Born in Columbus, Ohio, he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from University of Dayton in 1989. He then went on to earn a master's degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School in 1994, while he was working for General Motors. He joined Ford in 2000, when he became manager of the Van Dyke transmission plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. In 2002, he was promoted to executive director of Ford Motor Company's Material Planning and logistics, which controlled production control, scheduling, inventory management, logistics and total material flow at all of Ford’s manufacturing facilities worldwide. In 2003, he became the director manufacturing and Vehicle Operations, where he was responsible for the quality, production, and launches of Ford's SUVs. Hinrichs later joined Ford of Canada as CEO, where he spread the company nationwide and restructured it like it's North American operations, where he had spread the company all over the country, opening factories and distribution centers, and picked up affiliates, like Hertz. On November 1, 2005, he became the Vice President of Ford Motor Company, which is his current position, and he is also responsible for overseeing the operations of 19 assembly plants.