David Worthington was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1941. He attended Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, graduating in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in geology. Two years later he obtained his master's degree in geophysics from Virginia Tech, where he conducted a number of ultrasonic seismic wave model studies. His professional affiliations include membership in both the AAPG and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
In the same year he finished his studies at Virginia Tech, Worthington began a 12-year career with Shell Oil, which concluded with his becoming the exploration manager of Shell's Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Division. He used the knowledge gleaned from this experience to form an offshore exploration firm, which transitioned into TGS Geophysical Company.
TGS would later be renamed TGS-Calibre, with Worthington as its CEO and holding majority ownership position. This Company then merged with the Norwegian firm Nopec Geophysical, becoming TGS-NOPEC and Worthington served as Chairman from 1999 until 2004, and remained a director on the Board until June 2007.
The David Worthington Family Named Grant is awarded annually to a deserving student studying paleontology through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program, and is funded by the AAPG Foundation with generous contributions from David and Beverly Worthington.