John was born in Pensacola, Florida and lived most of his childhood and teenage years in Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama. He began working at the Birmingham Zoo at the age of 16 being assigned to both the Children’s Zoo and Bird departments.
During his four years at the Birmingham Zoo, John became one of the most experienced Children’s Zoo and Bird keepers and was instrumental in the design and construction phase of the Zoo’s $5.5 million dollar addition called Alabama Wilds. He also honed numerous other skills during this phase of his career including show presentations, large reptile handling, venomous snake handling, TV appearances and conducting outreach programs. Birds of prey training, otter training, wildlife show development, birthday parties and special events were just a few of John’s many other responsibilities.
After attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he studied Biology, John was recruited and hired by Reptiland. Reptiland is an AZA accredited facility located in Pennsylvania that specializes in reptiles and in particular native and exotic venomous snakes. While employed for three years at Reptiland, John served as Head Reptile Keeper and was responsible not only for the reptile collection but also for their many daily shows and outreach programs. As a collateral duty, John was responsible for, and traveled with, many of Reptiland’s traveling exhibits that are available for lease to museums and institutions in the United States and Canada.
John was contacted by Jared Baker (Animal Tales) in 2009 and made the decision to leave Reptiland to pursue an opportunity to educate thousands of Children and adults through the development of school assembly and other programs with Animal Tales.