John Jernigan was born in a rural community near Goldsboro North Carolina where his family farmed tobacco, corn and cotton.  He attended Campbell University for two years (with Harold Falls no less!) then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning a BS in Chemistry in 1967.  Following graduation he worked for the Research Triangle Institute at the Research Triangle Park in Durham North Carolina for approximately 1.5 years isolating and identifying a compound that provides peach trees resistance to a bacterium.  He then completed a Masters Degree in organic chemistry at East Carolina University at Greenville, North Carolina in 1971.  His Masters project included synthesizing and identifying compounds from the addition of dichlorocarbene to 6,6-diphenylfulvene and resulted in a publication and his thesis.


In 1970 he accepted a product development position with the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company in Aurora North Carolina (the company is now PCS Phosphate) where he did extensive development work on formulating, manufacturing and characterizing liquid fertilizers from phosphoric acids derived from calcined North Carolina phosphate rock.  He performed development work in manufacturing and characterizing ammonium phosphates and superphosphate fertilizers, in formulating feed products, in studying processes to reduce metals in phosphoric acid products, in calcination technology and in developing new processes and identifying existing processes to produce food and technical grade phosphoric acids from fertilizer grade acids (one patent issued).  These projects involved domestic and international travel to work with customers, vendors and purified acid manufacturers.  In 1987 he was promoted to Laboratory Supervisor, the position he currently occupies.  During his tenure major changes in laboratory functions have occurred to add automation and the capacity to analytically support production and shipment certification of food and technical grade phosphoric acids.


John served as Chairman of the Fertilizer and Soil Chemistry Division and of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the American Chemical Society and also served on various Division and local Chapter committees.  He is a member of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International (AOACI), the Association of Fertilizer and Phosphate Chemists (AFPC) and the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) serving on the Magruder Check Sample Committee and on the Laboratory Services Committee and participating in the Metals Forum.  He served as an event leader with the Washington High School Student Challenge/Science Olympiad teams.   


John is married to Jolene Crouch Jernigan, who is Director of Student Health Services with East Carolina University.  They have three children. One is a MD, one a nurse and one a musician.