we struck up a friendship.

As those types of networking events go, you cut right to the chase of what do you do, and he was sporting the full ponytail of a computer tech who specialized in security for small businesses. He was hired. I didn’t know what I needed him for, but I knew I wanted to know him better.

For years Steve Farvager was my tech savior. He installed computers, updated backup systems, and got me out of the inevitable computer glitches that I wandered into. We became friends and for years we’d do morning bike rides to Playa or Hermosa and he’d go home to his wife and I’d go to the office to start breaking up unhappy families.

In time he moved on to Northern California which suited him and his acupuncturist wife better than the craziness of Venice. He handed my account off to Ben who had shaggy hair and was a bit more conservative, but just as competent. Ben returned after a few years to his native Virginia and I was left techless.

I managed to not destroy computers until one day I updated something and that caused a nightmare. I reached out to the only tech I knew Jeremy Foint who is a master of Apple and PC systems. He also has a shaved head.

So in the 20 years I’ve been in business, my tech support guys have steadily lost their hair. I’ve been blessed over all this time to have no major computer issues, no data losses. Which is great for a small two man office like mine.

But for bigger firms, those with 5 or more staff on a network that is open to the internet, there is a local solution. My friend Jason Gilbert started ClearFuze Networks, Inc. as a one man show to help small firms with their needs.

Jason is a modern renaissance man. He’s a pilot, who I think has had his pilot’s license since before he could drive a car. In a world of black turtlenecks and/or superhero t-shirts, Jason is a snappy dresser of sport coats and loafers. He goes against the grain of what you expect in an IT person.

Jason worked his way through Santa Monica College for a degree in business, taking one course at a time, while building ClearFuze, expanding his reach and its markets. He’s continued his education, becoming a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and leading ClearFuze Networks to becoming a highly regarded local provider of tech services. Today ClearFuze has over 20 engineers locally helping architects, law offices, and hospitals manage the transition from traditional office spaces to remote working from home in the middle of a pandemic.

One of the biggest problems facing any organization today is institutional security. “We think that two-factor log-in provides security, but it’s a false sense of protection” Gilbert said. As companies moved to cloud based data storage, the risks of a breach increase, and this is the sort of nightmare that people like me, cannot even conceive of, and certainly don’t want to lose sleep over, which is why ClearFuze is growing so rapidly. “We need more helpdesk staff. I’m looking for people who are Level 2 trained and seasoned personnel with over 5 years of experience. I am a big believer in continued education and will pay for people to continue college or industry certifications” Gilbert said.

He values leadership and mentoring, “I think the single greatest thing I’ve done for my business was joining a Vistage group and surrounding myself with other like-minded individuals who meet regularly to uplift each other and keep the momentum of growth going” Gilbert told me over eggs at Teddy’s Café on Pico and Bundy. Sidenote: he’s a regular there during the week for breakfast.

Today ClearFuze provides security services to mid-size to large law firms managing the inevitable lost laptop, shutting down access to terminated employees and providing software support to a variety of professional organizations like architects, healthcare and private equity development companies.

Located at the Santa Monica Airport, where Gilbert has his private plane out front under his watchful eye, ClearFuze HR is accepting resumes at HR@ClearFuze.com.

Oh, and Jason is the guy with the close cropped, but full head of, hair.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra