John was born in 1958 in Chesterfield and lived in the USA from 1963 to 1967. He was educated at Bedford Modern School, Sheffield University and Cranfield School of Management. He has worked in local newspapers, local authorities, civil aviation; and universities since 1991, and is now Director of Recruitment and Partnerships at University of Wolverhampton. John's father worked as an academic in the College of Aeronautics from 1967 to 1994 and is now an Emeritus Professor. John's family lived on the Cranfield campus from 1967 to 1970 – firstly on Prince Philip Avenue and then Handley Page Close. John came back in 1990 to study for his MBA full time.