Menu Close

Ron Manners AO

Picture of Andrew Pickford

Andrew Pickford

Former Executive Director of Mannkal.

It is fitting that Mannkal’s Chairman, Ron Manners, was included on the Queen’s Birthday list (2020) and made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

The citation for his award is for “distinguished service to the minerals and mining sectors, and to youth through philanthropic support for educational initiatives”.

This only scratches the surface.

Ron has had many “adventures” and a diverse career. Throughout his lifetime, he has demonstrated an infectious enthusiasm and optimism which wears down those a quarter of his age.

It was Kalgoorlie and the mining sector that both shaped Ron’s early life and imprinted on him a distinct understanding of the individual and their role within society.

This form of individualism is unique amongst Western nations and arguably even within Australia. Ron embodies this individualism, but it is not selfish. The valuable time and funds that he has invested in industry groups, memorial organisations and educational causes points to this commitment. There are many other people who are involved in good causes who do not put so much on the line.

Beyond business success, Ron has a passion for music, poetry and exploration in the broadest sense of the word.

Always looking for the novel, special and exceptional, he is more interested in sharing his discoveries with others, than merely reporting on them.

If you happen to be travelling, Ron will provide you with an extensive list of recommended and compulsory places to visit, experience and enjoy. You are also expected to share the same excitement and wonder that Ron did when he first discovered them.

This sense of looking forward and always thinking about next steps has propelled Ron on to successive adventures.

After a successful career in mining and mining services, he could have easily enjoyed the fruits of his hard work and focused on golf, cruises and other leisurely pursuits.

Instead, he established the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. During this time, he showed no interest in having buildings named after him, plaques erected in his honour or even being mentioned at events. His focus has always been on students and on sharing with them a lifetime of lessons, ups and downs and general business experience.

Ron talks to everyone about developing their own personal philosophy. He rejoices in the insights of classical liberals, Austrian economists, American libertarians, and local contrarians who have shaped his outlook and informed his success in business. When it comes to students, he is more interested in what they see as important and how they see the future. This sometimes causes problems at official functions when he is placed on the table with dignitaries but always finds a way to sit on the student table where “things are more interesting”.

In establishing Mannkal, Ron made a bet on the future. The students that pass through its doors, and complete the Leadership Development Program, will not all be immediately changed. Some will find their way into the halls of power and reflect on something that Ron said or wrote. Others will enjoy professional and corporate achievements. A select few will be successful on the world stage. One or two may start their own foundations and organisations which could, in time, outperform Mannkal.

I am sure that this would please Ron – the unfolding of a new generation of adventures and enterprises he would be proud to have influenced.

Read More