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Theodore "Ted" S. Zajac, BSEE '52, teamed with his brother, Julius, also an engineer, soon after graduating from Ohio University for a career in the metal machining industry. They agreed for Julius to handle administration, and Ted to handle engineering. Over the years, they would start three companies and save a 400-employee company from liquidation.
The Zajac brothers, with other family members, began their career by establishing the Zalo Manufacturing Company in Cleveland in 1952. In 1958, they started the Manatrol Corporation, also in Cleveland. Zajac was vice president and chief engineer. In 1963, they merged Manatrol into the Perry Fay Company of Elyria, Ohio, and Zajac became senior vice president. He then became director of engineering for two divisions of Parker Hannifin Corporation in 1970, when the company bought Perry Fay.
New products were the foundation of Zajac team’s successes. Ted designed hydraulic valves; hydraulic, high torque motors; pumps; robotic grippers; and often the tooling to produce the products. Awarded many patents in the U.S. and abroad, he credits Ohio University’s engineering courses with enabling him to design the products.
One product the brothers designed and patented was a flow control valve, the Colorflow Valve. Used for controlling the speed of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders and motors, the valve is today considered the premier product of its kind in the world. Millions have been sold by Parker Hannifin, which acquired the product line from Manatrol.
Upon retiring from Parker Hannifin in 1981, Zajac and his brother founded a new company, Zaytran Corporation, a leading manufacturer of high-performance automation products, grippers, welding locators and hydraulic valves. Zajac’s current position is chairman of the board.