2012 Hall of Fame: Carl Gerhardt – Exuding Trust and Integrity
Allegra Network’s Carl Gerhardt.
Carl Gerhardt (at right) enjoys a traipse through the grapes on his relatives’ farm in Germany.
Carl and Judy Gerhardt enjoy a chair lift ride on the ski slopes.
Carl Gerhardt takes the time to bottle his own wine.
Carl Gerhardt takes a break from traveling in the RV.
Judy and Carl Gerhardt pose with their prized 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster.
The Gerhardts engoy a fall day by relaxing on a bale of hay.
Moving Up the Ranks
Gerhardt presided over the height of Allegra Network’s success, having taken the helm as president in 2004. Three years later, he added CEO to his resumé before transitioning into chairman in 2011, with Mike Marcantonio—who spearheaded the management buyout of the Plymouth, MI-based franchise in 2000—expanding upon his role by becoming CEO.
“Helping our franchise members successfully and profitably grow their companies is certainly the most rewarding aspect of the job,” Gerhardt notes. “The same is true of our staff members. Helping them grow in their careers is very rewarding.
“What’s challenging, though, is seeing people stagnate in their companies or careers and then having to face the tough decisions that come with helping them exit their companies or their careers. It’s not easy, but necessary if one is to maintain a successful company. Not everyone is going to make it.”
Gerhardt knows all too well the difficulty in pulling the trigger on change. He’d become an accomplished executive in the agri business—first with Ralston Purina in sales and marketing for the animal feed and supply aspect, then Alfa Laval, where he started out as sales and marketing director before shifting to vice president and general manager. As a husband and father, the constant relocations—St. Louis, Atlanta, Connecticut and Kansas City—were growing old, as well.
Colorado Springs provided Gerhardt with stability and even more potential for growth. Just two years after acquiring the quick print shop, the master franchise rights to American Speedy were acquired by Bill McIntyre, who asked Gerhardt to help him at the corporate level by assisting fellow franchise owners, while still operating his own Colorado Springs shop.
“I became vice president of the Western Division and served somewhat as a ‘have gun, will travel,’ consulting with franchise members all over North America,” Gerhardt notes. “I was back in the corporate world again, but continued to develop my center in Colorado Springs along with my corporate responsibilities.”