Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Prechter, Heinz

Heinz Prechter was an innovative entrepreneur, community leader, and philanthropist, who introduced the practice of installing sunroofs in cars to the United States and founded the American Sunroof Company (ASC). Born on January 19, 1942 in Kleinhöbing, Germany, Prechter began his career in the automotive industry at the age of 13 by working as an apprentice in automotive trim, tool, and dye making, and in coach and body building. Prechter went on to gain a wide range of practical experience, working for a number of different German automotive companies while he studied at the OHM Polytechnic Engineering School in Nuremberg, Germany. He came to the United States as a foreign exchange student in 1963, studying Business Administration and English at San Francisco State College. It was during his time as a student in California that Prechter began installing sunroofs in cars, which was then a virtually unknown practice in the United States. By 1965, Prechter had founded the American Sunroof Company in Los Angeles, California. He also founded Heritage Network Incorporated, which was a group of Michigan companies involved in the transportation, hospitality, and communications industries.

Throughout his career, Prechter was recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments, broad community involvement, and political achievements. He was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Harvard Business Club, and he received the Automotive Hall of Fame’s “Automotive Industry Leader of the Year” award. In addition, Prechter sat on many community and corporate boards, including those of Comerica Bank and ThyssenKrupp, and he was a close friend and avid fundraiser for the Bush family. Heinz Prechter passed away on July 6, 2001 at the age of 59. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on October 5, 2004. Today, Prechter’s company, which is now known simply as ASC Incorporated, is headquartered in Southgate, Michigan, and operates successfully at numerous facilities throughout the United States.

Edited by Julia Teran

 


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