David C. Collins
Net Worth: $350 million
Source of Wealth: Technical schools
Residence: Los Angeles
It was a simple idea: Teach people the skills they need to run and program computers the kind of skills they couldn’t get in public schools and colleges.
Since David C. Collins, along with co-founder Eric R. Garen, applied that idea to Learning Tree International Inc. in 1974, the Los Angeles-based technology training school has grown to 15 locations around the world and trained over half a million people in skills ranging from basic computer use to advanced programming.
Among the companies that use the school: Hewlett-Packard Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and AT & T.; The U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy are also customers.
Collins has been chief executive since Learning Tree’s inception. A Baltimore native, Collins holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from USC.
Before founding Learning Tree, Collins taught computer science and developed electrical engineering courses at USC. He also worked at Technology Service Corp., a think tank involved in the development of weapon, surveillance and communication systems.
Since he co-founded Learning Tree 23 years ago, Collins’ wealth has grown to an estimated $350 million, largely based on holdings in the company. Collins’ wife, Mary Adams, serves as the company’s vice president of administration.
Collins helped take Learning Tree public in December of 1995. The company had a net income of $12.3 million in fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1996, up from $8.1 million the year before.