Trevor Milton is an American billionaire. He is the founder and former executive chairman of Nikola Corporation. In September 2020, Milton abruptly resigned from his position after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice began investigating claims that Milton and the Nikola Corporation committed securities fraud.
Early life and education
Milton was born in Utah to Bill Milton, a Union Pacific Railroad manager, and Sally Milton, a realtor. He has a brother and three sisters. The family moved to Las Vegas when Milton was a toddler, but returned to Utah when he was eight. When he was 15 years old, his mother passed away from cancer.
Milton is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, after high school, went on an 18-month church mission to Brazil, where he became fluent in Portuguese.
He dropped out of college after one semester at Utah Valley State College to pursue a career in sales and marketing.
Milton started an alarm sales company immediately after quitting college called St. George Security and Alarm and eventually exited the business for a stated $300,000, though his former business partner claims he was led to believe the exit payment was "much smaller." Milton then launched an online classified ads website selling used cars, which eventually failed and was then followed by Milton’s first alternative energy vehicles company called dHybrid. Inc that retrofitted commercial trucks with engines that could run on natural gas instead of diesel.
dHybrid landed a truck-conversion deal with Swift Transportation, leading to a mid-2012 lawsuit predicated on dHybrid's failure to deliver on its agreement. dHybrid would eventually be purchased by Worthington Industries in 2014 and, in 2015, Milton founded Nikola Motor Company with his brother, Travis, as the director of operations with a background in construction and remodeling.
Milton lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife, Chelsey Bergmann, who he married in 2018. In November 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that Milton had bought a 2,000-acre Utah ranch with a 16,800 square foot riverside mansion for $32.5 million. The purchase set a new record for the price paid for a home in the state.
In September 2020, Forbes assessed Milton's net worth to be at least $3.2 billion, as he owned about 25% of the company, which was valued at about $12.4 billion.