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CTEC, Incorporated

Cable Transportation Engineering Company, Incorporated, (CTEC) was a chairlift manufacturing company formed in in 1977.

Ballantyne and Leonard

Mark Ballantyne and Jan Leonard were the co-founders of CTEC.

Ballantyne lived in Sacramento, California – manufacturing for the company was based there. Mark Ballantyne received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Leonard lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and he oversaw engineering in a facility in Salt Lake. Jan Leonard was originally from Cumberland, Maryland, and received a civil engineering degree from Penn State.

1981-11 SAM Magazine via skilifts-org [Leonard + Ballantyne]
Photos of Jan Leonard and Mark Ballantyne from SAM Magazine (Ski Area Management Magazine) November 1981 via skilift.org.
They both ended up working for Thiokol Ski lifts in Logan, Utah in the mid-1970s.

Thiokol to CTEC

Thiokol was an American corporation involved with rubber and related chemicals and rocket and missile propulsion systems (it turned out that the polymers they were using in their projects worked well for propulsion systems in rockets). Thiokol was best known for being the manufacturer of the solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle program at NASA. This also led them to be unfortunately known as the manufacturer of the “o”-ring that malfunctioned on the Challenger that destroyed the spacecraft during launch.

From 1971 to 1977, Thiokol operated a division called Thiokol Ski Lifts in Logan, Utah. In 1977, Thiokol decided to get out of the business; they sold their designs to employees Ballantyne and Leonard who were going to leave the company to form CTEC.

The company’s first chairlift was constructed in 1978 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania (and it was replaced in 2001 by CTEC). The company’s first complete system was built in 1981.

CTEC went on to be one of the top three chairlift manufacturers in the 1980s, along with Poma of America and Doppelmayr USA. They produced chairlifts, detachable chairlifts, and gondolas. By 1992, CTEC was the largest lift manufacturer in the United States.

Garaventa and Doppelmayr

In the late 1980s, CTEC began using Garaventa technology, and then in 1993, CTEC decided to sell their company to Garaventa. The merger happened because CTEC wanted to get bigger contracts and Garaventa could easily match the supply necessary for those contracts.

The new company was called Garaventa CTEC and went on to build chairlifts at places like Vail and Telluride, Colorado, but also rides such as Kenny’s Parkway at Kennywood Park in 1996.

In 2002, Garaventa of Switzerland and Doppelmayr of Austria merged. Doppelmayr USA and Garaventa CTEC were reformed as Doppelmayr CTEC. In 2011, Doppelmayr CTEC was renamed as Doppelmayr USA.

2006-02-20 Doppelmayr CTEC Uni-GS Detachable Chairlift [Crystalmountainskier] [CC BY-SA 3-0]
Doppelmayr CTEC Uni-GS model Detachable Chairlift, February 20, 2006. Photo by Crystalmountainskier. Shared under CC BY-SA 3.0.
2006-02-03 Doppelmayr CTEC logo [Crystalmountainskier] [CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3-0]
Doppelmayr CTEC logo, February 20, 2006. Photo by Crystalmountainskier, and cropped from the original. Shared under CC BY-SA 3.0.

After CTEC

Back in 1985, Ballantyne and Leonard started a second company, American Building Supply, Incorporated (ABS). Mark Ballantyne left Garaventa CTEC to focus on the ABS business in 1999. In 2003, ABS created the ABS Foundation, a charitable organization which operates in the states which ABS has locations. They are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Oregon, and Texas. Ballantyne is president of ABS as of 2016.

ABS Foundation logo
ABS Foundation logo.

Jan Leonard remained with CTEC through the Garaventa and Doppelmayr years as president of the company. Leonard left Doppelmayr CTEC in 2007, to become an independent consultant. In 2010, he joined several others in forming a new company – SkyTrac Lifts of Salt Lake City. Leonard served as director of sales and mentor for the company. SkyTrac is focused on ropeway engineering projects and ski lifts.

Leonard unexpectedly passed away on August 26, 2015, at the age of 69.


To learn more about other amusement ride manufacturers, click here

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Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks. Right now I am focused on Hersheypark.

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