John K. Dickerson is the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Senior Advisor to U.S. Southern Command. As such, he represents DOC within the Command’s joint interagency efforts to foster comprehensive whole-of-society solutions for 21st century challenges by integrating the public and private sectors into the shared mission of ensuring security, enhancing stability, and enabling prosperity.
John joined DOC in 2009, returning to public service after a successful twenty-seven year career with Ford Motor Company, which included assignments as an engineer, business planner, and lawyer. He began his transition from the private sector in 2008 by accepting an assignment with a U.S. defense contractor in Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as the Coalition’s Chief Advisor/Mentor to the General Counsel of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. As a Senior Commercial Law Advisor and DOC’s senior member of the Civilian Response Corps, John served on numerous interagency task forces and special projects, including deployments to Haiti (2010), Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011), and Afghanistan (2011-2012), as well as contributing significantly to recent U.S. efforts to provide non-lethal aid to civilian-led unarmed opposition groups in Syria.
John began his professional career in 1974 as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army. In 1979, he joined Ford Motor Company as a product engineer, transferred to the Legal Office of Ford Motor Credit Company in 1984, and then on to the Office of the General Counsel of Ford Motor Company in 1988. Long recognized for his combination of sound legal judgment, business acumen and leadership skills, the senior management of Ford continually relied upon John over his career to handle special projects of particular sensitivity and importance to the company. In his last assignment with Ford, John was the Secretary and Managing Counsel of Ford Global Technologies, an organization responsible for managing the intellectual capital of Ford on a global basis. His previous legal practice with Ford has included domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures and commercial matters; election law and lobbying matters; government contracting and public affairs; dispute resolution; and extensive work with state and federal regulators in diverse areas such as banking and finance law, insurance, employment law, securities law, and occupational health and safety matters.
John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point (’74), as well as a Master of Business Administration (’83) and Juris Doctor (’84) degrees from the University of Detroit. He has lectured at universities and various professional venues on topics such as ethics in business, government-industry cooperative agreements, and the monetization of intellectual property. John has earned numerous awards and recognition for his leadership and expertise, including, most recently, a Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award (2011) and three State Department Meritorious Honor Awards (2010 & 2011).