Brandenburg seeks to challenge herself with new innovations, technology


Marian Brandenburg is the administrative specialist in recreational services at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex. Most students recognize her as the “email lady” because her name is attached to the emails about K-State intramurals that she sends to every enrolled student. Her job in recreational services extends far beyond sending emails, though.

Brandenburg remembers the original building before there were any expansions, when everyone in the administration office had to share one computer. But she’s far from being out of touch with new innovations and modern technology.

“I kind of consider myself a Jill of all trades,” Brandenburg said.

Her main responsibilities involve supporting the intramural program, which includes tasks such as doing paperwork, collecting entries and giving out T-shirts. She also manages the webpage, publicity and marketing for recreational services.

“The fun part of my job, but also challenging, is to keep up with the technology,” Brandenburg said.

She said it is important for recreational services to organize and promote their information in a way that is relevant to students, so she had to learn how to use different social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

Steve Martini, director of recreational services, said that his commitment is to the students and providing for the students through recreational services. He has known Brandenburg since she applied for a job in recreational services 21 years ago.

“She’s very good with the students and public that come in,” Martini said.

Martini said Brandenburg is always positive and easy to get along with. She is also very caring and generous and always will to help.

“If you ever need something, you go to Marian,” said Courtney Gill, recreational services administrative office assistant and senior in family studies.

Brandenburg indirectly helped Jason Brungardt, assistant director for facilities and aquatics, get his first job as a personal trainer at the Rec Complex. She was the person he had to do a mock training session with, a requirement for applying for the position.

Brungardt said it’s a joy to work with Brandenburg as she is always willing to make things better and more efficient. After opening the new facility, Brungardt and Brandenburg sat down for about five hours to overhaul the recreational services website, in order to make it easier to access and understand.

“She’s always able to provide insight on how we should do things or how it’s been done in the past,” Brungardt said.

Both Brandenburg and her husband, Bob Brandenburg, grew up in northeastern Iowa. She met him in fifth grade during Sunday school class at church. They were high school sweethearts and have now been married for 42 years.

Bob served in the military for 20 years, with a four-year interim for college at Iowa State University. They have lived in several places, including the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California and Germany.

Brandenburg worked at Iowa State University while her husband was in college. When her husband retired from the military at Fort Riley, she said she decided to work at K-State because she really enjoyed the college atmosphere.

When she talked to her husband about applying to work at the Rec Complex, his response was, “Well, what are you going to do? Issue towels?” She’s never had to issue towels, but she has had to do several other things.

She started working as an administrative assistant in recreational services in July of 1992. Four years later, Brandenburg had the opportunity to be promoted to administrative specialist.

“I liked it from day one,” Brandenburg said. “I’ve never looked for another job.”

Brandenburg said she loves to be outdoors. She has biked the Katy Trail in Missouri, backpacked part of the Appalachian Trail and became a certified scuba diver. She said she enjoys beekeeping, tracking the migration of Purple Martins and watching the hummingbirds at her hummingbird feeders.

“I have a wide variety of interests,” Brandenburg said.

More interests include reading, watching movies with her husband, sewing and quilting. She even knits sweaters for the charity Knit For Kids, and takes organ lessons so she can serve as a substitute organist for her church.

“I’m always seeking ways of challenging myself,” Brandenburg said.

Brandenburg said that’s one reason she has never felt stuck in a rut while working at recreational services. Because technology is always changing, she’s has had continue learning new things to keep up with it.

While she never finished her degree, Brandenburg did complete about three years of college over her husband’s time in the military. Nevertheless, she said college is very important.

“Everything I ever studied was a huge benefit to me,” Brandenburg said.

She is grateful for all of the opportunities that working in recreational services has given her.

“She’s a great friend and co-worker,” Martini said.