Burgers to lead Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Terr.

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Promoted to rank of Commissioner effective September 1.

by Sue Schumann Warner – 

After 41 years, Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger is returning to the country of his birth: He left Switzerland at 18 to “tour around the world” and now, he says, “I have to find my return ticket.”

As of September 1, Lt. Colonels Kurt and Alicia Burger will be territorial leaders for the Switzerland, Austria & Hungary Territory; Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger will serve as Territorial Commander and Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger as Territorial President of Women’s Ministries. They will be promoted to the rank of commissioner on September 1 and 2, respectively.

Their current appointments are Secretary for Business Administration and Territorial Multi-Cultural Ministries secretary, respectively, in the Western Territory. Previously Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger served as divisional leader in the Cascade Division, general secretary in the Northwest Division and divisional secretary in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division; some of Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger’s prior appointments were director of Women’s Services in the Cascade Division, Evangelism and Adult Programs secretary in the Northwest Division and Community Care Ministries secretary in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division. Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger has also served as Western territorial finance secretary, and Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger has served as vice-provost for Cross Cultural Studies and assistant principal at the College for Officer Training.

The son of Salvationist parents, Kurt was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and “grew up” in the Zurich Central Corps; German was his first language. Alicia was born in Tres Arroyos, Argentina, of Danish parents. They are the parents of three—Stacy, Sean, and Michael—and have a granddaughter, Makaylin, age 10.

“It never occurred to me that I’d return to Switzerland,” Burger said in an interview with New Frontier. “We are humbled and excited about the assignment.”

His route to the West was roundabout. After first arriving in Canada, he went on to Southern California; there, he learned that Pepperdine University needed a second chair trumpet player. “Someone asked me if I was interested in trying out,” he recalls, “and I made it. I couldn’t believe it!” His skill in playing the trumpet, he notes, was honed through Army music programs. And at that point, instead of continuing on to South America, his world travels ended.

Goals for the coming months

Burger, who has BA and MBA degrees and is a certified public accountant (CPA), has served at territorial headquarters for the past seven years. Before taking up his new appointment he would like to complete three major projects: an Information Technology (IT) reorganization project; replacement of the current donor management system; and a restructuring of estate management.

“There are now 13 IT departments in the West—one in each of the 10 divisions, one at the Adult Rehabilitation Centers command, and one at the College for Officer Training,” he explained. His goal is to create one IT department with staff throughout the territory, and composed of three sections: hardware, software, and user support. If approved, it would go into effect October 1.

A comprehensive donor management system has been approved and is now in process. “Our system is at least 10 years old and needed to be replaced,” Burger stated. This system will encompass: direct mail, giving via the Internet and e-mail, planned giving, major gifts, and special events, and will be linked to the Adult Rehabilitation Donor system. The $4 million project is scheduled to “go live” in August.

Restructuring the way estates are managed is the third project. “The management of estates and disposition of assets is a complex area—it’s very difficult.” he noted. Due to the highly technical issues involved, divisional staff will need to be strengthened and an estate attorney added to the legal department.

“The role of the business administrator is to position an organization for the future; my job is to forecast ahead five years, so systems don’t fall behind,” he said. “I’ve had a fantastic time at THQ—there’s never a chance to get bored in this job.”

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