Mining for Gold...

Celebrating 50 Years!

As we embark on our 50th Anniversary year, we have a new project to add to the nearly 100,000 we’ve completed since 1971.


No engineering prowess needed.


This project will focus on YOU -- our employees. You are the most important piece of CTL | Thompson’s success, and that has been true since my father, Bob, founded the company. Your predecessors and current co-workers have and continue to trailblaze our path to success.


In a monthly series, we will highlight stories from CTL’s rich past, along with commentary and predictions for our present day and future success. We’re calling the series “Mining for Gold,” because we have so many precious and rich stories that highlight our industry-leading expertise and entrepreneurial culture and reiterate how we live out our values of thoughtful, time-tested and thorough engineering.

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Edition #1: Let's Begin at the Beginning

Edition #2: Answering the Call: A Short History of CTL's Testing Lineage

Edition #3: CTL|Thompson’s Colorado Springs Office Transforms the Local Landscape

Edition #4: Mold, Bunnies and Genghis Khan: the History of Our Environmental Services Department

Edition #5: CTL Fort Collins: Small Town Engineers with a Big UTM

Edition #6: Glenwood Springs Office Moves Mountains

Edition #7: More Is More With CTL Structural Engineering

Edition #8: Reaching the Summit

CTL I Thompson has a long history in Summit County — Bob Thompson led groundwork for the first lift towers at Keystone Resort and Copper Mountain, thanks to his part-time gig as a ski instructor.


But we didn’t formally open in office until 2014, with the help of current Summit County Branch Manager George Benecke. George continues to lead the team of 11 people, so we “Zoomed” with him recently to learn more about the solutions the team has brought to its clients over the years.


“Soaring growth” was a term that came to mind as George described CTL’s influence in the region. Over the past year, our Summit County office has posted an impressive 12-15% increase in revenue, primarily due to the relationships that George and his team have fostered over the years with the region’s cities, counties, top developers and builders.     


George has lived in Summit County for 20 years and is no stranger to the particular challenges that come with high-altitude development. Before joining CTL, he ran his own consulting company, which focused on residential and municipal geotechnical work with an emphasis on foundation and pavement studies, retaining walls, slope stability, septic design and subsurface drainage. 


The office’s early projects were primarily geotechnical services for residential, commercial and municipal projects, including septic and pavement design. As client opportunities spiked, the agile team expanded to follow suit. After working with the Fort Collins branch on structural design projects, Summit County hired a dedicated structural engineer, Jake Brown. This year, they further expanded their capabilities by adding environmental specialist Laura Moody.


The team is always up for a challenge, thankfully, because the region has no shortage of puzzles to solve. While every project is at high elevation in Summit County, George is particularly proud of a few that sit “way above the clouds,” including a current project: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Steilhang Hut. A warming hut complete with restrooms near the 13,050-foot summit on the Lewanee Face, Steilhang means “steep slope” in German. Along with soils work, foundation observation and geotechnical testing, the Summit team designed the septic system, which is among the highest in the country, using an infiltrator system with a sand filter and composting toilets. They’ll all celebrate their accomplishments in March 2022 with a ski day for the team and our partners.


Another recent success is Vail Health’s Dillon Health Center. The 85,000-square-foot medical center is set to open before the end of the year. When it does, it will be the largest building in Summit County and will include an ambulatory surgery center, breast center, oncology unit, urgent care and more. It brings valuable services to Summit County residents, including knee surgeries by world-renowned doctors. CTL contributed geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, and groundwater and water quality testing. They also overcame many obstacles. The site was previously wetlands with a 30-foot fill slope that needed excavation. They helped develop two drain systems to manage groundwater — a temporary system for use during construction and a permanent design. Other challenges included helping the contractor navigate excavation around footings to make repairs to precast panels.


The team’s significant infrastructure work also includes Copper Mountain Ski Resort’s “A-Lift Neighborhood,” featuring a hotel, conference center, condos, townhomes and residences. In addition to solving for high altitude at the 10,000-foot base, CTL Summit County overcame challenging soils, water seepage and — to come full circle to CTL’s early years — buried “junk” from Copper Mountain’s early ski lifts.   


As CTL Summit County hustles to a strong 2021 finish, George is already looking forward to adding team members in 2022 to support new growth and the current backlog of projects. We’re confident they will continue soaring and can’t wait to hear more stories from their adventures at the top.