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John Fernandez is a partner and innovation strategy director for Dentons, an international legal practice serving clients in key business and financial centers from more than 60 locations worldwide. Fernandez also serves at the chief operating officer for Wirthlin, a Dentons innovation group partnership. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Fernandez in 2009 as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. As the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), Fernandez was the chief architect of the administration’s regional innovation strategies. During his tenure, Fernandez launched new coordinated federal initiatives to accelerate innovation-based growth strategies. While at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Fernandez represented the United States government at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”), where he served as Chairman of the Territorial Development Policy Committee.

Prior to his appointment, Fernandez led the new development and acquisition team at First Capital Group, an Indiana-based real estate investment firm. Fernandez served as Bloomington, Indiana’s mayor from 1996 to 2003, working with business and Indiana University leaders to launch Bloomington’s Life Sciences Partnership, thus securing over $243 million in private investments and creating 3,700+ jobs.

Fernandez received a Doctor of Law from Indiana University in ’92 and a Master of Public Affairs and Bachelor of Science from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.