August 2, 2021
In her 35 years with the Iowa DOT, Brenda McCuen was a friend and mentor to many, serving Iowans and her coworkers with pride. Brenda, who was well known to most at the Ankeny complex and others throughout the DOT, unexpectedly passed away on March 12.
Traci Sharr, who worked with Brenda said, “She was our calmness in the storm and we miss that every day The biggest thing that has stuck out to me since Brenda passed and that I carry daily with me is her ‘I can fix it or do it.’ attitude. This was not just her attitude but the way she lived her life. You would never see Brenda struggle or give up. She would always figure it out or get it done no matter what.”
Brenda’s attitude has inspired Traci to adopt that same approach to her daily work and life. “There are lots of situations at work that I would have gone to Brenda for help, but now I have had to remind myself that Brenda would have just figured it out. She wouldn’t stress about it. I can hear her saying, ‘It's ok, we will get it figured out!’ So I take a moment and take a deep breath and figure things out by process of elimination, just like she would have done.” Traci explained, “I know there are many more people that she inspired in the same way over the years. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to make sure her memory lived on around our office.”
Girls don’t work in transportation fields. Or at least that was an unspoken sentiment for decades in what had always been a male-dominated industry. Slowly but surely the landscape is changing to be more inclusive and several Iowa Department of Transportation employees are helping lead the change through Iowa’s award-winning WTS International (formerly known as Women’s Transportation Seminar) chapter.