With 40 years of experience in boat and shipbuilding, John has played a major role in the development of the Australian aluminium shipbuilding industry. He is the architect responsible for the establishment of Austal and was the Founding Managing Director. John identified markets for high speed ferries throughout Asia which resulted in Austal’s rapid growth. In 1998 he saw the potential for US Defence contracts for high speed aluminium naval ships and he led the formation of a new shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
John was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in January 2004 for services to the Australian shipbuilding industry, and for significant contributions to vocational education and training. He was named “Australian Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young in 2002 and he was awarded the WA Citizen of the Year in the category of Industry and Commerce in 1999.
John stepped down as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on 22 August 2008 to continue as Non Executive Chairman after managing the Company for 20 years.