Paul Carlson Partnership Names New Executive Director

Post a Comment » Written on June 3rd, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (June 3, 2008) – Byron E. Miller will assume new responsibilities as executive director of the Paul Carlson Partnership, it was announced today.

Miller, who with his wife, Joyce, resides in Glen Ellyn, is a member of the Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church. He will assume his new duties on July 1.

Miller brings extensive experience in a variety of areas, including international economic development, medical research and development consultation and business and management, as well as giving leadership to the development and implementation of numerous mission initiatives on behalf of his local church and the Central Conference.

MillerHis interest in international affairs was sparked at an early age, when missionaries often visited the Baptist church where his family attended in western Kansas. Several family members in both his and his wife’s families also have been involved in mission work over the years.

It was that early influence that would lead him and his wife to join the Peace Corps and teach in Mtwara Girls School in Tanzania, Africa. The family, which includes three married sons, also lived for a number of years in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

They maintained an interest in Tanzania and years later assisted in developing the Tanzanian Association of Women Entrepreneurs through a Chicago organization, Heartland International.

Miller served as managing director for Middle Eastern activities for A.T. Kearney, a major international consulting firm working in areas of economic development and project development and evaluation. He has served as chief operating officer or president for four companies varying in size from a small staff to more than 120 employees, focusing in areas of consulting, clinical research and drug development. He has 10 years of experience in the health industry, primarily with drug, device and diagnostic development and manufacturing.

His heart, however, kept telling him there had to be a way to use his skills and experience in some area of mission and ministry. That desire took deeper root during the 2004 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis where the video documentary on the life of Covenant medical missionary Dr. Paul Carlson – Monganga Paul – was first shown. Carlson was killed in 1964 during a rebel assault in Congo.

Information also was provided on the revitalized Paul Carlson Partnership, which was pursuing improvements in Congo in areas of health, education and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure following six devastating years of civil unrest.

“I saw how economic development was going in parallel with spiritual development and I was excited,” Miller says of that experience and the work of the partnership. He had already been entertaining the idea of some day starting a venture capital fund and returning to Tanzania to help develop self-sustaining micro business enterprises to improve the lives of the people.

“The challenge now is how to take the lessons I’ve learned and apply them to regions that are in early stages of development, like Congo and other regions around the world. If successful, that work can help build the church and strengthen the mission.”

There is a clear sense of passion driving his intense interest in combining his experience and his faith.

“Read the Bible. I am told there are something like 2,000 quotations in scripture concerning helping the poor, the needy and the sick,” he notes. “What a mandate – to respond to all of these needs. I find that enormously exciting.”

logoHis discovery of the Covenant provides another interesting insight into the way he believes God has guided him to this moment. While living in Egypt, he and his wife attended a protestant church. During the flight from Egypt to resettle in Glen Ellyn, the couple drafted a checklist of eight criteria they agreed to use in evaluating a potential new church home.

“We visited several churches – and the best score was a five,” Miller recalls. While driving through the area one Sunday evening, they noticed a church with a parking lot that was full. That impressed them enough to visit the church – Glen Ellyn Covenant – the following Sunday morning. “They met all eight,” he says, smiling.

Miller is a former chair of the church and served as chair of the mission committee and as treasurer of the Central Conference, among other activities. He also played a significant role in conceiving the Central Conference Kingdom Growth fund-raising initiative.

“I’ve known Byron since we moved to the Chicago area following my retirement from the U.S. Air Force, working with him in several capacities over the past 16 years, primarily through the Glen Ellyn Covenant Church,” says J. Randall Johnson. “Byron brings passion, creativity, energy and perseverance, ‘out of the box’ thinking, entrepreneurial skills, extensive networking proclivities, and exceptional commitment to every task he undertakes,” Johnson adds. “He sees the big picture while attending to all the details.”

That sentiment is shared by Covenant President Glenn Palmberg, who inspired and gave leadership to the revitalization of the Paul Carlson Partnership.

“The reactivation of the Paul Carlson Partnership has been very rewarding . . . and now is poised to expand further,” Palmberg observes. “Byron brings the experience, the knowledge and the energy to move the Paul Carlson Partnership into the future. We believe God has brought this gifted man and our need together at this time.”

The search process was an extensive one, notes Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission who also serves as president of the Paul Carlson Partnership Board. More than 20 applications were received, with six individuals selected for interviews with a search committee that included Palmberg and Peterson, as well as board chair Harold Spooner, Debbie Blue, executive minister of the Department of Compassion, Mercy and Justice, and Ruth Hill, executive minister of Women Ministries.

A news story on the search appeared in the online daily news report on the Covenant website as well as the Paul Carlson Partnership web area. The search committee’s recommendation of Miller to the Paul Carlson Partnership Board was unanimous.

“Byron brings passion as well as a wealth of experience and training to this call,” Peterson says. “This will enhance the important work of rebuilding hope in areas of desperate need like Congo, addressing issues of health, education and poverty reduction. Byron’s international experience in Africa and the Middle East, as well as his organizational development success in the past, will help the Paul Carlson Partnership move forward with even greater impact, excellence and vision.

“Byron is the right person for this season of growth and development,” Peterson adds. “We are excited by his energy, his insights, and his passion for this work. He is a devoted follower of Christ who has volunteered in many capacities to serve Christ and the Covenant church locally and regionally. We welcome Byron to the leadership team in the partnership ministry in memory of Dr. Paul Carlson.”

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