John is a civil engineer having obtained his Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of NSW in 1970. He subsequently joined Housing Commission of NSW as a graduate engineer in the roads construction branch.
In 1974 John completed a Master of Engineering Science Degree in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of NSW. From 1974 to 2003 he worked for a number of large engineering consultancies engaged in the design and development of water, electricity and mining infrastructure projects both in Australia and internationally. In his more senior years, John was heavily involved in both marketing and business development.
In 2003 John started his own engineering consultancy specialising in the design and development of water and small hydro power infrastructure and continues to operate this business.
In December, 2007 John was elected as a non-executive Director of Roblan Pty Ltd upon the retirement of his father Ken Roberts who was one of the founding members of Robertson and Lansley Pty Ltd .