Gerald W. Smith (born 1 December 1929, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.) is the American author of "Engineering Economy: Analysis of Capital Expenditures" (Iowa State Press) the textbook used by several generations of Industrial Engineering college students from around the world. He is an Emeritus Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where he was a Professor of Industrial Engineering from 1956-1988. He received degrees in Engineering from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in 1952, Masters of Science in 1958, P.H.D. in 1961. His 1958 masters theses was entitled "The Obsolescence Allowance in Equipment Replacement Decisions" and his 1961 P.H.D. dissertation "Regulatory Policies on Liberalized Depreciation and Their Effects Upon Public Utilities."
Four editions of his textbook were published in 1968, 1973, 1979, and 1987. While writing his book, Smith worked in his home office next to a window overlooking the house next door where Iowa State University professor John Vincent Atanasoff had lived while building the world's first electronic digital computer from 1937-1942.
He served in virtually all of the Offices of the Engineering Economy Division of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), including the chairmanship. In 1964 he was Iowa State's representative at the General Electric Professors conference; in 1968-1971 he was designated Iowa State's Alcoa Professor; in 1969 he was recipient of the Eugene L. Grant Award for best paper in The Engineering Economist from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). From 1970 - 1976 he served that journal as an associate editor for Book Reviews; he has also served on the editorial board of IIE Transactions. He and his graduate students contribute gratis their efforts in the annual publication Engineering Economy Abstracts, which he originated. In 1974 he received the Iowa State University Faculty Citation; in 1981 he received the Outstanding Teacher Award from Iowa State's College of Engineering; in 1986 the Engineering Economy Division of the Institute for Industrial Engineers named him recipient of the Wellington Award for Outstanding Contributions in Engineering Economy. He has consulting and industrial experience, and is a registered professional engineer.
In addition to teaching at Iowa State, Smith taught engineering extension classes to Bell Telephone Systems engineers for two decades. He taught classes off-campus in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa, and to Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill and Holmdel, New Jersey; Virgin Islands Telephone Company in St. Thomas, USVI; Otter Tail Power Company in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and Alberta Telephone in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
He grew up in Sioux City, Iowa and played trumpet in his high school band at Sioux City Central High School.
He lives in Ames, Iowa with his wife Phyllis and is the father of photographer Brian Smith of Miami Beach, Florida.