Alumni Stories

Martin Gerra (F’49)

Former Manager of International Economics, IBM

Location: Philodemic Room, Healy Hall, Georgetown University
Interviewer/Producer: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
Editor: Lisa Fthenakis (C’10)Martin Gerra

Gerra was 14 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941. At 17, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His most vivid World War II memory is of winning a tennis tournament. He was discharged and came to Georgetown in January 1947 in hopes of starting an international career. Upon graduating in 1949, Gerra got a job at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 12 years, he worked in the federal government in model building and econometrics. Then, Gerra joined IBM, where he saw the computer and electronics industry develop. Here, he shares the story of heading the research and development division for one of IBM’s departments. Gerra recalls working on a project to make a computer that could fit in an attaché case—a feat that their managers deemed impossible.

Gerra retired from IBM in 1988 after 25 years of service. He was primarily responsible for advising senior management of economic and business conditions, exchange rates and other factors affecting operations worldwide, as well as coordinating the activities of IBM economists in 19 countries. Previously, Gerra held a number of management positions in marketing, finance and planning for IBM. He also spent 15 months as special assistant to the president at Gallaudet University under IBM’s Faculty Loan Program. Gerra frequently writes and speaks on international economics. He has lectured in more than 20 countries.

Additional Resources

The Washington Post
Letters to the Editor
“Will the Fed’s latest action boost the economy?”
Nov. 11, 2010

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