In his new role as Global Chief Innovation Officer for Dentons, John is developing and overseeing the growth of innovative projects globally across the Firm. John has been serving as Chief Innovation Officer for Dentons' U.S. Region, and is also the Global Chair of Nextlaw Labs, Dentons' legal technology business accelerator that identifies opportunities for new technologies to deliver greater client value.
A graduate of Indiana University, John was nominated by President Barack Obama to the post of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, leading the Economic Development Administration. Fernandez was sworn into office on September 14, 2009. As the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), Fernandez was charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy. With over 13 years of executive experience, Fernandez has earned a reputation as a strategic thinker, creative problem solver and effective manager.
Prior to his appointment, Fernandez led the new development and acquisition team at First Capital Group, an Indiana-based real estate investment firm. Fernandez played a critical role in expanding the firm’s regional and national investment footprint.
Fernandez also served as Of Counsel for Krieg DeVault LLP, an Indianapolis-based law firm, where he advised private and governmental organizations on economic development, public finance and policy issues. Fernandez served as Bloomington, Indiana’s mayor from 1996 to 2003. With his leadership, Bloomington’s economy thrived despite facing significant changes arising from the new global economy. Fernandez worked with business and Indiana University leaders to launch Bloomington’s Life Sciences Partnership, securing more than $243 million in private investments and creating more than 3,700 jobs. He also developed an aggressive downtown revitalization plan resulting in more than $100 million in new investments.