Jan Leonard

Induction Year: 
Ski Sport Innovator

Jan Leonard (1946 - 2015)

In the unheralded industry of chairlift design and construction, Jan Leonard was a superstar revered by his peers.

A graduate of Penn State University in 1968, Jan’s first visit to a ski area in 1970 inspired the newly-minted civil engineer and budding bridge-builder from Maryland to redirect his career to designing and manufacturing chairlifts and gondolas. With a legacy of more than 800 lifts throughout the United States, Canada, Argentina and China bearing his imprint, skiers and snowboarders the world over are indebted to Jan’s efforts.

After working at the Hall Ski Lift Co. and Thiokol, Jan and Mark Ballantyne cofounded CTEC (Cable Transportation Engineering Corporation) in 1976. Jan’s expertise and leadership enabled CTEC to grow into the leading lift manufacturer in North America. Jan’s talents allowed him to skillfully navigate industry mergers in the 1990s and in 2002 Jan became the president of Doppelmayr CTEC.

In 2008 Jan became a founding member and principal at Skytrac, offering lift engineering, modifications and construction services, and in 2010, creating a new American-manufactured lift. Jan’s passion and dedication to the industry and the sport of skiing went well beyond the drawing table, cables, chairs and gondola cabins.

For more than 45 years he willingly gave of his time and expertise to numerous industry committees and organizations, including the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), ANSI, and the Intermountain Ski Areas Association – all in the name of making ski lifts safer and more efficient. Jan Leonard – a lift engineer without equal.