Andre Dickens is a City of Atlanta council member, businessman, nonprofit executive, engineer, speaker, deacon, father, and native Atlantan. His career follows his passions and his impact follows his commitment.
As the Post 3 At-Large Council member he is a vocal and legislative leader on educational opportunities for Atlanta Public Schools students, affordable housing, transportation, workforce development, and seasoned citizens programming. He currently serves as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, providing oversight to city streets, bridges, sidewalks, paths, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport.
Some of his legislative highlights include: creating the Department of Transportation, implementing a $15 per hour minimum wage, establishing a BeltLine Inclusionary Zoning for affordable housing, establishing the Atlanta Youth Commission, setting aside a $40 million Housing Opportunity Bond, creating a joint commission between City Council and APS board, and establishing a BeltLine senior housing rehab program. He has also co-authored legislation to ban smoking, including e-cigarettes devices, inside Atlanta bars and restaurants, city government and public buildings, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. In 2017, he sponsored and helped launch the Teen “Midnight” Basketball League, a program which includes workshops that help young men develop life skills and further their education.
Dickens is the Georgia Community Leader for TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofit organizations. In 2018, he co-founded the Technology Career Program. The free program is designed to prepare unemployed and individuals experiencing a disadvantaged in the work field for a career in the growing technology job market. The program teaches them high demand technology skills while helping participants land jobs in IT departments across Atlanta.
He also serves as a member of the Georgia Tech Alumni Board of Directors, an Alumnus of Leadership Atlanta, Diversity Leadership Atlanta, United Way VIP; Regional Leadership Institute, member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc.; deacon of New Horizon Baptist Church; and several other organizations and affiliations.
Council member Dickens was elected citywide to the Atlanta City Council Post 3 at-Large in November 2013. He previously served as the chairman of the Public Safety Committee and the Community Development Committee, as well as on the boards of the Atlanta BeltLine, Invest Atlanta, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Dickens served as the Assistant Director of Outreach Initiatives for Georgia Tech’s Office of Institute Diversity. He spearheaded the African-American Male Institute, which resulted in a significant increase in the GPA and graduation rate among black males. He also managed the Focus graduate school recruitment program and the Challenge Program that helps hundreds of students successfully transition into college life each year.
Early in his career, he worked as a sales engineer for DSM Engineering Plastics and became the youngest and first black salesman of the year. At the age of 28, he co-founded City Living Home Furnishings, which grew into a multi-million dollar retail business with two locations. Dickens ran the company for nine years until 2011.
Dickens is a proud product of Atlanta Public Schools and a graduate of Mays High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s of public administration degree in Economic Development at Georgia State University.
He enjoys spending time with his 14-year old daughter, experiencing live music, attending church services, and traveling the world. He is an avid Atlanta sports fan and enjoys supporting the Falcons, Hawks, Braves, United, Dream, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Some of Dickens’ key accomplishments so far include:
• Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a resolution to create a John Lewis Task Force, which led to the renaming of Freedom Parkway to John Lewis Freedom Parkway, a new permanent art exhibit at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and other projects that will cement the works and legacy of civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, throughout the city of Atlanta.
• Atlanta City Council unanimously passed Dickens’ landmark inclusionary zoning legislation that requires developers building new residential rental units near the BeltLine or Westside District to set aside 10 percent of those units for households at 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) or below OR 15 percent of those units for households at 80 percent AMI or below. This is a result of three years of research & policy development led by Councilmember Dickens’ focus on housing affordability. This policy demonstrates the commitment of the city of Atlanta to provide diversity in its housing stock for residents of all income levels around the BeltLine and Westside.
• The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed Dickens’ City of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools Resolution which formally expresses the Council’s support for an ongoing partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools through a joint committee to share policy goals to be implemented by the City and school administrations.
• Co-sponsored legislation and led the creation of the critical details of the $40 million Housing Opportunity Bond issuance for 2017 which will fund important initiatives including homeowner renovations, multifamily loans, single family loans, nonprofit development loans and land assemblage for affordable and workforce housing development.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2017 for a feasibility study to create a single transportation-focused department, an Atlanta department of transportation (DOT) within the city of Atlanta that will design, operate, manage and maintain the city of Atlanta’s transportation system and transit projects and infrastructure.
• As a Councilmember and a Board Member of both Invest Atlanta and the BeltLine, he has initiated and supported policies that encourage affordable housing throughout the City of Atlanta. Working with the Administration, other Councilmembers, Invest Atlanta, members of the non-profit sector and for-profit housing professionals and housing advocates, Dickens sponsored and passed an ordinance to ensure that any multi-family residential for lease development using public moneys through a development authority would need to set aside either 10% of the units for families at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and below or 15% of the units for families at 80% AMI and below.
• Dickens led the effort to pass Affordable Housing Impact Statement Legislation in 2015 which has now become a model legislation for other cities across the nation.
• He authored an amendment that was passed by the Invest Atlanta Board that requires all proceeds from the sale of a property adjacent to the Eastside Trail to be used for the development of affordable housing on the Westside of the BeltLine for seniors to have resources to stay in their homes and not be displaced.
• In 2014 Atlanta City Council unanimously agreed to a resolution that Dickens sponsored – preserving the connectivity to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The resolution urged the mayor, planners, and developers for the new Falcons stadium to take immediate action on devising a plan to retain its current connectivity to downtown Atlanta.
• In 2014, the Atlanta Business League named the new councilmember one of Atlanta’s Men of Influence.
• Councilman Dickens supported the redevelopment of the historic 11-story Flatiron Building into an incubator for entrepreneurship in downtown Atlanta. The development is expected to include 36,000 square feet of workspace for more than 300 startups and entrepreneurs. Microsoft plans to work with the Atlanta Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) to create a Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) in the iconic building.
• He co-sponsored the City of Atlanta Innovation Center, Demonstration Project to accelerate business growth by providing entrepreneurs an opportunity to beta test their products/ideas by accessing City resources.
• Dickens authored legislation to revive the Youth Commission and repopulate its board. The Youth Commission addresses issues relevant to Atlanta’s youth regarding policy and legislation that impacts young people.
• The Atlanta City Council voted to approve a “ban the box” legislation that was co-sponsored by Andre Dickens and other council members. The City of Atlanta no longer requires applicants to reveal prior convictions on employment applications. The legislation made it policy except when state and/or federal laws require criminal background investigations for specific positions, like those that involve work with children, positions in law enforcement, and other sensitive positions. Each year the City of Atlanta and Fulton County have 2,400 people returning home from Georgia’s jails and prisons seeking employment. Ban the Box is a national movement designed to give job applicants with criminal histories a fair chance to compete for jobs.
• As a result of the 2014 snowstorms, Dickens initiated and led the drafting of legislation to engage Georgia Tech in becoming involved in efforts to review the City’s preparedness plan for natural disasters. The Atlanta City Council approved legislation to request and authorize the Georgia Institute of Technology to assist the City Utilities Committee in assessing the City of Atlanta’s Natural Disaster Emergency Response Plan.