William "Doc" Pickard built an auto assembly supply powerhouse in the late 1990s and early 2000s, setting a path for Black entrepreneurs entering the industry. With injection molding under Regal Plastics and fuel tank blow molding with Vitek LLC, an auto exterior joint venture and assembly operations — brought together under the Global Automotive Alliance in 1999 — Pickard said the companies could provide "one-stop shopping" for carmakers.
"Anything from interior components to entire fuel tanks to complete bumper fascias will be part of it," he told Plastics News in 1999. "We're stronger by offering a broad range of capabilities from one location.''
GAA is still running, though now offering assembly, logistics and supply chain management. Pickard has also continued to influence a new generation of auto industry workers through his businesses and donations to colleges and institutions such as the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
He will be honored Feb. 24 by the General Motors African American Network, a group of GM employees, at an event in Detroit.
"[He] is a visionary and trailblazer like no other," Tamberlin Golden, director of Workforce Strategy at GM and GMAAN president, told the Detroit Free Press in a profile about Pickard. "His bold leadership, dedication to service and entrepreneurial pursuits have paved the way for economic empowerment and advancement for many."