After 10 years with Bell Aerospace Corporation where he was Director of Avionics Research, Dr. Gerhardt joined Rensselaer in 1970. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1974, and was selected as Chairman of the newly merged Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department in 1975, a position he held through 1986. The ECSE Department growth and development during these years was nationally recognized in a National Academy of Science report receiving the top rating in the most improved program category, as well as being rated in the top 10 percent in other categories. In 1986, he was appointed Director of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, which subsequently won the worldwide SME/CASA LEAD Award for Excellence in CIM.
Since the early 90s, he has been Associate Dean of Engineering, responsible for research and graduate programs in the School of Engineering, now at a reported annual expenditure level above $35 million. He also served as Founding Director of the Center for Manufacturing Productivity. Dr. Gerhardt's areas of interest include pattern recognition and adaptive systems, digital signal processing, computer integrated manufacturing, and communications.