Executive Q&A: IT company chief enjoys the freedom of telecommuting

Executive Q&A: Fred Menge, chief executive of Tulsa-based Magnir management information company has a background in audit, compliance and information security work. His firm recently added digital forensics to its service areas.
by Paula Burkes Modified: February 2, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: February 2, 2014
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Q. What brought you to Oklahoma?

A. Another brother worked in management for American Airlines in Tulsa, so I moved here in '92 following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the impending closings of U.S. air bases there. I didn't want to move back to Miami, because it was too crowded. The longer I've lived in Tulsa, the more I've come to like Oklahoma. There's a conservative mentality; the people are friendly; and there are wide open spaces. Perhaps most importantly, my wife and her family, who visit yearly, love it here.

Q. How did you choose your company name?

A. It's a combination of my kids' names: MA for Marissa; G for Gary, NI for Nicole and R for Ryan, and pronounced Mag-neer.

Q. In the early days of your company, how did you find work?

A. I scoured websites like Monster.com and Dice.com for contract work. My first big job was auditing the financial records of Fannie Mae in D.C., to which I commuted weekly. It was during the time that Fannie Mae was considering breaking away from the government, and I was part of a risk management team that was trying to pinpoint $7 billion that was unaccounted for. It turned out the money was misappropriated and not put on the books the right way.

Q. What is digital forensics?

A. It's the recovery and investigation of material found on cellphones and in emails. Phones frequently are investigated in cases of infidelity, perhaps in an effort to reach a settlement in a divorce case before it goes to court. We can find phone logs, locations where users have been, photographs and more. In corporate cases, almost always the smoking gun is found in email, where people have agreed to situations — just like in the recent Chris Christie case. We can scour email, looking for, say, five keywords that opposing attorneys agree on. Those may include an employee's name, a date or the name of an oil rig.

A key problem in the workplace today is professionals and companies don't get rid of emails when they no longer need them. Then, when and if they're sued, companies are liable to produce everything relevant to the case, which is very expensive. But if they don't have the material … don't keep it because they no longer need it, that's defensible. Williams Companies, for example, only keeps emails for 60 days.

Q. Do you primarily work from home?

A. I have an office in Tulsa at 1632 S Denver, but I mostly work from my home, while my employees primarily work on-site with customers. From my home office, I have a view of a pond behind our house, and get to see my grandchildren whom my wife watches while my daughter is at work. I recently called on a customer, and had to navigate through a cubicle farm before I reached him. And when I worked for Fannie Mae, I started out at a card table in the hallway, before being upgraded to the supply closet. I'm happy to now have the freedom to work where I choose.

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: Magnir information management, president and managing director

Website: magnir.com

Birthplace and birth date: Rhodes, Greece; April 9, 1962

Childhood home: Miami, Fla.

Residence: Owasso

Family: Elisabeth, Netherlands native and wife of 32 years; Nicole Morgan, 29, of Tulsa; Gary, 24, of Fairbanks, Alaska; Ryan, 24, of Portland, Maine; Marissa, 15, and a granddaughter, 4, and grandson, 2

Education: Bachelor's in management information systems from the University of Maryland through the U.S. Air Force.

Sideline enterprises/passions: An adjunct professor of Oklahoma State University, where he teaches a class on the law and ethics of information systems. He also has four rental properties, and personally handles all renovations and upkeep.

Travel: He's visited nearly every European country; his favorites are south Portugal and Spain, because they're romantic countries with rich regional histories.

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