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Lifts : CTEC Inc.
The installation of a CTEC lift at
Solitude Ski Resort, UT.
CTEC (Cable Transportation Engineering Corporation) was founded
in 1977 by Jan Leonard and Mark Ballantyne who were both former
Thiokol employees. When Thiokol got out of the aerial lift industry
in 1976 to pursue the manufacturing of booster engines for NASA,
it sold its aerial lift designs to Leonard and Ballantyne in 1978.
By 1982, CTEC was the second largest aerial lift manufacturer in
North America, with a total of nineteen lift installations.
Both leading characters hold engineering degrees, Leonard from
Penn State in 1968 and Ballantyne from Purdue in 1971. When Leonard
from Penn State, he spent two years working for U.S. Steel before
going to work for Hall Ski Lifts in 1971. An urge to do more field
work led him out west to Thiokol in 1974 when the company still
in the chairlift business. It was at Thiokol where Leonard and Ballantyne
both met, where Ballantyne was employed as an assistant marketing
manager. When Thiokol was starting to worry about its chairlift
division, Leonard and Ballantyne were already in the process of
creating a consulting and modifications business. When Thiokol finally
got out of the aerial lift business in 1977, Ballantyne has already
moved to Sacramento, California to handle Thiokol's snow cat division.
Leonard moved south to Salt Lake City, Utah and began a new career.
A CTEC triple chair at Big Mountain,
In 1976 on, the pair joined forces to develop a lift consulting
modifications business that serviced customers in North America.
However, CTEC continued to do consulting work for Thiokol because
the company was still in the process of installing lifts in 1977.
In 1978, Leonard and Ballantyne bought Thiokol's inventory and lift.
That same year, CTEC installed its first lift at Seven Springs,
PA, which was an up-and-over lift capable of transporting 1,800
people each direction, with a total hourly capacity of 3,600 people.
While continuing in the consulting business, CTEC was able to secure
five more lifts installations during the next two seasons at Seven
Springs, Snow Basin, Solitude, Pebble Creek and in Puerto Rico.
In 1981, CTEC made some major product line changes and managed to
install five lifts that year at Big Mountain, Snoshoe, Seven Springs,
Snow King and Los Alamos Ski Club. One thing that makes CTEC's lifts
so attractive are their high horse power (200-300) capabilities,
which is the typical needs of western ski areas.
"The industry is not entrenched; they'll give a new company a chance
and they are very receptive to a new mousetrap," says Ballantyne
of his company's ability to grow so quickly. "It's okay to
be the new guy on the block in this business." "In this
business you sell yourself as much as your product," says Leonard.
"We're a quiet company whose nature is not to make a lot of
noise; neither one of us is much of a salesman. We just try to turn
out the best product. We're selling reliability and simplicity,
The Sacramento fabrication shop.
It's fair to say that CTEC is a two-scene act. Leonard oversees
Scene 1 in Salt Lake City, UT where engineers prepare lift designs
and sales are taken place. Scene 2, is the manufacturing facility
in Sacramento, CA where Ballantyne oversees.
CTEC first began to develop its own parts in 1979 under Ballantyne's supervision. Initially he agonized over a $10,000 capital budget, but because of rapid growth, that quickly changed to a quarter million budget for new equipment. The Sacramento facility amounts to 24,000 square feet including a modest amount of office space and five back bays to handle lift component fabrication. CTEC also services and sells DeLorean Motor Company over-snow vehicles, which was once owned by Thiokol.
CTEC's production facility was probably most notable for its enthusiastic
division heads and employee. It didn't take long to get the feeling
that employees thought the company was going some place.
Before merging with Garaventa in March of 1993, CTEC Inc. was able
to install a total of 144 lifts during its lifetime. However, Mark
Ballantyne left Garaventa CTEC in 1999 to form a new company in
Sacramento, California. Today, CTEC Inc. is now part of the Doppelmayr/
Garaventa group, with Jan Leonard being the president of the North
American division, Doppelmayr CTEC.
An overview of one of CTEC's stainless
steel and investment casted grips.
All pictures and content were gathered from SAM
Magazine, November, 1981 ©