Bob Dickerson has spent his career finding ways to get money into the hands of people. For years, he did it as a commercial and consumer lending officer while working at several large financial institutions. Today, he does it as the Executive Director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center and Chief Executive Officer of Foundation Capital, a Small Business Administration Certified Development Company.
Bob founded the BBRC in 1996 after realizing there was no program in Birmingham that combined loan programs with capacity building and advocacy – three things every business needs to succeed. Bob secured the support of Birmingham elected officials, and various development companies and boards to start the BBRC. What he ended up with was an organization that has become a “one-stop shop” for small business financing and technical assistance.
“We see projects that range from a few thousand dollars, to projects that go as high as several million dollars,” Bob said. He added that the programs the BBRC manages have included nearly $900 million in loans to businesses since 1996. Bob graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1973 with a degree in business administration. He has worked at several financial institutions but said that working for Birmingham business icon, A. G. Gaston, may have been the greatest moment in his career. Gaston made such an impression on Bob, that he and others started the A.G. Gaston Economic Empowerment Conference in 2005. The annual conference looks at the challenges and achievements of black and other minority businesses and examines how to strengthen them through networking, skills development and targeted workshops. The conference is usually held in February in Birmingham. Recently, Bob founded Building Alabama Reinvestment (BAR), a statewide coalition focused on banks’ efforts under the Community Reinvestment Act.
Bob is a member of several foundations, boards and civic organizations. He serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), president of the Lawson State Community College Foundation Board and the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama’s Board of Directors. He was recently appointed to the National Business League’s board as well. His efforts in helping people earned him the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s Jesse J. Lewis Jr. Community Service Award in 2001; and the Birmingham Business Journal’s Wachovia Minority Business Executive of the Year in 2007.
Bob and the BBRC received the national “Access to Capital” award from the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency in 2009. In the fall of 2013, Dickerson received recognition as “Executive of the Year” from the Birmingham Business Alliance, a recognition which also had him serve as “Executive in Residence” at the Samford University Brock School of Business. Recently, Bob was invited to participate on the Inaugural Community Advisory Board for BBVA Compass Bank. In this capacity, he will help to guide BBVA Compass executives and board directors with feedback, direction and support into a more successful future of high impact community development programs. Bob is an avid golfer, sports enthusiast and has four adult children and two grandchildren.