Etherington grew up in Cartmel, Cumbria, also known as the Lake District, in North England, on the Irish Sea and about 40 miles from Sellafield. The son and nephew of engineers, since retired, he grew up immersed in a family business that did piece work for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, British Aerospace and others. The business was replete with lathes, mills, laser cutting machines, press breaks, computer controlled and automated machines and lots of leftover materials he re-purposed for his own projects.
Etherington remembers a childhood filled with making things by folding metal, cutting steel, and learning from the process of trial and error how to make things better with each new iteration. Undoubtedly, he carefully watched his family’s engineering exploits closely, learning how an engineering business runs, giving him the confidence to operate as the lead contractor on projects that require a diverse range of skill sets and coordination of many geographically-dispersed parties.