Fred E. Schwab
Induction: 1991Industry Areas:
Dedicated to the growth of the plastics industry, dating back to early efforts in the developing technology of three-dimensional polystyrene products and thermoplastic extrusion and its commercial applications.
Schwabs service to the U.S. plastics industry began when, as an 18-year-old immigrant from Germany in 1937, he applied his knowledge of acrylic dental materials to the young plastics industry. This led to the formation of Schwab and Frank, Inc., which manufactured and supplied plastics dental compounds.
Following his service in the U.S. Army, he refocused his activities to the development of polystyrene compounds for use in packaging and decorative ornaments, leading to the development of multi-colored and double durometer cross head thermoplastic extrusion. Other innovations attributed to Fred Schwab are the development of interlocking tubing, tension springs, and extruded spiral wrappings. His activities in product development and marketing made a major impact on the use of plastics in the automotive industry.
His service to the plastics industry is truly legendary. He is one of the co-founders of SPE in 1942, and a vice president, president, board member, and council member of the Detroit Section. He is currently Board Member Emeritus. Schwab has served on many SPE ANTEC committees, as well as Automotive Division Boards. He received his third Outstanding Member Award in 1969 and was honored as a Distinguished Member of SPE in 1980. Schwab received the SPE Presidents Cup Award in 1984 and was co-founder of the SPE Section in Central Europe in 1986.
He is currently a Trustee of the National Plastics Center and Museum, vice president of The Plastics Academy, and a governor of the Plastics Pioneers Association. He is a member of SPI Automotive Market Council Technical Committee, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Engineering Society of Detroit, and an executive board member of the Excellence in Plastics and Rubber Education Committee at Ferris State University.
His dedication of time and talent to the industry has earned him the title of "the heart and conscience" of the plastics industry.
He was born in 1918 in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI, with his wife Marianne. They have two children.