What: Redhawk Network Security

What it does: cybersecurity consulting

Pictured: Kerry Fry, general manager and chief administrative officer

Where: 62958 Layton Ave., Bend

Employees: 20

Phone: 866-605-6328

Website: www.redhawksecurity.com

When the founders of Redhawk Network Security handed the reins of their business last month to a new management team, the top job went to a woman: Kerri Fry.

That’s still a rare statement for high-tech firms, where 20 percent of executives are women, compared with 29 percent in overall private industry, according to a recent report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The report quantified what most people who work in technology have already observed. The sector employs fewer women, African-Americans and Hispanics than the rest of the business world. Women make up 36 percent of the high-tech workforce, according to EEOC surveys through 2014, compared with 48 percent of overall industry.

Women in management are even more rare in the world of cybersecurity, said Fry, general manager and chief administrative officer of Redhawk, which was acquired in 2013 by the Potawatomi Business Development Corp. of Wisconsin.

“I don’t have many peers,” Fry said. “I would like to have peers.”

Redhawk was founded by network technology experts John Pelley and David Lindemann in 2003, according to Oregon corporation records. Fry said she began working for them in the early 2000s as an accounting consultant and joined the company full time in 2005.

Fry said she loves technology and the information security business, but she’s the first to admit she doesn’t have technical skills.

“I knew enough to be dangerous. I still am,” she said. “But I know the concepts.”

Now Fry leads a growing company of 20 mostly male, mostly technology-focused professionals, but she said the firm’s gender mix is changing. Another woman, Emi Baxter, oversees Redhawk’s technical team, Fry said.

Fry will have an opportunity to recruit women as she tries to fill four open positions. She’s hopeful about the future, but she said it’s important to show girls while they’re still in elementary school that women are working in technology.

“You can still be a girl and have these types of roles,” she said. “When you start getting faces that look like them, they start seeing themselves in those types of roles.”

Many of Redhawk’s tech professionals have military backgrounds, Fry said, and though the military is also dominated by men, she thinks that recruiting pipeline holds some promise for gender diversity because military women are gravitating toward tech jobs. “I’m hoping that will create some shift” in the private-sector workforce, Fry said.

Fry credits Pelley and another executive, Matt Tirman, who is no longer with the company, with serving as mentors and talking up her leadership skills to the Potawatomi, which bought the firm in 2013. Redhawk is the only information technology company owned by the tribe.

The company specializes in designing networks and performing security audits for medium and large businesses in banking, health care and retail and for government agencies.

Since the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, Redhawk has expanded its client network outside of Oregon to Seattle and Austin, Texas.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860,

Kathleen McLaughlin

Q: What is the biggest threat to company data?

A: Kerri Fry: Their own staff. It’s usually because of lack of knowledge, lack of understanding. Someone who wants to penetrate the network will send phishing emails. Or they’ll show up and try to get information, and an employee will divulge information and provide access. Training is really, really imperative, and understanding what your weakest link is. That’s why we perform audits and assessments.