John is a native Rhode Islander and a Providence College graduate. He served his country as an Army officer for over five years on active duty and was recognized for distinguished performance as the most outstanding second lieutenant commissioned in the US Army through the ROTC program nationally. He was a paratrooper, served in Germany with the First Armored Division and later with Headquarters Special Forces Command at Ft. Bragg where he was promoted to the rank of captain.
After leaving military service, John secured his masters degree from the University of Utah and worked as an employee and labor relations executive for a total of ten years with Frito-Lay and the Continental Can Company. During this period he negotiated scores of labor agreements across the country, argued arbitration cases and settled countless grievances. He is an experienced negotiator who has the proven skills to work with both management and organized labor.
In 1987, John founded Perspective Communications, a marketing communications firm that created and produced corporate and broadcast video, multimedia, and meetings and events for local, national and international clients. After twenty years of managing Perspective Communications, John entered the public sector as Senior Advisor to Governor Donald L. Carcieri. In this role, John was responsible for communications strategy, media relations, and the Governor’s advance team.
In 2010, John resigned his position to campaign full-time for governor of Rhode Island. In September, he won the primary election with over 70% of the votes and went on to the general election as the Republican nominee. When the votes were finally counted, John was narrowly defeated in what was an unprecedented election that featured a total of seven candidates for governor on the ballot.
After the election, John founded the Robitaille Consulting Group to promote entrepreneurship, small business development and social enterprises. He presented Johnson & Wales University with a proposal to transform its Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship and create a series of new program offerings including a small business incubator. In June, John became a full time member of the university’s staff and is currently serving as the Executive in Residence.
John and his wife, Lynda, live in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. They have three daughters and five grand children.